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335i (or 335d) With Snow Tires or 335xi?

Discussion in 'E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006-2011)' started by ldamario, Sep 13, 2009.

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    ldamario

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    The lease on my 335i is up next March. I currently live in Southern California where snow is not an issue. My next BMW will start out in Southern California, but end up in New England (Rhode Island) due to an upcoming relocation. I am concerned about getting around in the snow. The question is what would work better in snow - a 335i (or 335d) with snow tires or a 335xi? Also, would a 335xi benefit significantly from snow tires? I am particularly interested in hearing from people with first-hand experience with these configurations. Thanks.
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    fshubert

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    Great question. Living here in NJ my last BMW (2007 328xi) was selected because I thought the AWD would be useful. But it was useful maybe twice during the time I had the car. And I didn't care if I went out in a snowstorm with the car. But during the "nice" weather from April to December (heck, it really don't snow here in the Northeast until January) the AWD was just a hinderance (I don't want to offend anyone). So the new car I just got 2 weeks ago is a 335i with the Sport, Premium and Cold Weather packages. It won't see a snow storm and I'll keep my hands warm with the heated steering wheel. :D In the mean time, the RWD is a blast. It should be fun in the light snow the car will definately see but in general for the Northeast, when it snows heavy, wait an hour and the roads are plowed, sanded and/or salted.
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    pseto

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    IMO the xi wont be necessary, just a really GOOD set of snow tires. 4 wheel drive alone wont get you out of snow or give you more traction on ice; its the tire that gives you traction and nothing else (and some give you more than others).

    i find it funny how this country is obsessed with four wheel drive. a RWD car with good snow tires will be a lot better solution than 4WD with all-season tires.
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    fshubert

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    Agree with you, Paul, 100%.
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    CRKrieger

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    OK, here's the dissenting vote. I spent 14 years in Audi Quattros and my wife currently has a 2002 Jaguar X-Type. AWD is unbeatable in snow and ice. A snow tire-shod RWD is almost the equal of an AWD with crappy summer tires, but why would you waste the capabilities of your car like that anyway? Any car driven in any appreciable amount of snow needs four snow tires, and an AWD is no exception. There is no question that four driving contact patches is better than two pushing two. This is not only in acceleration but in cornering as well. You are less likely to exceed the friction circle of the driven tires when there are more of them over which to spread the power.

    The question is whether it is reasonable to take this approach in Rhode Island. I find New England coastal weather to be milder than it is here because of the ocean, so the times you need snow capability are fewer. However, I also find southern New England drivers to be among the worst in the nation. Connecticut and Massachusetts drivers are generally inconsiderate, hostile, and reckless and they point to Rhode Island drivers as being worse. :eek: The sad truth is, they're right. During the short time I lived in Connecticut, the most outrageous transgressors against good driving wore RI plates. If you do not have experience driving in an environment like this, I would seek every advantage; and AWD is definitely an advantage.

    carolmmeils guest

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    The BMW AWD system is great. It uses a multi plate wet clutch to transfer power to any wheel that needs power. So if one wheel has traction it will get the car moving. The question you should ask yourself is "am I going to be living in an area that won't get plowed, or am I going to be doing all of my driving on paved streets that will be sanded and salted all the time." I've lived in NH WI and NY and AWD isn't necessary but it sure is great when you encounter a road that hasn't been taken care of yet. The the xi doesn't loose a lot in gas mileage due to the extra weight; and in day to day driving you wont ever notice it. But what ever your choice please put snow tires on your car, because while the AWD will help to get you going snow tires are a necessity if you plan on stopping or turning for that matter in snow and ice.
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    ldamario

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    I am not surprised to hear the dissenting opinions on AWD in snow. The one constant thing that everyone seems to agree on is to get good snow tires, whether one has AWD or not. I am sinclined to forgo the AWD and make sure I put on a good set of snow tires.

    Rhode island does get a considerable amount of snow - not nearly as much as the interior regions of New England, but still a lot. I have has first-hand experience with winter driving in Rhode island, upstate New York (Troy), and the Cambridge/Boston area, in all cases with a RWD only vehicle. When the roads were plowed and sanded or salted, it made sense to go out, and I could usually get where I wanted to go. The problem was with heavy unplowed snow or (worse) ice, in which case I generally didn't chance it, unless there was no choice.

    With regard the comment about Rhode Island drivers being the worst in New England, I would not disagree. I grew up in Rhode Island and visit there regularly because most of my extended family still lives there. I also lived in Cambridge, MA for 9 years. It's a toss-up whether Boston/Cambridge drivers or Rhode Island drivers are the worst. When I first moved to California, I noticed that the driving skills of the average person in California greatly surpassed those of people in the Northeast. Sadly, California drivers have regressed, although they are still not as bad as drivers in the Northeast.

    Lou
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    Mzeed

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    You need to test drive the xi!!! To me, the 335 xi coupe is not as sporty or fun as my 335 coupe with sport package as I discovered on a test drive. the xi did feel more tank like with 17 inch tires and I did not like the non sport seats. If I was above 60 years old I might like it more, but it's not for the young. For serious snow you need a suv or 4wd truck anyway.
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    az3579

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    That, sir, is a fallacy.
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    Mzeed

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    That comment is made with last winters memory of a house guest with his Audi A4 and snows at my ski house who could not get out of my 1000 foot sloping dirt driveway after a fresh 10" snow storm. We had to snow blow and sand to get him freed up on the slope. On pavement though, or if any kind of plowing is done I would then agree. I have studded snows for this reason only and the fact that dirt roads get a coating of ice under the snow!
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    CRKrieger

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    If you clear a 3'-4' path in the middle so the chassis doesn't get high centered, it works nearly as well as clearing a track-wide path. While we're throwing anecdotes around, I have high-centered my Grand Cherokee before ... :eek:
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    Mzeed

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    I agree with you, but with a 2wd BMW (non M) you need to keep the snow away or flat at the front wheels or the friction will stop you. An M car will make it out with snows where my wife's old 330CI with snow tires would NOT!
    Alot of times we get significant snow in the mountains over night even when there is no prediction of it.
    I now have a SUV I dedicate to VT. (with Air Suspension and lockable center and rear differentials along with studded Hak Snow tires to pull my snowmobile trailer as I usually have to park in unplowed lots and on 1 or 2 occassions I still had to unload the snow mobiles prematurely to get going.
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    mattm

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    We'vve been putting snows on our AWD vehicles for 20 years starting with Celica All-Tracs, an A4 or two, and then to a '03 325xi and now a '06 325xi. Having the snow tires AND AWD will prevent the call from the wife saying she is stuck. Cost of not having to get her out: Priceless.

    To the original poster, I would opt for the xi and buy snows (Tirerack.com !). The AWD has better resale in New England whereas noted in another thread the 335d has had limited demand.

    In the disclaimer department, I have my winter beater, the '96 318i with snows on it (plus it has provenance of being SCCA's Solo H Stock Champion in 2002, and Pro Solo H Stock Champ in 2007, and finishing seventh at this year's Solo Nationals), and the dry weather daily driver a '05 330i w/ZHP (too cheap to buy snows).
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    SpeedOften

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    ldamario

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    I just returned from a 10-day trip to New England - specifically, to Rhode Island, where I intend to move in a year or two. I paid close attention to the BMWs I saw on the road as to whether they were just "i" models or "xi" models. There were lots of 4WD BMWs on the road. I would say the percentage was something like 40%. That's high as compared to what I see at home in Southern California (Pasadena), where one seldom sees a 4WD BMW. This tells me two things: (1) many people in Rhode Island (and probably elsewhere in New England) who buy BMWs are opting for 4WD (and it's not because they drive off road), and (2) there must be a benefit to having 4WD (with or without snow tires) in New England winters.
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    fshubert

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    When I got my last car (328xi) the dealer said that here in the Northeast the AWD's are favored due to the snow. If you have to drive in it, then it's handy. My personal situation with work allows me to just sit and wait for the plow. So when I got my new car (current one) I opted for no x-drive and the sport package. Love those staggered 18" wheels......
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    az3579

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    You must not have paid nearly enough attention.
    I can safely say that over 80% of BMW 3-series' here in CT are AWD. The 40% figure sounds more like the 5-series models here.


    Actually, I think my 80% estimation of 325/328/330/335xi's is low. More like 90%.
    I'm actually sick of seeing them because "everyone has one".

    Michgndr89 guest

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    My Alaska license plates and I would have to respectfully disagree with you.

    In heavy snow areas (I'm not talking about paltry 2" snowfalls), AWD/4WD is a definite advantage. The right tires help too, but 2 wheels are inferior to 4 wheels in the hands of a vast majority of drivers.

    Of course, BMW drivers are the best anyway...
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    az3579

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    Ah, you see, technically, you don't need AWD. It's an advantage.
    If you needed AWD then you wouldn't be able to go anywhere without it. I'm sure there are people who get by without it. :p


    Just being technical... :)
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    mattwolff

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    I live in Cambridge and drive a 335i RWD. In the winter I use 4 Blizzak run flats and in the summer I use high performance non run flats each mounted on their own set of wheels. This has worked well for me. I like the feel of RWD ever since my 2002 ( which was unbelievably bad in the snow) . I had no problems last winter which was relatively snowy. My dealer told me that they sell 90% AWD. I don't think it is necessary. The roads are reasonably well plowed. I used to have a 4 wheel drive truck and I can count on one hand the number of times I really needed it in urban/suburban driving.

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