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-   -   SNOW! 330i w/ good snow tires vs xi??...Opinions and experience (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=975972)

michaelden 03-13-2013 10:51 AM

SNOW! 330i w/ good snow tires vs xi??...Opinions and experience
 
Ok so definitely looking to purchase a 330 in the near future.
I am wondering how much of a difference there will be from a 330i with some expensive snow tires vs having the xdrive when driving in snowy conditions? My wife will be using the car sometimes so she wants the xdrive model but it seems much easier to find what we want in terms of packages in a rwd model. Also no chance of getting a zhp if its going to be the xi.

Any experience with this would be appreciated. Live in the NE and get a few storms a year. Just looking for safe driving in light snow after plowing, not looking to be able to drive thru 5 inches of snow very often....

E46Moonlight 03-13-2013 10:53 AM

Rwd, good snow tires and a good driver. done deal

SeanC 03-13-2013 10:54 AM

Even in NW PA where I live, a 330i with some good snow tires is good enough. You will regret not getting a RWD 330 at least 9 out of 12 months of the year.

BrRich330 03-13-2013 11:00 AM

I currently live in the Northest corner of CT and i have a 03 330Ci 5sp manual and for the winter i run a set of bizzak snow with all 4 tires studded and i have had zero issues with getting around in deep or heavy snow. SeanC is right you will regret not having the RWD in the summer months. If you are a good winter time driver and with a set of studded snow tires you will be fine.

JimC-NH 03-13-2013 11:05 AM

330 convertible in New Hampshire
No problems with snow tires.
Go for it!

Jim

trj 03-13-2013 11:05 AM

I drive RWD coupe with continental conti pro SSR all seasons here in Colorado. Never been stuck because of the tires.
If the snow is above the side skirts, even the XIs wont get you out of the snow.

Its a preference. If I were to buy a 3 series for my fiancÚ, I'd look for an xi too(in fact I am still looking for one that is not abused).
Not that she is a bad driver, but its an envelope of security for me.

Tires with good tread and taking it slow in the corners with make RWD as good as AWDs. If one drives like a moron, even AWD will get stuck.

If you want a ZHP get one and buy a winter beater for those nasty more than 6" snow days.

Mouf 03-13-2013 11:21 AM

I had an 01 330xi with Conti snows and couldn't get the thing stuck. The 2 winters I had it though we never got a huge amount if snow though (never more then 6" at a time).

I now have a ZHP with brand new Blizzaks and other then snow deeper then 7" and coming from a complete stop or so I don't have an issue.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Bimmer App

GSherbs 03-13-2013 11:23 AM

xi driver here...

myself, I wouldn't drive anything other than 4-wheel drive where it snows. that goes triple if my wife is driving it.

Is RWD more fun? I suppose that depends on how often you are taking it to the limits of adhesion and what you are doing with it while there... I enjoy driving the xi every single day - no regrets here at all and I've tracked the car a few times.

Mouf 03-13-2013 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GSherbs (Post 15246031)
xi driver here...

myself, I wouldn't drive anything other than 4-wheel drive where it snows. that goes triple if my wife is driving it.

Is RWD more fun? I suppose that depends on how often you are taking it to the limits of adhesion and what you are doing with it while there... I enjoy driving the xi every single day - no regrets here at all and I've tracked the car a few times.


My only beef with the XI I had was it was pre facelift and you couldn't find parts as well as a facelift. OR a SSK or exhaust for the most part.

sgoetz628 03-13-2013 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrRich330 (Post 15245967)
I currently live in the Northest corner of CT and i have a 03 330Ci 5sp manual and for the winter i run a set of bizzak snow with all 4 tires studded and i have had zero issues with getting around in deep or heavy snow. SeanC is right you will regret not having the RWD in the summer months. If you are a good winter time driver and with a set of studded snow tires you will be fine.


I live at the other end of the state, so usually better conditions, but San Diego it ain't. Have pretty much what BrRich has, but no studs, as icy roads are usually not a problem.

Especially if you're only looking to go out after the plow, absolutely no need for awd, unless there are some very steep hills which you must navigate.

For my first six years I drove year-round with Blizzaks and never could not go.

Surrept 03-13-2013 12:25 PM

Doesn't hurt to throw a couple 60lb sand bags in the trunk over top each of the wheels. But yeah when I had blizzaks on my 330ci I was gettin in and out of 1foot+ snow without any trouble.

lcoleman 03-13-2013 12:35 PM

XIs suck. Just my $.02. A RWD model with snows will run circles around an XI with all-seasons in all but the absolute worst conditions.

Redryan98 03-13-2013 12:49 PM

You'll be just fine with RWD and a good set of snow tires. Mine's gotten me through the last three winters no problem. Your only real problem will be ground clearance.

Oh course, an Xi with snow tires will give you even more traction in the white stuff so if your top priority is snow traction an Xi + snows is your best bet. However, given the extra weight, reduced economy and more parts to service, I'd just stick with a RWD model. Minimal snow traction trade for the benefits of RWD.

GSherbs 03-13-2013 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lcoleman (Post 15246291)
XIs suck. Just my $.02. A RWD model with snows will run circles around an XI with all-seasons in all but the absolute worst conditions.


Similarly shoed and otherwise equipped, a 330i will outperform 330xi in dry conditions. But, the margin isn't what I'd call "running circles".

In poor conditions (i.e. just about anything wet), the xi will outperform the RWD. The margin being greater and greater as the conditions get worse and worse. Been there, seen it, done it.

I'm not entirely convinced that RWD with snows would outperform AWD with all-seasons in any case. I've never taken snows to the track but I'd imagine they'd perform pretty poorly.

lcoleman 03-13-2013 02:12 PM

...ok, I'm not sure we're on the same page. My meaning is that good tires are much more important than having AWD. An XI isn't exactly a Jeep, anyway.

congeewong 03-13-2013 02:19 PM

I own a 330xi in Toronto Canada. Other than a few big snow storms, RWD with some good snows will be more than enough. You won't get stuck in the snow with an xi but you pay the price during the other 3 seasons. Not worth the sacrifice IMO.

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fiveightandten 03-13-2013 02:57 PM

I had a WRX for my daily driver. I ran blizzaks on it. The car was a damned animal in the snow. It would claw through snow as deep as the height of the hood. But E46 X-drive, like many other AWD systems, sounds better than it is. I went through this...getting rid of a snow beast, I went to a 330ci. I get around just fine in the snow with snow tires on the car.

If it's for your wife, forget about RWD handling and focus on the fact that E46 X-drive cars chew axles up regularly, use more gas, and weigh more. Weigh those attributes against what you find desirable about the RWD car. X-drive will get the car going from a stop better than RWD. X-drive will get the car up hills easier and with less drama. X-drive doesn't require any real driving skill or any real thought going into what you're doing. You just put the gas pedal down and steer the car. The electronics sort everything out for you.

RWD may require that you disable part or all of the DSC system to get it through certain conditions. If you turn the traction off on an open diff RWD car, you have to know what you're doing to some degree. It's not rocket science, and i'm sure you can teach her. My girlfriend now drives an 04 WRX. No traction, no electronics. I took her out in a big open parking lot. Within an hour she was drifting circles around light poles. It's not hard to learn car control.

The E46 330i will do just fine in the snow. I wouldn't throw her out there in it with all seasons and let her sink or swim. But put some good snow tires on it and let her throw it around in controlled conditions for a few hours, and she'll be just fine. DSC works brilliantly. It really does. I'm no race car driver. But i've been to my fair share of driving events and I know how to control a car. I know how to drive, and I leave DSC on nearly all the time. It actually saved my ass just this morning when I hit a patch of black ice on the highway doing 75. The car stepped out and slide out of line. It was too early in the morning for me to have a good chance of saving it without a lot of drama. DSC stepped in and righted the car very quickly.

I drive in the snow with the traction part disabled and the braking intervention on. At low speeds (or when I want to have some fun), I leave it off all the way. The car is perfectly capable. But even if you leave the electronics on, you can get around most of the time, and truth be told, the electronics are impeccable at keeping the car in line. When you're driving on a crowned road and the back end starts to slide and follow the crown without DSC, you can keep it on and it will use the braking intervention along with the diff's response to keep the back end in check. Don't sell the RWD car short because it only has 2 drive wheels.

JJR4884 03-13-2013 03:28 PM

IBKubica :eeps:

Are you trying to compare RWD with snows to AWD with no snows?

If you want RWD, you will be fine if you get a good snow tire. I have Blizzacks, and I have made it up plenty of steep hills, I've made it down without locking up the brakes, and I have had a fair share of good "saves" with turns. With that being said, braking in the snow will be better with snow tires, and same with turning (until you start comparing the AWD advantage of being able to power out of a spin and straighten out better than a RWD car would if it started going sideways)

Bottom line, you should always be careful while driving in the snow. You will not get stuck in a parking spot, you will not get stranded on a hill, and you will be able to safely brake hard/swerve out of the way in case of an emergency, at least safer than if you were with all seasons.

jayb328i 03-13-2013 04:08 PM

You say your wife will be driving the car "sometimes". Take her out of the equation---do not allow her to drive that car in the snow. Now what do You want. I have snows on all tires and drive carefully, but I know how to drive in snow. My wife drives her 4 wheel Forester in snow.

Danoff 03-13-2013 05:24 PM

The main benefit that I can see with the xi is actually the ride height. With snow tires on the car, getting going shouldn't be much of a problem (sandbags in the back if it is). I drove around in some pretty serious snow and ice this last winter with my blizzaks and only had one problem with my non-Xi - ride height.

My car is just too low (stock) for some of the snow we got and I didn't want to risk plowing an iceball with my front lip. Concern for my front fender was my biggest limiting factor. That being said, my family has a second vehicle with AWD and snow tires, so I'm not as concerned about conditions that prevent me from using the E46.


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