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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #21
wdeerfield
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^ I'd say the xdrive works great in the snow. I got a good chance to use it this past friday night with the snow storm the northeast had. i am currently using the all season runflats that came stock and only if i really really goosed the throttle would i find the slip angle. Under normal throttle and braking with no quick jerks to the wheel it wouldnt slide and i felt confident in the car. I think tires have more to do with how well the awd cars handle. I had snows on my e46xi and laterally that thing wouldnt budge. Im sure if i put snows on the e90xdrive itll be the same. So far i love it and you can definitely feel the power from the rear wheels on the highway in dry conditions as oppose to the sort of flat pull the e46xi has. Being just a 328, the 50hp bump is noticeable from my 325 and is sufficient for my daily commute.

I also run all seasons in the summer as i dont push the car hard enough to justify performance summer. I have a set of ContiProContacts in a non-runflat for the summer and they are quiet and have long tread life.
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Last edited by wdeerfield; 02-12-2013 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Auto-save 1360698119
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:33 PM   #22
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^I have four sets of tires: sticky summer, wet summer, friction winter, and studded winter. One of them is always better suited to the conditions than any all-season on the market, IMO.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:36 PM   #23
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^

At least you can take the hate like a champ. Welcome to E46F, you'll like it here...unlike some of the 16 year old punka-sses who think they own the place and know everything there is to know about cars.
agreed
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:40 AM   #24
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^I have four sets of tires: sticky summer, wet summer, friction winter, and studded winter. One of them is always better suited to the conditions than any all-season on the market, IMO.
While i do agree with you 100%, for a budget minded person, a decent all-season tire is enough.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:37 PM   #25
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As far as I know, there isn't a difference between the early and late Xi models. There was a PN change in the transfer case, but that did not affect anything in the overall drivetrain.

Technically X-Drive as it is known today didn't exist before the E90 platform for the 3 series and the E60 platform for the 5 series although the X3 and X5 both had it. The E46 platform had Xi and the E30 platform had the iX, both having very very different AWD systems.

Here's a basic rundown:
Xi (E46): Planetary geared transfer case, no limited slip diffs, no ability to actively transfer torque from side to side or front to back, uses the stability control to transfer power.
iX (E30): Viscous coupled transfer case engaged full 4WD as slippage increased, don't remember if it had LSD or not, had the ability to actively transfer torque to the front wheels, no stability control.
X-Drive (E90+): Clutch driven transfer case, no LSD, can actively transfer power front to back, stability control transfers power side to side.

So for your question of if there's an improvement...depends. The X-Drive system you can go buy right now is an improvement from a technology standpoint but not from a reliability standpoint. The clutch driven system wears out over time and is not as bulletproof as the transfer cases of old. It is however good at putting the power where it's needed (just like quattro, etc) but it is unpredictable in the how, when, and where that power goes. The planetary gear set is very strong and very reliable. It is also very predictable in it's operation and how, when, and where the power will go at any given time. It's truely a performance AWD system that's lacking in the thick stuff (compared to quattro, etc). The iX system is simply stunning and pairing it with the DSC in the E46+ models would have been unstoppable. It is unfortunately very expensive to get such a system these days and is why the E46 doesn't come with one. It's a shame, I would have tossed in another $1k for a viscous coupled transfer case.



I run Conti DWS tires in the summer and Michelin X-Ice2 snow tires in the winter. The car is an absolute beast in the snow with the proper tires and the DWS tires in the summer are great for normal street driving.

Before people jump on me about having all season tires in the summer, I did it on purpose. Here in the great state of MN with our wonderful weather, it can very possibly be 60-70 during the day and 40 at night. Not to mention in the spring and fall where it is 50ish in the day and 20 at night with a chance of snow. Dedicated summer tires would be horrible in these conditions and borderline unsafe, hence why I don't run them. Better safe than sorry and the DWS tires work great for my purposes. If I were to track my car, I'd have different wheels and tires anyway. If I lived in SoCal or Arizona or something, I'd get dedicated summers without a second thought.
Great write up..but i'm still a little confused about our car's system. Are all 4 wheels working at the same time? Why is it that it's easier to make the front wheels spin than the rear wheels? When is power transferred from wheel to wheel?
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:38 AM   #26
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Try reading the attached pdf. It's a good overview of how the system works.

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Attached Files
File Type: pdf 300-2_Electronic_Brake_and_Stability_Control_Systems.pdf (868.1 KB, 414 views)

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Old 03-08-2013, 07:41 AM   #27
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04 X-3's and on have X Drive. They were the first BMW's to get it.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:42 AM   #28
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Love so much my e46 330xi esprcial during winter time. This mean at least 5 months in year
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:02 PM   #29
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I was told subaru's where the best for awd bought one wasn't very good my old 1989 325ix awd BMW was better. Got rid of it for an xi and I don't think I could ever go to anything else.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:08 PM   #30
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I had a subaru before my XI, it was great in the snow. The problem with the subaru is that it wasn't as solid of a vehicle on the highway. Any speed above 70 mph, and the awd system in the subaru was a noticeable drag on performance.

Also, why did you have bring up the 325 iX? Makes me drool even more over this little gem.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Beaut...item4ac235fe07
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #31
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Ha cause I loved that car so much
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:01 PM   #32
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My 325i without tractor all wheel drive would have handled that snow just as well as your xi.

RWD > AWD
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:06 PM   #33
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Come to MN after a snow storm and prove it. Not saying you will get stuck but I'll get to where I'm going faster and with less poop in my pants.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:07 PM   #34
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Great write up..but i'm still a little confused about our car's system. Are all 4 wheels working at the same time? Why is it that it's easier to make the front wheels spin than the rear wheels? When is power transferred from wheel to wheel?
All four wheels are driven all the time. Your rear wheels should be far easier to spin than the fronts. Power is transferred from wheel to wheel when slippage is detected using the brake system.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:57 PM   #35
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My 325i without tractor all wheel drive would have handled that snow just as well as your xi.

RWD > AWD
Really? I'm in wi and we get pounded with snow my friends 330i can't get anywhere with his snow tires I have all seasons an push the snow over the hood. Had to take him to work a couple times since they don't close anything around here.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:01 PM   #36
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My 325i without tractor all wheel drive would have handled that snow just as well as your xi.

RWD > AWD
Really? RWD > AWD in the snow?
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:12 PM   #37
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Really? RWD > AWD in the snow?
Same question not understanding the logic
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:33 PM   #38
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We don't have much snow down in Jersey, so I am almost disappointed that I didn't go with RWD. That being said the few times we do get snow the car is very planted and I only run all seasons. When you want to have fun, the Xi is almost too safe though. But I do benefit from weight distribution. A RWD E46 usually has the 50/50 weight balance everyone craves, but Xi's do add about 200 lbs to the front I believe. Luckily, having a wagon adds about 200 to the rear, so it basically evens out.

The photos also explain why we like BMW's better than Audi's. (Well some of the reasons, anyway.)
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #39
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Fascinating description of the differences in the systems.

One of my local dealers had a special event for the new X3 a couple years ago. They had a high end Lexus SUV, a Cadillac, and something else (Audi? Infiniti?). They put each of the cars up on rollers, with a single contact point for the right front tire. You could see the automated systems spin and roll and shake while they tried to figure out how to get traction and move the vehicle. The X3 with the state of the art X Drive was off with a minimum of delay and fuss. It did a great job. The other top of the line luxury SUVs struggled and rocked and eventually got off in several seconds.

I asked them if I could drive my '04 330xi onto the rollers, and they happily obliged because they were curious to see BMW's progress. I must admit, it was not as elegant as the new X3 - it struggled for a little while. However, compared to the other modern luxury SUVs, it was perfectly on par. It was a simple test, but it was gratifying to know my heavy little 3 Series had an AWD system that can go toe-to-toe with the current models from Lexus and GM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:10 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by NCLee View Post
Fascinating description of the differences in the systems.

One of my local dealers had a special event for the new X3 a couple years ago. They had a high end Lexus SUV, a Cadillac, and something else (Audi? Infiniti?). They put each of the cars up on rollers, with a single contact point for the right front tire. You could see the automated systems spin and roll and shake while they tried to figure out how to get traction and move the vehicle. The X3 with the state of the art X Drive was off with a minimum of delay and fuss. It did a great job. The other top of the line luxury SUVs struggled and rocked and eventually got off in several seconds.

I asked them if I could drive my '04 330xi onto the rollers, and they happily obliged because they were curious to see BMW's progress. I must admit, it was not as elegant as the new X3 - it struggled for a little while. However, compared to the other modern luxury SUVs, it was perfectly on par. It was a simple test, but it was gratifying to know my heavy little 3 Series had an AWD system that can go toe-to-toe with the current models from Lexus and GM.
Great info.
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