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Rear Drive Luxury Cars In Bad Weather  
User currently offlineORBITJFK From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 150 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2462 times:

'Ello,

My dad is looking at a brand-new BMW 325i sedan. The car is rear wheel drive. He is also considering an Audi A4 1.8T Quattro, which is all wheel drive. One of the big deciding factors, living on Long Island, is the car's ability to handle the snow. Is the rear wheel drive 325i sedan terrible in the snow, just alright, or pretty good? I know the 3 comes in AWD, but the lease offer is ridiculous for the 325xi. Any comments about both cars are greatly appreciated. Thanks alot.

ORBITJFK

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2453 times:

I have the 330Ci Convertible. Rearwheel drive SUCKS in snow and ice. We had an ice storm here in OKC a few weeks ago and I couldn't even get out of my apartment's parking lot. My rear wheels just kept spinning to no avail. You can put it in Steptronic control, but that doesn't help much since the car basically still shifts for you if the RPM gets too high. Haven't driven an Audi though.

UAL


User currently offlineCanuckpaxguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2446 times:

Most Audi's nowadays are all-wheel drive, so the rear-drive isn't an issue on most models...and no offense UAL747, but I'm gonna take a wild guess and assume that you don't do a lot of snow and ice driving in Oklahoma. The trick to driving in the snow is to NOT rev the RPMs and spin the tires. It doesn't matter what kind of traction control you have, if you keep cranking the gas pedal, you ain't goin' nowhere.

I've driven an older 328Ci in snow and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although I'd prefer a front- or four-wheel drive car in the snow and ice any day. My Dad will tell you the exact opposite though. He's very loyal to RWD because that's what he's used to driving. He still swears that his old E-series Benz was "the best thing in the snow".

Sporty cars generally don't fare well in snow and ice. They're simply not built for it. And not for anything, but during our last significant snow fall here in Toronto, I noticed 3 Jaguar coupes having trouble on relatively level roads.

Orbit - If the choice were mine, I'd suggest going for the A4 Quattro with the 3.0 engine....or even the V6 Passat. The BMW 3-series offers a sweet convertible, but they're not the greatest sedans IMHO.

G


User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2433 times:

"and no offense UAL747, but I'm gonna take a wild guess and assume that you don't do a lot of snow and ice driving in Oklahoma."

LOL, yup, you're right. Which is why EVERYTHING shuts down here when there is just a trace of snow and ice.

UAL


User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7802 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

With a good set of winter tires any car should be able to get around very well in the snow and ice.

You might find that the Audi A4, especially if it comes with the sport package and summer only tires, will suck just as much in the snow and ice. It has less to do with which wheels drive your car than it does your tires.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 997 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2419 times:

LOL, yup, you're right. Which is why EVERYTHING shuts down here when there is just a trace of snow and ice.

Come furhter south... it only takes a rumor of ice to send everyone into panic  Big grin

The is also considering an Audi A4 1.8T Quattro, which is all wheel drive

I personally love the way the Quattro's drive. The power delivery is very smooth, great road grip, ect.

For my birthday a few years ago, I spent a day at Texas Motorspeedway driving a A4 3.0 around the track... most fun I have ever had in a car!!! You would drive down a straightaway with three lights at like 55-60 mph and when you were just seconds away, one light would turn on and you would have to snake into that lane quickly. There were some other fun things, but that one challenge really highlighted Quattro's amazing traction. I've never felt tire grip and change of direction that tight and controled. You literally feal glued to the pavement. I love it!! Me gusta Quattro!!


User currently offlineORBITJFK From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2400 times:

Do you think that the BMW 325i would be better in the snow in manual transmission, because thats what we'd get.

ORBITJFK


User currently offlineBruno From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 853 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2394 times:

I live in New York and I've only driven rear drive cars and trucks. My old Chevy Caprice Classic, I'd put sandbags or bricks in the truck to weigh down the back. My F350 pick up always has tools in the back so that's not a problem.


I support the women’s movement up and down!
User currently offlineSkysurfer From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 1136 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2387 times:

I live in Ontario Canada and we get quite a bit of snow and the dreaded ( to alot of ppl) freezing rain. I don't drive or haven't driven the 2 cars in the thread, but i much prefer front wheel drive vehicles when the weather gets bad. That's due to the weight of the engine being over the front tyres helping with traction. Traction control would be a great help too....if i had to choose between the beemer and the Audi i'd take the All wheel drive Audi anyday. I drive a RWD Chevvy Astrovan for work, and that thing has almost no control in ice or snow. The ABS invariably kicks in most of the time, the back tyres wheelspin like crazy and it taks some getting used to...oh, and i dont even drive fast or anything like that! Bear in mind i also have 400lbs of sand in the back of the van too, but with it being a cargovan its just light as hell!
Get the AUDI  Smile

Cheers



In the dark you can't see ugly, but you can feel fat
User currently offlineYhmfan From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 607 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2384 times:

I have a Jaguar S-Type. Its performance on snow covered roads can best be described as miserable! Which is most unfortunate since I live in canada and we get a little bit of snow now and again!  Wink/being sarcastic
Unless the roads are absolutely clear the Jaguar stays in the garage and I drive my Ford Taurus.



If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you
User currently offlineFlight152 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 3407 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2360 times:

The BMW 3-series offers a sweet convertible, but they're not the greatest sedans IMHO.

If it's the looks you don't like on the sedans fine, but the Convertible and Sedans offer nearly identical driving dynamics and nearly the exact same interior. I'm not sure why you rate the same car line so differently. I have a 328i sedan and I love it.


User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2358 times:

In snow rear drive is about the worst thing you can have all things being equal.

All wheel is probably the best, with front drive as a close second.

You can get by driving a rear wheel drive car in snow and ice, especially one with all the defensive systems that a BMW has. Just don't be stupid, don't spin your tires, and be gentle with the brakes ABS or not. Weight on the ass will help you too. In my caprice I would fill the tank with gas and that alone would change the handling in bad weather, adding bricks, sandbags, my girlfriend's mother anything heavy in the trunk and as far back from the CG as possible will improve your traction.

Don't let the snow charicteristics be the deciding factor. When I was in Ohio for the snowstorm of the century last month the only cars I saw buried in snow banks were 4wd SUVs, proving that 4wd is no substitute for brains.


User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 997 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2362 times:

Don't rule out the Acura TL-

http://www.acura.com/models/model_index.asp?module=tl&bhcp=1

It has very good front-wheel traction and virtually no torque steer that's common in FWD cars. It has excellent quality and reliability, a very powerful 270-HP engine, and no haggle pricing: the only option is a navagation system, everything else is standard equippment. Sticker price of $32,000... very tough for a simmilarly equipped 3-series or A4 to match...

It doesn't have the "feel" the A4 has, but in every day driving, TL owns both cars... especially with the six-speed close-ratio manual. Just go to an Acura dealership, they are damn proud of that car and will have you test-driving in seconds. Classic BMW looked at me like: what are you doing here, didn't go back!!


User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2351 times:

Not to wander off topic.. But why do you want a close ratio 6 speed? Do you enjoy shifting that much? Does your left leg need a workout? I guess you can skip a few gears, but say you never use third gear.. why pay the extra for a 6 speed if you only use 5? I may be missing something here.

The smarter thing would be to have the 6th gear be a really killer overdrive that you only use at say 65+mph to save fuel. When 6th is equal to 5th you are just taking more steps to get to the same thing, seems like a waste to me but then again as much as I like japanese cars, if i could get the Audi I probably would.

In dry weather handling nothing is going to go around a corner better than all wheel drive. It may be beneficial to find out the power split on the Audi. If the split favors the rear it will probably feel a little more sporty. If the split favors the front it is going to drive more like a Honda.. err Acura.

This also may be a matter of personal preference, but in shitty weather, I will take an automatic any day. I have a hard time getting off a sheet of ice without a lot of clutch slip in a manual.

But hey.. An Accord by any other name, is still a well made, well engineered car that drives nicely and will last longer than the payment book.

[Edited 2005-01-18 05:46:22]

User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40035 posts, RR: 74
Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 2348 times:

Captoveur:
When I was in Ohio for the snowstorm of the century last month the only cars I saw buried in snow banks were 4wd SUVs, proving that 4wd is no substitute for brains.

Same thing out here in the California Sierra Nevadas.
The only vehicle you see in the ditches upside down and on there sides are the brand new 4X4 SUVs by bmw, Lexus, Mercedes, Cadillac etc.
Too many people think that 4X4 means they can still drive like fast & aggressive fools as they would when it's dry.
It's a mess on I-80 between Auburn, Ca and Reno, Nv.

The full tank of gas does work as well as much weight as possible in the trunk. My Town Car also has the heavy duty towing hitch on the back which ads a few hundred extra pounds to the rear.
I learned my lesson once when my car decided to spin in circles on a night time trip up to Yosemite. Driving on black ice without any snow chains is no fun.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineIllini_152 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1000 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2334 times:

In my experience, front drive is about the worst thing in snow IF you know how to really drive. If you don't have any experience, it's great- just point the car where you want to go, and it goes. If anything does go wrong, it'll just understeer and you'll go wide.

The problem with front wheel drive in low traction conditions is it's very nature- your drive wheels also are your directional wheels. If you lose traction on them, you've lost most of your control.

RWD, on the other hand, gives the driver more control, though there are more things that can go wrong. When you lose traction on your drive wheels, you'll still have traction with the directional wheels, and vice versa. Example- if you're entering a corner in RWD, and the car starts to push, a quick shot of gas will usually break the rear end loose, and if you've got the skills to catch it after it starts to swing around, successfully make the corner. If you were in FWD, there's really nothing you can do but turn sharper and hope you get some traction.

RWD cars have better overall weight distribution as well; approaching 50/50 in some well designed sports cars; that makes for better OVERALL handling in all conditions (though, admittadly, very few drivers will have the need, or the skill to really exploit the edges of the performance envelope)

As others have said, ballast over the rear axle and proper snow tires will help imeasurably in low traction conditions as well. Remember too oversteer or "fishtailing" as it is often called, is not ALWAYS a bad thing; it's just differant; you're just not pointed in the direction your are going anymore. If you can control it, it's another tool. Understeer, on the other hand, is always a bad thing, though more predictable, and less unsettling for most people.



Happy contrails - I support B747Skipper and Jetguy
User currently offlineAerobalance From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 4683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2329 times:

Hi Orbitjfk,

I have a 2005 325i Steptronic, standard suspension. I've had it in the snow already and it does ok, had chains on though. Just keep the DSC and traction conrol on and your ok, be easy on the throttle and steering inputs and you're fine. No drama at all.



"Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy..."
User currently offlineFightingfalcon From Switzerland, joined Feb 2001, 787 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2302 times:

4wd is always better in the snow, although I've heard that the quattro can cause you lots of problems after using it for a while... But they're certainly great, I've driven a A3 which was alright but I've also driven a A6 2.7BiTurbo with a chiptuning done, had 280 hp, was great.
But in the snow it's always 4 wheel drive if you're going for secure. If you wanna have fun the rwd is also nice cause it makes sliding easier...
If you really want a car for snow driving, get a Subaru Impreza. I know it's not in the same calss as the ones you are considering but it's the real deal!  Smile
If you haven't guessed it by now I have one... We've had quite some snow recently and I had to really kick it to get it out of line.

Regards
Martin



Imprezas rule!!
User currently offlineFightingfalcon From Switzerland, joined Feb 2001, 787 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2301 times:

BTW, speaking about 4wd luxuries, how about a Lambo Murcielago or Bentley Conti GT?  Smile)


Imprezas rule!!
User currently offlineCptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2277 times:

Experience with your driveline is the key; I agree with Illini152's comments. After 4 decades in Detroit winters with all driveline types, I prefer RWD. One of my latest was a (comparitively) light weight S10 pickemup without traction control (hell, it didn't even have positraction) and was never stuck. One winter I even forgot to put the three 50-lb. bags of kiddie sand behind the rear axle.

We are now back up visiting Detroit for the auto show with the 300C and we are supposed to have maybe 4" snow tonite. It'll be an interesting comparison vs. the FWD Grand Prix we recently broomed. In any event, judicious throttle application and good tires are supplimentally important in snow, even with state-of-art traction control on the newer vehicles. Ice is another matter; studded tires (illegal in some states and manditory in other certain areas) will surely help, but I have no personal experience with their use. Regards...Jack



all best; jack
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7554 posts, RR: 23
Reply 20, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2275 times:

Having grown up in New England back in the '70s and '80s, I've seen my share of snowstorms (including the Blizzard of '78) in the area. There were a lot more RWD cars on the roadways back then, but guess what? People still drove and got to their destinations. Every November, most people went through the ritual of putting snow tires on their rear wheels. Some even put chains on their tires. A friend of my family had tire chains on their '71 Ford LTD one winter; and the car handled okay with it.

Sadly, two options that many '70s and '80s RWD cars offered (usually as part of a towing and/or handling packages) but not many people took avantage of were posi-traction and/or a limited-slip rear differential axle (remember the movie My Cousin Vinny?). These features allowed RWD vehicles to get through snow and mud just as good as many FWD counterparts. Again, since the emphasis at the time was on downsizing (for better fuel economy) with FWD; many auto manufacturers did not go out of their way to advertise these options. Presently, the wide-spread use of traction-control features offered any many models today is one reason why manufacturers (mainly Cadillac and Chrysler) are going back to RWD.

Captoveur & Superfly,

I too have seen many 4WD vehicles off to the sides of roadways and stuck. Many people who buy these vehicles (along with a few that buy FWDs) develop a false sense of security when they take these vehicles out in the snow and ice. All things being equal, while a 4WD and a FWD will get through snow better than an ordinary RWD vehicle with all-season tires; all bets are off when it comes to ice. Unless you have either studded tires and/or tire chains on your vehicle; you will encounter some slippage on ice regardless of what type of drivetrain you have. I've seen both 4WDs and FWDs slip on ice in addition to RWDs. The key to getting through ice is using common sense and utilizing your low gear settings. Every vehicle with an automatic transmission has at least one low gear setting (usually marked as '1').

Superfly,

FYI, the trailer tow package that came with your Lincoln includes a traction-lock rear axle. All the Class III tow packages Ford offered right through the mid '90s included the traction-lock axle.





"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2268 times:

I agree that if more people had a limited slip rear diff things might be different in snow and ice.

Personally, when I was driving my caprice in the snow, even with its standard differential I could still get around just fine. I also loved being able to find an empty parking lot that hadn't been plowed so I could do a few donuts. I never got totally stuck to the point I couldn't get it loose from inside the car but I did have a couple fun experiences with a car that big going sideways on ice. I think the experience certainly made me a better driver.

Having driven FWD in snow almost as extensively as RWD I would say that the FWD is probably easier for most of the population. The drive wheels are also your heaviest wheels in a FWD car, meaning they are less likely to break traction than the lighter rear wheels, for busting through snow drifts on unplowed roads I still think FWD is a more sure bet. I don't normally say good things about FWD but in deep snow is where it really shines, true you do lose some of your options for getting out of a bad situation, but FWD cars are less likely to get into those bad situations, at least in my opinion.

PHLBOS is exactly right about the "1" setting on an automatic transmission, not enough people know what this is for. These are also probably some of the people stuck in snow banks.

The false sense of security is certainly a problem with drivers in this country. It seems that the 4wd SUV crowd forgets that after they get upto 70mph on a sheet of ice they may have to stop at some point.. and they can't brake any better than anyone else. Also, when a huge SUV gets sideways, if it suddenly gets traction it stands a better chance of ending up on its side, especially when the moron driving it can't hang up their cell phone.


User currently offlineAmerican757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 475 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2233 times:

it will make a big difference if you put snow tires on your car. some of you might have low profile sport tires on. the guy with the 330Ci you probably did not have all seasons or winters on. It makes a big difference. If you really want the car make sure it has the right tire rating

User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 23, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2213 times:

I drive a 325Ci, but I can only comment on limited snow driving, as we don't get that much snow here anymore.

I think it does ok as long as you drive carefully (but you have to do that with every car in bad conditions, quattro can't beat physics). As long as you don't try to be a racing driver, you don't really get into any fishy situations.

I had M+S tyres fitted to the car btw in october.


User currently offlineRNOcommctr From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 830 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2203 times:

A few people have made comments on traction control. Who has actual experience with it? How much does it help a rear-wheel drive vehicle get traction on ice or snow from a standing start?


Active loading only, ma'am, keep it moving!
25 Ftrguy : I have a 2003 330i 6-speed. I drove 200 miles in about 6-7 inches of snow last year and it did great. As long as you are very smooth and don't do anyt
26 Captoveur : I have had some experience with traction control. On GM vehicles of the 1990s it was mostly just an anti-wheelspin system. It was moderately effective
27 MD11Engineer : Ok, I´m driving a beaten up 15 year old Suzuki LJ413 Samurai ( a small jeep), but I remember having received angry stares from BMW drivers, when I pu
28 Post contains images Aerobalance : Ok, I drive a two month old 2005 BMW 325i, and I get stares and glares from people in their 4 wheel drive 'can do everything' mobiles as I stay even w
29 LeanOfPeak : Rear drive in snow and ice is fine. You just need to know how to drive in snow and ice. Several things. 1) If you're spinning the tires, I guarantee y
30 L-188 : it only takes a rumor of ice to send everyone into panic Ain't that the truth. I was in the Army at AIT on Ft. Gordon when the base commander shut dow
31 VC10BOAC : I don't know of the 3-series beemers, but I own a 2004 525i (RWD) and I just drove it for the first time in a major snow storm here in NY. The problem
32 Post contains images Iakobos : My point, it's not what you got, it's how you use it. Aerobalance has it right. If you got an automatic, put chains and good luck across the brands. I
33 Post contains images JBLUA320 : I live in Morris County, NJ, which got plummeted. My neighbors have a 325 and a 525, and both handled miserably. When my parents were looking at a new
34 ScarletHarlot : Hey JBLU, I was in your neck of the woods last week - flew home to Seattle on Friday night, thank goodness! We had some snow and ice here a few weeks
35 Jetstar : The tires on most cars today are performance tires not all weather tires. This makes a huge difference in snow. I always had RWD cars up into the 90
36 Post contains images Damirc : Drove through 3 winters with my BMW 520i (RWD, no traction control) and never got stuck once with it. Good tires and a reasonabe driving style is all
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