325i vs 325xi

So I live in New england. Winter is just around the bend and I'm thinking about buying my first BMW. For years, I've had front-wheel drive cars and 4-wheel drive pickups/SUV's. I just love the new
3-series cars and MUST have one.
I've tested both the 325i and the 325xi... the all-wheel drive model is noticably less responsive than the 325i. I guess all the extra mechanics are just power robbing and that takes some of the fun out of it.
Here's my question on all you die-hards: Will the rear-drive 325i hold its own in the winter or would I end up with a $40K mistake on my hands?
Thanks in advance.
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SLD1969 wrote:

If you buy 4 good snows (like Blizzaks), you'll be fine. I live in MA, so I have some experience.
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So what setup will work better in the snow:
1. 330i with good snow tires (like Blizzaks) on all four wheels or
2. 330xi with good all-season tires (like the Kumhos Ecsta Asx) on all four wheels?
Opinions?
Thanks,
Rick
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IMO, the 330i will be better. It will stop better. It will corner better. It won't accelerate as well, but should still get up almost anything you would likely encounter. The 3/4" lower ground clearance will make little noticeable difference.
FloydR 330xi, about 1 month from putting on my Pilot Alpines.
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When did you drive the xi, if it was an '05 or older, it is not the same AWD setup as the new '06 or the same engine.
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I tested the 2006's last weekend.
330xi wrote:

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You always have to compromise something for performance, that's just the way it is. Your going to be the only one that can make this choice. You most certainly will not get the traction in the winter from the rear wheel drive that your going to get from all wheel, and just the opposite in the summer. How many months of snow you have? Front wheel and all wheel always perform better in the snow, but no reason the three wouldn't perform as well as any other rear wheel drive. BTW, you do realize there are different tires? On the forums I've seen people get the rear wheel drive auto's, but use different rims and tires in the winter.
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TRACTION

Traction is the name of the game. All cars wearing similar tires have essentially the same traction. The big difference is on low-friction surfaces, where slight weight differences highlight the difference between different cars (and their tires).
By far the biggest factors to driving on snow/ice are: 1) tires, and 2) the driver. And the order might be driver 1st in most cases. Training can make a poor or average driver better on snow. But the easiest (and cheapest) course is to put real snow tires on your car. A RWD car with snow tires will run circles around a FWD car with all-seasons. And note the "circles": snow tires enhance braking and cornering on snow/ice, in addition to acceleration, so you're much safer than on all-seasons (or summer/performance tires.)
FloydR (330xi that runs Michelin Pilot Alpines during winter.)
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Agreed. In 3~6 inches of snow, my winter tire equipped E46 first "plows" a path up the driveway. so my wife's all-season shod Saab can then pull out.
Tom
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front wheel drive is never better in the snow, it's never better period.
you're living under an old delusion brought on by huge american made crap with huge cast iron heaps stuck on the front end, too much horse power and no weight on the back end.
snipped-for-privacy@canada.com

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Heh heh, I'd have to agree with all except the too much HP bit. Too many cc's for the amount of HP delivered would be more accurate. As Jeremy Clarkson says, German engineers can get as much HP from a toaster as American engineers can get from a 7 litre v8! ;-)
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It certainly is compared to RWD in traction terms. Pretty well all FWD cars have a front weight bias.
--
*Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave, you are usually so on with your input and you're correct about traction from a standing start but the comment was better handling and that's never correct with front wheel drive. Understeer on slippery roads is even worse then in normal driving conditions, and once those front wheels loose traction, nothing works. I'll take rear wheel drive to control both ends any day.
you done get much snow or minus 25 celcius day in London, eh Dave.
London SW

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That might be so if you're driving fast in snow and get a great deal. In which case an AWD would be better.

I learned to drive in the NE of Scotland where snow and ice were common. Of course it is fairly hilly there, so traction from rest is the important thing.
--
*Never test the depth of the water with both feet.*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I live in Minnesota and have had a 330 or 323i since 1999. I currently have the the new E90 and of course winter is not here yet but I am not worrying. I have used the standard tires each year and have had no real problems. The traction control system really works. Of course if there were 6 or more inches of snow, I probably woundn't venture out unless I had to. FWIW. ron
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