While their slogan is “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” many people wonder if BMWs can handle snow. Even with the best engineering and tuning, it’s fair to worry if that performance holds up in snowy circumstances.
Are BMWs good in the snow?
All BMWs can operate admirably in the snow with the correct winter tires. In a range of wintry circumstances, cars equipped with the xDrive all-wheel-drive technology will perform even better.
While a solid set of winter tires can help a BMW manage better in the snow, they aren’t the only reason for BMWs’ ability to do so. Let’s take a look at some more aspects that can affect a BMW’s snow-driving ability.
Factors Influencing a BMW’s Snow Performance
As we’ve already mentioned, one of the most critical things that determine a BMW’s snow handling is its tires. Let’s look at why this is the case and the other factors to consider when driving in the snow.
Having decent tires on your BMW is critical for winter driving. While summer tires are fun on dry tarmac, they will struggle to maintain traction in snowy and icy conditions. Winter tires are convenient in this situation.
Winter tires are composed of unique rubber compounds that perform best in cold weather. Unlike other varieties of rubber that will stiffen when exposed to cold, these remain soft and malleable. This permits the tire to keep its traction and grip on the ground. To improve traction, winter tires also have features like deeper treads and zig-zag grooves.
You might be wondering if winter tires and snow tires are one and the same thing. While these two are comparable, they aren’t the same. Snow tires are older than winter tires. They feature a more aggressive tread pattern. However, they aren’t as well adapted to ice performance which is also more common with snow. They also lack the latest material advancements that allow the rubber to perform well in cold temperatures. Currently, almost all businesses are producing winter tires rather than snow tires. So, while these terms may be used interchangeably, you’ll now be able to tell the difference.
Last but not least, the justification for all-weather tires is also worth mentioning. They, like winter tires, benefit from advances in material science that enable them to operate effectively in both cold and hot temperatures. These unique rubber formulations keep the tire from becoming overly hard in the winter and overly soft in the summer. When it comes to tire performance, think of them as a “jack of all crafts.”
While all-season tires can perform well in a variety of conditions, they aren’t the ideal choice in extreme cold and snow. When the temperatures start to drop, it’s a good idea to switch to winter tires if your region requires it.
While many people may not like to hear it, a driver’s skills and experience are some of the most critical aspects to consider when driving in the snow. This is significant because the great majority of drivers already exaggerate their driving abilities. When you combine this overconfidence with unfamiliar snowy or icy driving conditions, you’ve got a good recipe for catastrophe.
In the snow, a skilled and experienced driver can flourish with substandard vehicles. Why, you might wonder? Because they’ve had just enough time and practice to know how to compensate for these flaws in a way that a rookie driver can’t.
Driving is a skill, just like anything else. A driver’s ability to handle snow and ice requires time, practice, and exposure to various situations.
While BMW is gradually introducing front-wheel-drive variants, the majority of its vehicles are still rear-wheel-drive. Due to the additional weight from the engine on the tires receiving power, many front-wheel-drive vehicles operate well in the snow. When it comes to climbing hills, this is especially useful.
There are methods to work around this before you become irritated and decide to sell your warm-weather performance car. In addition to a solid set of winter tires, you can add traction to rear-wheel-drive automobiles by simply loading your trunk with sandbags or some other type of weight. Without getting too far into the details, each of these two-wheel-drive models is more than capable in the snow when fitted with the right winter tires.
If your BMW has the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, it will provide you a significant edge. If you’re unfamiliar with all-wheel drive, or AWD for short, it distributes power to all four wheels rather than simply the rear or front. When the ground is slippery, this keeps all four tires rotating to provide more traction.
BMW’s all-wheel-drive system, known as xDrive, was introduced in 2003 and is still used on their vehicles today. They did, however, have versions of AWD that dated back to the 1980s.
While suitable winter tires are still the most crucial component, a decent AWD system can assist your vehicle in maintaining traction and power while driving through the snow. When you combine the power of xDrive with the grip of winter tires, you’ve got an excellent winter driving machine.
Last but not least, once the snow accumulation begins to develop, vehicle clearance will become a factor. While sleek, low-to-the-ground BMWs are a blast to drive on dry roads, they can become a stumbling block in the snow. It will be far more difficult to drive over a pile of snow in a car with 4 inches of ground clearance than in one with 8 inches.
Cars will, on average, have the least ground clearance, followed by crossovers, while SUVs will have the most. It is always essential to understand the degree of restriction you may face, depending on the BMW you’ll be driving. To put it simply, if you expect to encounter much snow, SUVs are a better choice. As a general rule, the greater the clearance, the better.
With the proper winter tires, all BMWs can perform well in the snow. However, having a decent set of winter tires isn’t the only thing that makes your BMW operate smoothly in the snow; your driving skills, drive system, and ground clearance all play a part.