BMWs are one of the most fun cars to drive in my opinion. The rear-wheel-drive, the engines, and the speed easily make BMWs one of the best brands for people who like speed, power, and performance.
All-wheel drive is becoming increasingly popular in the luxury car segment and it shouldn’t be surprising. All-wheel drive is no longer the exclusive domain of off-roaders, SUVs, and trucks.
With AWD systems getting lighter, more compact, and more sophisticated, they’re finding their way into performance cars and sedans where weight was once a major concern. In this article, we are going to look at the pros and cons BMW all-wheel-drive system also known as Xdrive.
What is BMW xDrive?
BMW xDrive is the branding for BMW’s all-wheel-drive system. It was initially developed for the BMW X3 and X5 facelift in 2003 and has been included in many models since then.
xDrive can be found in different models, including 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X1, X3, X5, and X6. Most BMWs are rear-wheel drive; however, there are several that come standard with all-wheel drive, alternatively, you have the ability to choose xDrive package for your BMW as an added option.
The system was designed to enhance traction and handling in wet, snowy, or otherwise unfavorable conditions. In addition, the xDrive system has various driving modes that allow drivers to tailor their rides to fit the terrain they are driving on.
BMW xDrive Pros and Cons
1. Great handling in snow and wet conditions.
This is the primary purpose of an AWD vehicle, after all. And BMW’s AWD system does this very well. The car has a tendency to oversteer, but if you put it into the 4WD mode, the rear wheels will be locked and you’ll get better traction.
2. Faster acceleration.
When you’re starting off from a stop, you’ll have more grip with both rear wheels powering you forward instead of just one. This is especially advantageous when you’re merging onto a busy highway or coming out of a turn on a winding road.
3. Better in Offroad Conditions
In this case, it doesn’t matter if the terrain is sandy or muddy because both rear wheels will be getting traction at all times. This also means that your tire wear will be balanced between the left and right sides of your vehicle, rather than having one side with more wear than the other (as can happen in 2WD vehicles).
4. Better Traction and Grip on Slippery Surfaces
The front-rear torque distribution of BMW xDrive is variable, depending on the road surface and driving situation. On dry roads, the majority of the engine’s power goes to the rear wheels for optimum driving dynamics. If traction diminishes (as it does on snow or ice), power is automatically transferred to the front axle.
1. Comes at an Extra Cost:
The BMW xDrive system does come at an extra cost. Most of the time you need to pay extra money for the xDrive option on top of the already expensive BMW. It also means that it will cost more to service, maintain, and repair when something goes wrong.
2. Added Weight:
The BMW xDrive system adds weight to the vehicle which is not only going to make it less fuel-efficient but also can hurt the performance of the car.
3. Less Fuel-Efficient:
The added weight of the BMW xDrive system can make it less fuel-efficient than a standard rear-wheel-drive model. If you are focusing on getting good gas mileage, then this is not a good option for you as most people will find that they get worse fuel economy with an xDrive model compared to a non-xDrive model.
4. Can’t Get Active Steering:
One downside of going with the BMW xDrive system is that you can’t get active steering at the same time which is a feature that many people enjoy having on their BMWs. Active Steering makes driving more engaging and fun, unfortunately, with xDrive, you can’t get one.
5. Sport Suspension is not available
One of the biggest disadvantages of the drive system is the fact that in most BMW models you can’t get the sport suspension. In order to keep the car level, BMW uses higher springs and stiffer shocks on cars with xDrive.
6. Less Fun
BMWs are generally fun cars, and pure enthusiasts like the fact that they are rear-wheel-drive cars that are a pleasure to drive especially when cornering, drifting, or doing donuts, however, when it comes to X drive most of the fun is compromised, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean xdrive BMWs are not fun, because they are, but when compared to RWD, nothing comes close to that.
When Should You Consider xDrive?
If you live in a climate where it snows frequently and/or the roads are routinely wet, then xDrive is a good choice However, if there isn’t much snow and/or you’re not really driving much in bad weather, xDrive may not be worth it for you.
Even though it’s very good at compensating for inclement weather, it does add some weight to the vehicle, which can negatively impact handling a bit. The added weight also means slightly less fuel efficiency, which could be an issue if you spend a lot of time on the highway or are concerned about maximizing your miles per gallon.