Originally Posted by The X Men
Well, 90% of owners here in the northeast disagree with you. For every 10 BMW here, 9 are X-drives. The convenience of all season out weights the performance disadvantage for most BMW owners, unless you track your car. The cost of the rims, snow tires and the cost of mounting 2 times a years is a big turn off for most people. In a 4 year period, we are talking about $2000 or so. That happens to be about the cost of the AWD and you get half of that $2000 back when you trade in your X-drive after 4 years.
AWD is not only for snow, its handle rain stroms and puddles better than RWD as well. AWD also provide more traction off the line and thru high speed turns.
I have owned AWD with all season and RWD cars with snow, they both have their advantage and disadvantages. RWD with snow will stop better in the snow, but AWD with all season climb hills better in the snow and accelarate better. With a RWD, if one gets the two rear wheel stuck, you are out of luck, with AWD, you still have the front wheels to pull get you out of trouble. AWD with snow would be ideal.
In citys with mild winters, somedays it snows and the next it can be up to 50 degrees F. If you are caught with snow tires in warm weather or summer tires in cold weather, it is worst than driving with all seasons.
Not sure where your statistics come from, but certainly many dealers here stock 535s with X-drive because the price point sells well and many people equate AWD with adverse weather. Having grown up in Maine, I have familiarity with NE driving - ugh. I have also driven both AWD drive and RWD sedans in adverse weather, and prefer the RWD driving experience over all. But you are absolutely right I think about the advantages of AWD in snow - an icy parking garage ramp is no fun with RWD. I simply disagree that AWD delivers any advantage in warm/wet weather - sounds like Quattro marketing.
But I confess, we don't get much rain in the west compared to Vacationland.
I don't think snows are much different in feel from many all seasons, and summer tires are vastly superior here for 7-8 months of the year. As to cost, $20 to switch them out typically (unless you go to the dealer). To me, the cost of switching to the best tool is insignificant. I tend to buy cars and keep them quite a while (I drove a RWD E39 540 for 9 years). The extra set of wheels is appealing on resale (or so the guy who bought my car advised).
Anyway, no right answer I guess, only opinions. I love the feel of the summer tires and the security of stopping and control with winter tires. The OP certainly has some reasonable information to consider.