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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum Question about winter driving in a 2011 535i
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      08-14-2010, 10:33 AM   #1
SilentNight
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Question about winter driving in a 2011 535i

hi all,

I currently have a 2006 Z4 M Roadster as well as an 07 X3. My lease on my Acura TSX is coming due soon and I am giving serious thought to leasing a new 2011 BMW 535i.

My question is this, I ONLY want one that has a manual gearbox and not an automatic. I hear that the x-drive coming out in a few months will not be offered with a manual gearbox so I am left with either an all wheel drive automatic or a rear wheel drive manual.

I live in a small rural town in the middle of Ohio where the winters get really, really bad. If I do get the 535i with manual transmission will I still be able to get around OK? I consider myself a fairly good driver and I would probably throw some sand bags in the trunk to help matters.

I have read almost every review there is on the new 535i but nowhere does it make any mention of how this vehicle does in snowy weather. Anyone have any advice or can comment on how this car drives in lousy weather?
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      08-14-2010, 10:49 AM   #2
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People that are concerned about winter performance generally get the xi version. They work well on snowy hills. I live in Chicago with moderate winters and flat topography. I get along fine with Michelin Winter Sport Tires in the winter on my rear wheel drive 5ers.
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      08-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentNight View Post
I live in a small rural town in the middle of Ohio where the winters get really, really bad. If I do get the 535i with manual transmission will I still be able to get around OK? I consider myself a fairly good driver and I would probably throw some sand bags in the trunk to help matters.
You're below the lake effect region, so really really bad is a stretch.

RWD is fine, but if you go that route expect to buy a second set of wheels/tires (read snow tires, not all season) that you will want to swap out in the winter. It's not as expensive as you think, only depends on winter wheels and what 'look' you want to have (read that as less vanity/ego then less price).

I'm in Ashland, have done this before so no worries.

Last edited by tadtaggert; 08-14-2010 at 11:05 AM. Reason: spelling
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      08-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #4
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Why Electronic Drivers Aids and AWD/4WD Systems Aren't Enough (Winter)

Get a set of winter tires and the i. 4WD offers minimal advantages unless the vehicle has a high ground clearance.

Quote:
Four-wheel drive only allows you to get stuck in more remote places.
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      08-14-2010, 11:10 AM   #5
SilentNight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadtaggert View Post
You're below the lake effect region, so really really bad is a stretch.

RWD is fine, but if you go that route expect to buy a second set of wheels/tires (read snow tires, not all season) that you will want to swap out in the winter. It's not as expensive as you think, only depends on winter wheels and what 'look' you want to have (read that as less vanity/ego then less price).

I'm in Ashland, have done this before so no worries.
would I really need another set up rims or just some good winter tires to put on the BMW rims? I think the reason I feel that it gets so bad around my area of Ohio is that I live in the country and back roads don't get plowed nearly as much as a main road. My entire drive to work is on hilly back roads. Even to go out to eat takes a while as I'm so far from anything. Some day I plan on moving closer to a city but until then I have to live with this.
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      08-14-2010, 11:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentNight View Post
would I really need another set up rims or just some good winter tires to put on the BMW rims? I think the reason I feel that it gets so bad around my area of Ohio is that I live in the country and back roads don't get plowed nearly as much as a main road. My entire drive to work is on hilly back roads. Even to go out to eat takes a while as I'm so far from anything. Some day I plan on moving closer to a city but until then I have to live with this.
Really depends on what size wheels you have on your car, and the availability and cost of the snow tires. You can swap them out, but do you want to subject nice wheels to the winter? If you have larger wheels do you want to pay more for the tires (sometimes excessively).

Roads around here really aren't kept up that well in the winter so I know what you mean, but you'd be very surprised the difference snow tires makes. My wife drives an AWD R series, without snow tires it's no better than my various RWD cars w/ snow tires.
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      08-14-2010, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObD View Post
Why Electronic Drivers Aids and AWD/4WD Systems Aren't Enough (Winter)

Get a set of winter tires and the i. 4WD offers minimal advantages unless the vehicle has a high ground clearance.
I agree with that. I drove a Evo IX with snows for four years, it accelerated very well in a straight line in slippery conditions with AWD and snow tires but even compared to the Jetta GLI with ESP and also with snow tires the EVO (no traction control) was not as easy to drive despite AWD. I learned its all about the tires and a decent traction system! Ive got the 550i now and plan to get some 18's and snows soon and will have no worries about this car in a Chicago winter. I seen tons of M5's, M3's and rear drive high power BMW's managing just fine on the road every year snow tires.
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      08-14-2010, 12:15 PM   #8
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I live in Montreal (Canada) and we get to have pretty rough winters and I never had any xi, always had i, a manual transmission and good winter tires....never got stuck really bad, you just have to know how to drive and when there's a lot of snow you just have to throw some sand bags in the trunk and you're ready to go
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      08-14-2010, 02:43 PM   #9
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Oh wait this article is from the Tire Rack... who sells... tires...
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      08-14-2010, 03:07 PM   #10
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so the 535i without the sports package comes with 18" rims. Any recommendations on a good winter tire for that rim? Beings I will probably lease this vehicle, I would rather not get another set of rims just to use barely a full year the entire time I would have the car if I were to do a three year lease.
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      08-14-2010, 05:15 PM   #11
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Just make sure you get something that says "Studless Winter Tires"

Michelin Makes X Ice 2 in the size for 535. Will work great in the crappy stuff, not so good on dry roads, but how much is your life worth?
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      08-14-2010, 06:40 PM   #12
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Bridgestone Blizzak is my winter tire of choice.

I've had good experience with Pirelli (P210?) as well.
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      08-14-2010, 10:07 PM   #13
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[quote=SilentNight;
I have read almost every review there is on the new 535i but nowhere does it make any mention of how this vehicle does in snowy weather. Anyone have any advice or can comment on how this car drives in lousy weather?[/QUOTE]

Obvious, the no Northern Hemisphere experience in the snow with the new 535. You're best to heed the advice of past 5 series owners. I will say that I totally agree with everyone who espouses the virtues of snow/winter tires. They define your winter driving experience. I had an Audi A6 with all seasons and in the snow, it was horrible!! It's all about the tires!

Every other car I have owner have had snows and it makes all the difference.
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      08-14-2010, 10:51 PM   #14
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I have a RWD 328i with manual transmission. With regular all season tires it is virtually useless in snow - couldn't even make it up my driveway (I'm in MN). Equipped with Bridgestone Blizzaks it has absolutely no problems. It's amazing the difference it will make. That being said, I am planning on the 535 xdrive.
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      08-15-2010, 03:22 AM   #15
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I have had great success with Dunlop Winter Sport M3's.
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      08-15-2010, 08:11 AM   #16
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I have Bridgestone Blizzaks on my E92 335i RWD on 17" tire rack rims and they worked pretty well last winter on a 10k mile trip cross country with 2 weeks in Boulder. On the wife's previous car E39 528i 6-speed RWD 15", we had Hakkapeliitta studless tires which were fantastic on a cross country trip. On my previous E36 325i 6-speed RWD 15" we had studded Hakkapeliitta tires which were phenomenal on glare ice and snow.

Better winter performance is achieved with a higher aspect ratio. The E92 had 225x45x17 snow tires. The E39 had 55 series, the E36 had 60 series.

We will be picking up an F10 535i RWD with sport pack in September. This comes with 40 and 35 series 19" wheels; not good for snows. Standard wheel is 18" and possibly 17" which would be much better for snows. Check with Tire Rack in October for possible wheels and tires.

It might seem reasonable to change tires on the original rims each winter, but do the math. Around here (PA) it costs about $30 to have a tire mounted and balanced on a wheel. That's $240 for a season and there is the possibility that it may cost a lot more due to the run flat tires. Considering the cost of new wheels ($100 ea), sensors ($50 ea), and tires ($150 ea) (mounted free), and the option of selling the set at half off when you sell the car, it is probably more economical to buy the set.
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      08-15-2010, 11:10 AM   #17
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wow, there's a lot of really good advice here on tires! I am going to test drive a new 535i tomorrow and will probably take a 335 x-drive on a test spin as well. I know the guy I deal with at the local BMW dealership is going to push to get me into a 335 as he claims the lease option for that car is outstanding this month.

Regardless, I will do some more research on tires with whatever BMW I do end up getting. I cannot wait to take the 535i on a drive!
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