M-Series (M1, M3, M5, M6)General M-Series Discussion - If it does not fit into a more specific M Category above, please place it in here. In addition, previously archived M-Series discussion is located in this section.
Hey, I am on the fence re buying a 2004 M3, which I like best, versus a 2004 Audi S4, which I know to be great in the snow (which is critical since I live in the foothills in Colorado). The BMW dealer assures me that the M3 is great in the snow but I know that runs contrary to the well-known fact that rear-wheel drive Bimmers are notoriously terrible in the snow. I would greatly appreciate informed feedback that will get me off the fence. Thanks much!
Can answer on the 2004 M3, but I have driven both my 98 M3 and my wife's 99 M-roadster through 2 Boston winters (including several 20 in days). They had 225/45 17in wheels with H rated snow tires at all corners and they were amazingly competent. The key is the snow tires. I would probably get a second set of wheels with snows on them and put them on between November and May. My M3 with snows drove better then the newer 325ix with all-seasons. This is for city driving where there is good street clearance. For country driving, get a car with more ground clearance. Here is my algorithim from best to worse:
4 wheel drive with snows > 4 wheel drive w/o snows = RWD with snows > RWD w/o snows
Agree with MemphisM3
I just took delivery of my '04 but had the fortune of test-driving a used '02 M3 with snows all around in February in Toronto just after a snowstorm. Now, granted, I was being pretty ginger with the test drive, but the car handled very very well. DSC went on more than a few times, but I never felt out-of-control of the car.
Now, I have to agree that the roads where you live should be pretty well groomed, otherwise you'll kill the front air dam. Personally, I won't be driving my '04 in the winter here in Toronto because of the heavily salted roads. I'll just get a short term leased 4x4. A lot of my friends who are in the same situation have been leasing A4's for the winter and are pretty happy with their performance. We'll see when Jan / Feb '05 rolls around.
Also, another thing with the tires. If you live in a city where it gets cold for a few months before snow actually starts to fall (i.e. like here in Toronto), then I'm told the stock tires will handle pretty poorly. My '04 came with Michelin Pilot Sports, I'm not sure how other tires will fare, but the stealer told me that the tire compound is very slippery when it gets cold out, so, for all intents and purposes, you need another set of tires, or need to drive very carefully until you change to snows when it falls on your second set of rims.
Just back in town and reconnected, really great to have informed input waiting for me (I love dis internet ting), muchos gracias. Don't laugh at me (at least not to my face), but I didn't even think about the front air dam which could make the decision since I live at the end of a long (3/4 mile) dirt driveway at about a 10% grade.
How much (or should I say "little") clearance do I have up front? Will, say, six inches of snow shut me down, or, even worse, cause damage?
Thanks for idea of renting 4/4 for 3-4 months, I didn't even think of that option.
I kept forgetting to measure until tonight, but the front air dam clearance is a little over 6 inches. That's it, so if you're looking for more clearance then that's it. Now, granted, I'm running 18" rims, and I'm not sure if the clearance could be another 1/2" with 19s or the profile/sidewall is the same as with 18s.
My answer? Leave the M3 in the garage and drive my Honda Pilot 4 X 4, lol. Those are the 2 days a year it may actually snow here. But then, I don't drive my M in the rain either, unless I get caught while out. I hope my M to last a very long time, by making a pleasure car out of it. Costly now, beneficial later.
oh, the 330ci below was before I traded, got to change that...
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.