Typically, rear-wheel-drive vehicles have a smaller portion of the car’s weight distributed on the driven wheels which makes the car less stable than an AWD, 4WD, or FWD car. This generally means that RWD BMWs find it hard to accelerate on icy roads or slippery surfaces.
On the other hand, BMW rear-wheel-drive cars can be fun to drive in the snow in safe conditions for drifting.
How to improve rear-wheel-drive BMWs in the snow
Typically, front-engined RWD BMWs apply all of their traction through their back wheels. The main issue during slippery and cold weather is the fact that the majority of the car’s weight is in the front due to the engine being there. This creates a large disproportion of weight asymmetry that causes the car to have less traction with the road, especially with slippery surfaces like snow, rain or ice.
This causes your back tires to spin and eventually might lead to you losing control of your rear-wheel-drive BMW. So, is there anything you can do to avoid this if you are driving a rear-wheel-drive vehicle in winter conditions?
Always drive with winter tires during winter
The first thing to do is to fit winter tires to all four of your vehicle’s wheels. Winter tires are stickier and provide much better traction, especially in colder temperatures and on slippery surfaces. This is thanks to a different composition of the rubber and a much more aggressive tire tread and depth. It’s also important to make sure they are properly inflated for better grip.
Consider tire chains for deep snow
Yes, putting chains on your tires is tiresome. Pun intended. But it can prove to be a great help, especially in deeper snow or ice. If you are going skiing or up in the mountains and for some reason you are driving an RWD BMW, make sure to consider equipping yourself with tire chains.
Be advised, though, to only use chains in very deep snow, as on the road they completely destroy the handling of your car, and can damage it if any of the chains break. You will also be legally required to remove the chains in towns where there is no snow, since they greatly damage the pavement of the road.
People used to put sandbags in the trunks of their cars
People who drove rear-wheel-drive cars in the past often put sandbags in the trunks of their cars to redistribute the weight of the car more towards the back, where the powered wheels were. This is both a good idea and a dangerous one.
If you are going to drive slowly, redistributing the weight is a good thing, since it enhances the traction of your rear wheels. If you drive faster, on the other hand, this allows the car’s end to swing out farther and to curve into oversteering sometimes.
Not all RWD BMWs are the same in the snow
Each car is different, depending on how the weight is distributed. This means not all read-wheel-drive cars are super bad at driving in the snow. More powerful cars are harder to drive in the snow because of the torque hitting higher levels. The spinning in the snow is a function of both weight distribution and power.
More powerful BMWs require the driver to gently press the accelerator pedal since the high amounts of torque cause the rear wheels to overspin and to lose traction with the surface due to the lightweight at the back of the vehicle.
How to drive RWD BMWs in the snow more safely
Start in second gear
If you are driving a more powerful car, and it is equipped with a manual gearbox, you can start on higher gears and lower revs since that will allow you to avoid wheel spin. From a dead stop, you might need to skip directly to the 2nd gear instead of starting with the first, which will greatly reduce the wheels spinning.
Don’t panic or overuse the breaks
Make sure you do not “death grip” the wheel and do not panic if the car’s end slips.
Have a good sense of how well planted your car is on the road, if the tail feels like slipping away, release your foot from the gas pedal and counter-steer gently. Don’t overuse the breaks and use gears to slow down. Be gentle with all your input. Avoid braking and cornering and try to use brakes only on straight lines.
Drive slowly and cautiously
Distance yourself from other vehicles and keep it slow and always make sure to have the car’s lights turned on, even during daytime when no fog is present. Do not accelerate too quickly as you might lose control of the vehicle. Also, make sure to never accelerate on turns.
Practice, practice, practice
If you are a new driver or you are driving your RWD BMW in the snow for the first time, make sure to find an empty parking lot and practice braking, accelerating, and turning so you can get a good feel of your car’s capabilities, as well as your own.
Why drive a RWD BMW?
What are the benefits of driving an RWD car?
Rear-wheel-drive cars, including BMWs, provide more power and control in good climate conditions. They accelerate much faster in the early revs and allow you to take fast corners without losing traction. They are weakest in poor weather conditions like snow and rain since they are prone to losing control.
Are RWD BMWs more fun than xDrive or front-wheel drive BMWs?
Rear-wheel-drive BMWs are known to bring driving pleasure as few other vehicles can. They definitely feel more satisfying and fun to drive since catching and correcting the right oversteer moment during a rear-wheel slide will make you feel like a professional driver.
Are rear-wheel-drive BMW cars bad in the rain?
Regardless of whether you are driving your RWD BMW in the snow or in the rain, it is bad since the traction of the tires are not as good as you would want them to be. Make sure to avoid braking in turns and to keep your distance from other vehicles and follow the speed limit.