From digest.v7.n34 Fri Aug 1 15:14:27 1997
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 12:46:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: <E36 M3> Winter Driving
I own both a 96 M3 with traction control, and a 92 325i. These cars have
always been driven in winter here in snowy NE Indiana, and I take them up to
northern Michigan to go skiing. So I have a fair amount of experience with
winter driving in the E36.
The original Michelin MXV2 tires (not all-season) on the 325i make it a
deathtrap on snow. There's so little traction that even slight inclines
become impassable, and forget about braking. And this even though my 325i has
a limited slip diff. However the addition of snow tires all round
(Haakepelitta's - zero chance I spelled that right) transformed the car. Now
it's a go anywhere proposition. Any decent make of snow tire should do the
job, Blizzaks, Pirellis, etc.
I've never tried the M3's Michelin MXX3 tires in any kind of serious snow,
I'd expect it to be like having greased teflon at all four corners. However
like my older car, a set of snow tires makes the M3 perfectly usable in
winter. I have Pirelli P210's on 16 inch rims, size 225/50HR16. They're quiet,
comfortable, and have great snow and wet grip, and adequate dry handling.
Plus they're speed rated, which ruled out the Blizzaks. Note that not all 16
inch rims will clear the front calipers to fit the M3, consult your supplier.
There's no doubt too that the traction control also helps to tame any
excesses of power the M3 driver might apply in slippery conditions; it's
One last and oft neglected point: keep your gas tank near full in winter. It
holds 17+ gallons, which weigh well over 130 lbs, and the tank is close to
the rear axle line. Much easier than using sandbags - which I never do - to
get weight over the driven wheels.
And for those that like me take their BMW skiing: I bought this interesting
ski rack that attaches to the car roof with big rubberized magnets (like
flexible refrigerator magnets). There's about a square foot of total magnet
area, and this thing really sticks, no way it's going to budge. No clamps, no
scratches, this is really a good design. Came from the Brookstone catalog,
made in Italy, and tested to 200 km/h with a pair of skis by an Italian car
magazine, according to the blurb on the box. Personally tested by me to a
more modest 90 mph or so.
Geez, and now back to our regularly scheduled summer...
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