Originally Posted by slicer
Two separate issues as far as I'm concerned. One is the functionality of an SUV vs. Wagon from a cargo perspective. A wagon can hold as much as an SUV (comparing apples to apples - 3-series to X3 and 5-series to X5) with the added benefit of the performance of a car. SUV's by default are a compromise in performance due to their weight and high center of gravity.
Now as far as handling snow.... That is a RWD vs. AWD discussion. A rear wheel drive car is certainly not going to handle the snow as well as any all wheel drive vehicle (assuming the tires are the same). The ground clearance an SUV provides is not at all necessary. An M3 wagon at stock ride-height with all-wheel drive would be fantastic in the snow. Even better than an SUV because it's lighter, stops quicker, and changes direction quicker. How do I know? I spent my entire life in MN and WI with tons of snow. I have had Audi sedans and wagons plus SUV's. I never once had an issue in snow with an all-wheel drive sedan or wagon. Albeit they were not slammed like my M3 (and yours). The SUV ground clearance is really only necessary off-road. Which is the biggest joke.... 99% of the SUV's on the road will NEVER go off-road during their entire existence. SUV's are far more of an illogical fad invented by Americans who think wagons aren't cool. As you know, wagons sell far better than SUV's in other parts of the world. My theory is that Americans love for SUV's started along with the bigger is better concept we see in houses, and food. We Americans like everything over sized... which has resulted in the huge weight problem we have here. I digress...
And this is assuming you even need AWD. I live in SC, where it snows maybe one day of the year. And if it does snow, everything stops, including work. So for the other 364 days, I got a car that is functional AND handles well (yes we all know the E70 is a great handling rig, but not compared to an E91 with M suspension).
You have no idea how bad I'd love to have this in my garage:
P.S. I have an SUV btw, so it's not like I have anything against it. But I got mine just because it's a cheap beater.