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      12-17-2008, 11:43 AM   #1
epiphone3
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Anybody driving E90 M3 in winter with winter tires?

Hey everyone,

I have been considering updating to and E90 M3 for a bit but can only afford one car. Being able to drive on snow and ice is a big deal to me since I do live in Canada.

I currently drive an E90 323i with RWD and winter tires and does just fine in the winter. I am curious if anyone has any thoughts or expereince driving the E90 M3 in snow and ice (as is seen in Calgary these days, for example) with Winter tires?

How is it? Should I just be sticking with something more like what I have in the winter? My 323's major weakness is the lack of an LSD on these icy conditions. I know the DSC has the "Electronic differential lock" function but we all know that doesn't work that well on truly icy lauch situations.
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      12-17-2008, 12:12 PM   #2
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Well I have been plugging along in Calgary with my E90 over the last couple of weekends. Not optimal but you can get buy. I am using staggered Dunlop wintersports 255 rear and 245 frnt.



If you are used to driving a RWD BMW in winter it shouldn't be a problem. The LSD will put power to both tires but when they spin the rear will kick out sideways. Getting going at polished ice covered intersections is the biggist callange, especially going abit uphill. At one urban one I had to back up and take a run at it. Ground clearance hasn't been an issue yet but could be in deep snow.

Not nearly as capable as my old VW 4 motion, but it is what it is...

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      12-17-2008, 12:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epiphone3 View Post
I am curious if anyone has any thoughts or expereince driving the E90 M3 in snow and ice (as is seen in Calgary these days, for example) with Winter tires?
I have an E93 M3 and E90 335i with snow tires - hopefully that's close enough for my opinions to matter.

Quote:
How is it? Should I just be sticking with something more like what I have in the winter? My 323's major weakness is the lack of an LSD on these icy conditions. I know the DSC has the "Electronic differential lock" function but we all know that doesn't work that well on truly icy lauch situations.
Like you said, the addition of the LSD in the M3 is a big plus, but the 335i still does great too. Aside from that, there's really nothing else to surprise you vs. the 323i. As I've said in other threads, the additional power is not a big issue since it will only be available as RPM builds. Just use gentle throttle from a stop and you will not have any problem.
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      12-17-2008, 12:45 PM   #4
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I have a E90 M3 running Blizzak LM25, 235/40 on factory 18`s on all 4 corners.
We have had 2 stroms up to now this year in Montreal.
The first was of 12inch and the M3 ran great in the snow.
The car is well balance, and even in deep snow with the car behaving like a plow.
No traction problem.
Sure the DSC work hard, but no different them my 07 335i i just exchanged for the M3.

The only thing to keep in mind, is not to get bottomed out on a snow bank.
Since the car is low and the floor is very flat.
The key is to always have some momentum.

Even today we got 3 inch and I was driving on a small road with the DSC off to get more power to the wheels. And the car drove very well.

My trick if to keep the rpm low, and shitf up gears fast to not have too much wheel spin.
Driving a RWD car in the snow and ice, i like walking on ice.
If you takeoff to fast, you slip, but if you go smoth, them you can walk just fine.

If you like the 323i already in the winter.
Then the M3 will only be better.
It is for me compared to my old 335i.
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      12-17-2008, 01:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edman951 View Post
I have a E90 M3 running Blizzak LM25, 235/40 on factory 18`s on all 4 corners.
Wait, so you have a 235mm wide tire mounted on a 9.5" wide wheel? I mean sure the numbers work it, but don't you have a lot of stretch to the tire such that the wheel's rim is somewhat hanging out in the open and ripe for scratching? Also seems like it would look just a bit awkward since the front will not be stretched nearly as much as the back.
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      12-17-2008, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Wait, so you have a 235mm wide tire mounted on a 9.5" wide wheel? I mean sure the numbers work it, but don't you have a lot of stretch to the tire such that the wheel's rim is somewhat hanging out in the open and ripe for scratching? Also seems like it would look just a bit awkward since the front will not be stretched nearly as much as the back.
How can that be???....Stock rear 18's are 265, which is why I went 255 for winter. I Agree, it must look kinda funny and for sure the rims are gonna get banged up??!!
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      12-17-2008, 01:22 PM   #7
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I'm running 245/40-18 Michelin PA2s on four 18 x 8.5 et 28 stock wheels.
A better set-up would be 225/45-18s on the same wheels.

The DSC in the current M3 is a vast improvement over the last M3. It allows much more slip before intervening which makes winter driving much easier. You might find the M3 to be easier to drive in the winter than the 323.
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      12-17-2008, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiation Joe View Post
I'm running 245/40-18 Michelin PA2s on four 18 x 8.5 et 28 stock wheels.
A better set-up would be 225/45-18s on the same wheels.
Hey Joe, that's a nice setup - any pics of that? How do the fronts work out on the back as far as lacking the extra inch of width? Is there a lot of extra "tuck" to the rear wheel?

I've got the same front setup, but went with a stock sized 265/45 PA2 on a stock rear wheel in the rear. I know they say the skinnier the better for snows, but my experience has led to me to find that a wider tire works very well also, and plus offers a closer to stock experience when the roads are dry.
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      12-17-2008, 01:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replys guys!

Yeah... the battle in my mind has always been will the very effective LSD in the M3 be enough to outweigh the fact that it makes so much more power. Obviously, my 323i E90 has about 120 ft-lbs less torque, but the open diff is not so good.

You guys just made my life harder thinking about it! Ha!

What engine oil are you guys running in this extreme cold? I'd imagine a switch from the 10W60 to something lighter like 5W50 would make sense? I had to start my car after being parked for ten hours at about -30 the other day... it cranked slow but started. Luckily, she's kept in the garage at home so early morning starts are alright!
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      12-17-2008, 04:07 PM   #10
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Another alternative setup, I have Nokian Hakka R's in 245/40-18 on the OEM 18s. I bit stretched for the rears but looks drives great and am still within Nokian's specs. With this setup, the car is fantastic in the snow, enough so that I am confident enough to drive in the mountains in the snow.

Standard oil here, no other specified that I am aware of. Earlier this week it was -10F when I went to work and no issues other than a stiff gearbox for a few minutes (although wouldn't know if there was significant engine wear occurring...)





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      12-17-2008, 04:17 PM   #11
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I took my E46 M3 through snow all the time I used Continental Extreme Contacts a great high performance all season that really bites in snow. I drove my e46 in 6 inches of snow. No problems at all. Just another alternative for people who do not want to change tires from summer to winter. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....ExtremeContact If you need a true winter tire look up Blizzaks or Dunlop wintersports..
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      12-17-2008, 05:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signes View Post
Another alternative setup, I have Nokian Hakka R's in 245/40-18 on the OEM 18s. I bit stretched for the rears but looks drives great and am still within Nokian's specs. With this setup, the car is fantastic in the snow, enough so that I am confident enough to drive in the mountains in the snow.

Standard oil here, no other specified that I am aware of. Earlier this week it was -10F when I went to work and no issues other than a stiff gearbox for a few minutes (although wouldn't know if there was significant engine wear occurring...)






So your winter grip is quite good then... that's good.

When you started your car at -10F (-23.5 Celsius), had it been sitting outside for a while or...? I am just very nervous about the 10W60 being too heavy for periods where temperatures will be lower than -20C for long periods. I have to park outside during the day in the winter time, so I want my car to be able to start in these temps and to start without tearing it up.

you know?

AWESOME CAR by the way! I commend you for the use of it in the winter time!
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      12-17-2008, 05:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Wait, so you have a 235mm wide tire mounted on a 9.5" wide wheel? I mean sure the numbers work it, but don't you have a lot of stretch to the tire such that the wheel's rim is somewhat hanging out in the open and ripe for scratching? Also seems like it would look just a bit awkward since the front will not be stretched nearly as much as the back.
Actually it not bad.
See pictures.
Having the same tire front and rear is more stabble i beliveve in the winter.
Also in snow, narrow tires perform better than wider ones.
Plus the fact that I can rotate them all around is a big plus.
So I took the chance and the 235/40R18 all around works great.

For look's sure if you really look hard.
The fact that we M3 guys run these nice wheel in the winter versus black rims or or regular mags is a big plus on the look factor.
Having BBS wheels for the winter is cool.
So no biggie on the strech.
The car looks good no matter what wheel you have on it.
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      12-17-2008, 05:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
I have an E93 M3 and E90 335i with snow tires - hopefully that's close enough for my opinions to matter.



Like you said, the addition of the LSD in the M3 is a big plus, but the 335i still does great too. Aside from that, there's really nothing else to surprise you vs. the 323i. As I've said in other threads, the additional power is not a big issue since it will only be available as RPM builds. Just use gentle throttle from a stop and you will not have any problem.
+1

You can control power - just be gentle and smooth.
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      12-17-2008, 06:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiation Joe View Post
I'm running 245/40-18 Michelin PA2s on four 18 x 8.5 et 28 stock wheels.
A better set-up would be 225/45-18s on the same wheels.

The DSC in the current M3 is a vast improvement over the last M3. It allows much more slip before intervening which makes winter driving much easier. You might find the M3 to be easier to drive in the winter than the 323.
+10

In fact, I use MDM all the time. I found the DSC still too intrusive and it would sometimes intervene too much, making the car not as smooth to drive. And that's the ultimate key - smoothness. MDM + LSD + winter tires + smooth driving = success!
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      12-17-2008, 06:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Hey Joe, that's a nice setup - any pics of that? How do the fronts work out on the back as far as lacking the extra inch of width? Is there a lot of extra "tuck" to the rear wheel?

I've got the same front setup, but went with a stock sized 265/45 PA2 on a stock rear wheel in the rear. I know they say the skinnier the better for snows, but my experience has led to me to find that a wider tire works very well also, and plus offers a closer to stock experience when the roads are dry.
They're tucked in pretty far. 10mm or 15mm spacers would improve the look. These tires work ok. The staggered set-up that you have is probably just as good. The PA2s are a compromise winter tire that really excels in highway use.

The Nokians are real winter tires, but i believe are pretty loud down the highway, and I spend a lot of time on the highway. That's why I went with the PA2s.
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      12-17-2008, 06:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epiphone3 View Post
So your winter grip is quite good then... that's good.

When you started your car at -10F (-23.5 Celsius), had it been sitting outside for a while or...? I am just very nervous about the 10W60 being too heavy for periods where temperatures will be lower than -20C for long periods. I have to park outside during the day in the winter time, so I want my car to be able to start in these temps and to start without tearing it up.

you know?

AWESOME CAR by the way! I commend you for the use of it in the winter time!
Thanks! As for the cold, yes, unfortunately the car sits in an unheated garage at times so I did have to start it under those cold conditions. Once I had to crank it twice to start but it did start. I also tend to sit at idle for a few minutes to get some heat in then keep the revs really low until I see some engine temp on the gauge. Not ideal, but I trust BMW to have done a lot of cold weather testing with the car and oil and assume we are covered. They are probably more worried about somebody forgetting they have thin oil in the engine still in mid-August during a track day. Kaboom...
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      12-18-2008, 10:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signes View Post
Thanks! As for the cold, yes, unfortunately the car sits in an unheated garage at times so I did have to start it under those cold conditions. Once I had to crank it twice to start but it did start. I also tend to sit at idle for a few minutes to get some heat in then keep the revs really low until I see some engine temp on the gauge. Not ideal, but I trust BMW to have done a lot of cold weather testing with the car and oil and assume we are covered. They are probably more worried about somebody forgetting they have thin oil in the engine still in mid-August during a track day. Kaboom...
Yeah... the cold oil issue is the only real issue that I am still concerned with now that I have got you're guys' input about the grip level. Like I said, I get worried about parking at the train station when it is like -30C here and leaving the car there all day and praying it will start after 10 hours of that. My 323i now cranks super slow and sounds gross when I do the same and it runs the standard 5W30 Performance Synthetic. Even with 0W30 Castrol Syntec it still does that. Always starts with the first push of the button though...

Another question I had is relating to EDC... do you guys set the EDC to "comfort" mode in the snow or do you just leave it "Normal"? Do you find changing the damping improves your grip in snowy/icy weather? this is more just curiosity than anything.
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      12-18-2008, 11:26 AM   #19
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I drive the EDC in Etown set for comfort. Great ride and no problems. Superior to my 08 335xi by miles.

The EDC kicks *ss for driving in crappy Cdn roads

I have left my car for 5 hours in -25 no problems and fired up easy.

The M3 is awesome so far. The winter Blizzaks make the car easily driveable and the traction control is so much better than any other cars I've owned. Just subtle enought to keep you from going side ways.
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      12-18-2008, 11:32 AM   #20
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Excellent recommendation. Traction control is usually to intrusive to work well in snow because it works so hard to keep all wheel slip under control. We are supposed to have snow tomorrow so I'll get to try it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by urbo73 View Post
+10

In fact, I use MDM all the time. I found the DSC still too intrusive and it would sometimes intervene too much, making the car not as smooth to drive. And that's the ultimate key - smoothness. MDM + LSD + winter tires + smooth driving = success!
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      12-18-2008, 11:35 AM   #21
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Comfort

I leave my EDC on Comfort since the packed snow can get pretty bumpy.

I have found MDM the best for traction/controll.

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      12-18-2008, 11:44 AM   #22
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I'm running the 19" setup. Blizzack's LM-25.. 255/35 front, 265/35 rear. Also have been in the same -10 degrees farenheit weather sitting for 8+ hours and not had a startup problem. But the dealership fill of the windshield washer fluid turned to slush on the the windshield (so I drained and went to a pure mix instead of watered down).

The only issues with the wider 19" setup is a tendancy to understeer in slick conditions, so be carefull in turns. Launch isn't an issue, but the tail does a quick slip sideways a lot as the TCS tries to keep up with my heavy foot.

Here in Colorado though we haven't really had anything major yet.. just 3" inches or so, and because it's been so cold, it's mostly good hardpack with some minor ice spots. I'm still waiting to see how it does in the hills on hardpack/ice covered by loose powder; conditions I hate because it's so slick. I won't try deep snow.
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