By powering all four wheels, BMW is dedicated to making driving safer and more engaging over a larger variety of surfaces and in more difficult weather conditions. Called xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel-drive technology offers a new dimension in driving enjoyment, and provides a safer and more capable driving experience in adverse weather conditions. By adjusting the power sent to the front and rear wheels depending on their grip, slippery roads become less treacherous and power can be transmitted to the road more effectively.
BMW has been utilising this kind of technology for longer than you might think. In fact, four-wheel drive was first seen on a production series BMW in 1985, with the BMW 325i Allrad. Throughout the 1990s, BMW refined the technology, gradually making it react faster, more intelligently and with greater precision, and the result is one of the most sophisticated and intelligent all-wheel-drive systems around today.
xDrive sends power to the wheels in a 40:60 split between the front and rear axle, but this varies depending on the amount of power each axle can transmit to the road. If a wheel is detected as slipping, an electronically controlled gearbox and multi-plate clutch system will vary the amount of power between the front and back axles by as much as 100%, until the ideal balance is achieved, reacting in as little as a tenth of a second to redistribute power to the axle with the most grip.
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) detects when an individual wheel has lost grip and applies the car's brakes to limit the spinning or slipping. It may do this if it detects understeer or oversteer (if the car is not steering enough or is steering too much into a corner), allowing the driver to regain control, often without even realising the system has kicked in. DSC doesn't improve traction or grip levels, but rather attempts to regain grip and control when it feels either has been lost.
Some BMW xDrive models are also fitted with Dynamic Performance Control. This works in combination with DSC, using a series of electronically controlled clutch plates to speed up a slower moving wheel. Known as torque vectoring, it sends power to wheels individually, to adjust the attitude of the car and improve its cornering performance.
BMW iPerformance models feature TwinPower Turbo engines that drive the front wheels and electric motors that drive the rear wheels. For short distance city driving, electric drive alone is utilised, on longer journeys or at speeds above 78mph, the petrol engine is used, and at lower speeds where a strong burst of acceleration is required, both the electric motor and petrol engine work in unison.
BMW xDrive is available across almost the entire range of BMW cars, meaning there’s an xDrive BMW of every size and style, to suit every type of driving and every driving requirement. From 2 Series Active Tourer, to 4 Series Convertible, to 7 Series Limousine, you’ll be able to appreciate the greater safety and peace of mind, and the all-weather dynamic improvements that xDrive brings.
BMW xDrive: the ultimate, no matter what the conditions
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