Automotive

Published on January 14th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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BMW celebrates 30 years of all-wheel drive

Around one in three BMW cars sold around the world is now equipped with the intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system. BMW’s success in this segment has been driven not only by the ever-popular BMW X models but also by all-wheel-drive models based on the other model series, from the BMW 1 Series to the BMW 7 Series. Across these model series, a large choice of AWD models is offered in a wide range of engine versions.

BMW Art Basel 2015 i8 Art Car (3)

At the same time, BMW continues to refine this technology and take it in new directions. By offering BMW xDrive in combination with a hybrid drive and with a front-wheel-drive platform, the company has repeatedly demonstrated its proficiency in the all-wheel-drive field, proficiency that will secure BMW’s position at the forefront of this sector well into the future. Today, BMW offers more than 110 models – of either transmission type – with BMW xDrive in 12 different model series, as well as the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports car and the compact BMW 225xe with electrified all-wheel drive.

BMW AllRad E30 XDrive (2)
BMW’s first foray into the all-wheel-drive market came with the unveiling of the BMW 325i “Allrad” at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 1985. From the outside, the newcomer didn’t immediately reveal its inner qualities, so its performance when the journalists took it out on the test track was even more of an eye-opener. This very first BMW all-wheel-drive system not only improved traction away from surfaced roads and in adverse weather conditions, but also made for more dynamic handling through corners.

BMW AllRad E30 XDrive (1)

Today, the intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system takes typical BMW driving dynamics to new levels. The current generation of this system is controlled by the Integrated Chassis Management (ICM) system, which ensures that xDrive always responds appropriately at the earliest possible moment, based on reliable sensing and monitoring of the current driving situation. The interventions may be performed either entirely by BMW xDrive, or by xDrive in combination with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) or Dynamic Performance Control (DPC). The resulting fast and precise control of drive power distribution ensures typical BMW handling characteristics even under extremely dynamic cornering.

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The all-wheel-drive system is biased towards the typical BMW rear-wheel-drive characteristics. That is to say, on the all-wheel-drive models a greater share of the drive power is sent to the rear wheels, even under normal driving conditions. This maintains the typical BMW precise steering response, with virtually no torque steer. For crisp turn-in and high tracking stability, the latest-generation BMW xDrive system starts increasing the amount of power sent to the rear wheels as soon as the vehicle enters a corner, further enhancing the driving pleasure for which BMW is a byword.

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