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BMWs are often known for their sleek appearance and luxurious feel on the road. However, they are often overlooked when discussing winter driving performance.

Driving in the snow requires a vehicle capable of handling difficult elements. BMW makes reliable SUVs that perform above average in these conditions. The best BMW options for snow driving include the BMW X3 xDrive30i and BMW X5 xDrive40i because of the xDrive all-wheel-drive system upgrade.

BMWs are one of the most versatile sets of vehicles, with plenty of luxury and performance to go around. The two SUVs included in this guide are the best options for the snow, but the BMW sedan models also handle exceptionally well for their class too. The new xDrive system has been installed on plenty of BMW models to make it possible.

Each of these vehicles has been thoroughly tested by a team of experts who understands what is most important for snow driving. The test track even includes an off-road test to see how they handle on rocky terrains too. Continue reading to learn more about the best BMW for snow.

Table of Contents

Best BMW For Snow

For the winter season, several factors make a car best suited for driving through snow. These include the vehicle’s steering system, traction control, and the tires equipped to the vehicle.

We rank the BMW X3 xDrive series as the best BMW for snow. The most recent release is the X3 xDrive30i that comes with a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine, xDrive technology, and an upgraded all-wheel-drive system.

However, the X5 xDrive series models are reliable winter and snow driving vehicles too. The key is the xDrive technology system developed by BMW that ensures you get better traction and more accurate off-road driving.

Both of these vehicles include heavy-duty anti-locking brake systems that integrate seamlessly with the xDrive system. This means when you start to brake, lose traction, and slide the systems will combine to target the area that lost grip and restore it quickly.

These vehicles are also both good sizes, with the X5 being even larger. They have enough clearance below to drive through heavier snowfall without concerns of getting stuck in a difficult situation.

1. BMW X3 xDrive30i

The entire BMW X3 series is well known as the best winter driving option among BMW vehicles because it provides the perfect balance between handling ability and size for difficult terrains. However, the release of the xDrive system only made the BMW X3 xDrive30i more desirable for driving in the snow.

Beyond just this upgraded system, there are plenty of other notable features that stand out. The X3 models come with an Active guard driving assistance system that provides extra guidance on the road along with increased collision protection technologies. Both of these features work well in difficult driving situations.

Other technologies included in the X3 model releases are ABS, Traction Control, and Stability Control. Each of these systems is highly intuitive with the ability to read a situation on the road with precision and accuracy for a more enjoyable winter riding experience.

One thing worth mentioning is the tires. If you choose your own tires, be sure to understand the importance of a tire and how the one you choose will work in the winter. For example, a summer tire will significantly impair your X3’s ability to drive well through the snow.

The anti-locking braking system helps when driving on ice too. It reduces the risks of sliding on slippery terrain because it can be incredibly easy to lock up your brakes during the winter.


  • Dynamic traction control handling system
  • Factory winter tires
  • Steering angle sensors
  • Anti-locking brake system
  • Heated mirrors, seats, and steering wheel for cold temperatures


  • No dedicated snow mode
  • Additions or upgrades can be costly

2. BMW X5 xDrive40i

The BMW X5 along with the next choice in the X1 are all similar in the way they are designed internally. However, they differ greatly in size and the way they approach an icy road when driving.

The BMW X5 xDrive40i is a 4-door luxury SUV. It has a 3.0L turbocharged V6 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. It gets an EPA rating of 21 mpg city and 25 mpg highway when equipped with the standard 18" wheels.

The X5 xDrive40i is the latest model of the X5 series released with the upgraded xDrive handling system. This system provides a 60/40 torque split when driving and puts more power on the back of the vehicle to ensure handling is firm and accurate without any issues.

The X5 is a lot bigger than the X3 which does apply more weight to the ground to help with traction, but it performs a little worse than the X3 because of some missing features. However, it is still an above-average BMW for the snow.

This sporty SUV uses premium features to cut through difficult terrains like snow and ice while maintaining high-end performance. The lower body shape has strong lines that are curved towards the rear end to help make enough low-end clearance too.

The safety features like higher ground clearance and drivetrain assist with more road accuracy and allow for more room beneath the vehicle for snow or ice. That means you have less of a chance of getting stuff during larger snowfalls.

This X5 also uses the xDrive system along with dynamic stability control, anti-locking brakes, and BMW Active Steering. All three features are perfectly executed for off-road driving and snow handling.


  • Higher ground clearance
  • Active Steering for a lower turn radius
  • The two-Axle air suspension system
  • Active driving assistant
  • Specially designated snow mode


  • Tires can be too big for chains
  • More braking power required on the ice

BMW Snow Driving Tips

Many people believe that using winter tires and one of these BMWs gives them the ability to drive as they please through snow and ice. But this is not the case and you still need to take regular precautions on the road.

Slippery roads require you to maintain stable speeds and stay vigilant about nearby traffic especially on sharp corners and highways. You should also always make sure to upgrade your tires if they do not already have a set of winter models on your vehicle.

Winter tires make an incredible difference on the road, especially in cold weather. They are built with a different rubber compound that is meant to become more flexible as the temperature drops to help you maintain performance.

Another interesting idea for many drivers if you are expecting deeper snow is to use snow chains on your tires. This will create much better traction between your vehicle and the pavement so you can handle it with more accuracy and safety.

With these tips in mind, it is best to take every precaution possible during snow driving because the unexpected can always happen. Take corners at slower speeds and always maintain the speed limit during extreme conditions.

How Do BMW Vehicles Handle The Snow?

BMW vehicles are known for their performance abilities in the snow. They are designed with an approach that is optimized for specific weather conditions and off-road driving.

Primarily, the SUVs come equipped with features that make them suitable for snowy road conditions, such as the air suspension system and winter tires.

BMW even makes above-average sedans for the snow too like the 5 series models with an xDrive technology system installed.

BMW vehicles have a braking system that is designed to work on slippery surfaces. Combining ABS with traction control and four-wheel drive ensures the safety of the driver and passengers while driving on snowy roads.

The BMW special snow control system also includes an anti-skid braking function which stops the car from going out of control when it detects a loss of road grip. It can readjust and maintain driving control to assist the driver for extra safety.

What Is BMW xDrive?

BMW xDrive is an upgraded all-wheel-drive system installed on modern BMW models that increases traction, road grip, and driving performance. By increasing the agility of a vehicle, this system helps drivers remain more balanced on difficult surfaces like ice and snow.

Not only does this system increase traction, but it will assist you when making tight turns around corners with better handling ability. Until we see a new system that can compete with xDrive, we are confident in driving BMW SUVs and even a select few sedans in the snow.

The way this all-wheel-drive system works is that it will distribute 40% of your vehicle’s power to the front set of wheels and the remaining 60% is sent to the back set of wheels. By doing this, your vehicle will ride with more precision.

There are automatic sensors included with the system so if your tires start to lose traction, they will automatically readjust. This means that wherever you lose traction, the sensors will know and divert power to those wheels to give you the lost traction back. It works best during winter conditions and driving through the snow.

Best BMW For Snow

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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