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      01-13-2019, 04:33 PM   #54
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Drives: 2015 BMW i8
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: My garage

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Originally Posted by relinquish View Post
I was hoping the AWD would handle better in light snow than a typical RWD? I know tires make all the difference but I was hoping AWD isn't just a placebo effect!

I was contemplating on an R8 as well but heard it didn't do as well compared to the i8. Anyone with any experience?
First off, I’m quite happy with the car in the winter. I’m just not expecting Land Rover-level traction.

Maybe I should have been a bit more clear about the reasons for my assessment. The AWD in the i8 comes in many different flavors and they are not always entirely predictable.

In full eDrive, obviously, you have the front wheels only. I find they get fairly easily overwhelmed with traction and cornering.

In “normal” drive mode, depending on how fast you’re going and how hard you press on the pedal, the engine in the rear may cut in or out unexpectedly, which is not great if you’re on the edge of traction and road holding. The engine will kick in if the front wheels are spinning. But the problem with that is, they must first have lost grip and then it still takes a moment. Not perfect for control.

If you activate “hold charge”, the engine stays on, but the electric motor goes dormant, except for quick high-power demands, like overtaking (I believe).

In Sports mode, both the engine and the e-motor are supposed to be on, of course. But the throttle response is sharper, which isn’t always what you want on a slippery surface. And I can’t quite tell how the front wheel drive behaves. There’s the “boost” of course, but it’s hard to tell how much you’re getting there and when.

Long story short, the AWD on the i8 is helpful, for sure. But it’s not the same thing as, say, quattro on an Audi or a proper offroad AWD. On snow, I find myself in Sports mode with the traction control off. That seems to be the most predictable setup in terms of telling the car what to do vs. the other way around.