It’s amazing to think that just 30 years ago BMW’s four-wheel drive adventure was only just beginning and back in those days its USP was that in a time when just about every manufacturer was turning to front-wheel drive BMWs remained resolutely driven by their rear wheels.
While some might bemoan the fact that you can now more or less order every BMW with four driven wheels BMW has done its research and concluded that if that’s what the market wants, that’s what it will build. Today around one in three BMW cars sold around the world is now equipped with the intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system (BMW prefers the term all-wheel drive to four-wheel drive with its slightly negative farm machinery connotations!). (First X BMW car is E30 325iX)
BMW’s success in this segment has been driven not only by the ever-popular X models but also by allwheel drive models based on the other model series, from the 1 Series to the 7 Series. Across these model series, a large choice of AWD models is offered in a wide range of engine versions, and even in the UK where we were somewhat slow on the all-wheel drive uptake you can now order an example of every model series, bar the 5 Series, with all-wheel drive. 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 allwheel 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 xDrive in 12 different model series, as well as the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car and the compact 225xe with electrified allwheel drive.
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