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How Well Does A BMW X5 Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

BMW is a brand known for making luxury vehicles that appeal mostly to young buyers. Be it their sedans or SUVs, buyers in their 20s to 40s are inclined more towards BMW out of the German carmakers than any other brands from Germany. Sensing the shift from sedans to SUVs, BMW also started offering different products for all SUV classes.

The X5 was launched in 98’, with the E53 model being the SUV of choice for off-roading enthusiasts from novices to pro-drivers. It is a great winter commuter and snow tackler when it comes to the Midsize SUV segment. With high ground clearance and driver aids, it is an offering that can’t be ignored.

BMW insists on calling it a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) instead of a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) owing to its sporty characteristics and driving dynamics that offer a nice combination of a powerful engine with the stance of an SUV. With the added benefit of a 3rd row, it is a 7-seater SUV that is capable enough to roll the entire family up those steep hills and snowy surfaces with less effort.

Being an SUV, the X5 is thoroughly capable of handling winters, and snow is what we are here to find out. Some presumptions associated with SUV-class are that they are friends with winters and snowfall. We wish that were the case, but it is not. SUVs sometimes face challenges and employ various technologies to counter the effects of winters on a vehicle’s driving ability.

With winter severity ranging from light to moderate, the X5 can be an obvious choice, but how good a decision will it be to shell out north of sixty grand when the market is riddled with product offerings that can be equally capable for a lot less money. The answer really lies in the success of the X5, which has been achieved over the years of it being sold in the US.

According to data available on, the BMW X5 sales spike up during November and December. It will be safe to conclude that this trend represents how the buyers feel about the X5 during the Q4 of the year. The trend would have shown otherwise if this wasn’t the case here. People trust X5 during winters and snow.

Also read BMW X5 xDrive35i Problems.

Experience Of BMW X5 Owners

There is only so much the stats can say. At the end of the day, the driver feedback compels buyers to make a purchase decision or stay away from it. Just like any other vehicle, people who own the BMW X5 have positive and negative words to say about their experience with the X5’s winter and snow capabilities.

There are various forums where one can easily find such feedback about the X5. On one of such forums, we found this:

“We get a good share of snow in Southern Ontario and the X5 has been very good to us. It is one of the main reasons we bought this for my wife.”


Then we came across another driver who had this to say about the X5:

“I bought a 2017 X5 msport edition and is been great, until the snow fell. I have 20″ rims with offset tires (275/40 front and 315/35 in the back) and I have been sliding all over the road in the snow. Got into an accident yesterday hitting the guard rail on a highway because I went sideways.”


Can we call the X5 a winter-maestro? It is really up to the drivers to pass a verdict since we have seen various reviews about the X5’s ability in winters, and they shift from pole to pole depending upon the driver’s experience with the X5. Overall, it can be said that a conclusion to be drawn from just the internet is anything but easy, and one has to experience to tell the tale.

Does BMW X5 Have Snow Tires?

The BMW X5 comes standard with All-season run-flat tires with the 265/50-19 tire size. 265 mm is a very decent width for a tire that allows for great grip in pretty much any condition. A 50% aspect ratio also means that the tires can perform well with reduced tire pressure to gain more traction.

Because it is an SUV, a 19-inch wheel is a great satisfaction. Knowing that one has a worthy tire setup can keep one’s mind at peace during conditions like winters and snowfall where even the boldest drivers can turn nervous. As standard, the snow tires are not installed but can be easily obtained at a good price.

Snow and winter tires are constructed with softer rubber compounds that are more resistant to hardening than All-season tires. This resilience of the winter tires translates to better tire grip in winter and snow conditions. The tire surface stays soft in extreme winters delivering better tire grip and thus mitigating the effects of cold temperatures on tires.

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

Also read BMW X5 Battery Problems & BMW X5 Diesel Problems.

What Drive System Does A BMW X5 Have?

As standard, the X5 comes with a Rear Wheel Drive system. This is where the whole thing starts falling apart for some drivers who are uncomfortable with an RWD system. Usually, the RWD systems are associated with wheel spinning and, at times, loss of traction in weather like winters and snowy surfaces.

The RWD drive system is not that much of a put-off for some drivers as they are knowledgeable enough to switch to Winter tires as soon as the streets start turning white with snow. Most of the buyers of X5 are young buyers aware of tips to better adapt to weathers as severe and intense as winters and snow.

But that being said, the RWD system’s disadvantages cannot be totally ruled out in winters and snow. For this system to work, other tricks and tips are imperative as at the end of the day; the equation will only hold itself if all variables are kept in check like tires, drive system, driver aids, etc.

Let us see what BMW offers in driver assistance technologies to make the effect of winters and snow on driving less noticeable and more livable.

Also read: Types Of Gas A BMW X5 Can Use (Explained)

What Electronics System Help The BMW X5 In The Snow?

The X5 is loaded with a plethora of Electronic Systems that allow for a better driving experience in winters to maintain its youth appeal. Snow is a clear detriment to the driving capability of any vehicle, and without the use of electronic systems, we increase the probability of accidents caused by extreme winter conditions.

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)

Different manufacturers brand their stability control systems variably. BMW likes to call its system Dynamic Stability Control. In essence, its job moniker states it all. It is designed to maintain the vehicle’s stability against external forces so that the driver can push the vehicle out of a situation that causes a loss of stability.

DSC sensors monitor vehicle speed, wheel rotation, lateral acceleration, brake pressure, and yaw, which the vehicle can rotate around its vertical axis. That’s a mouthful, but the DSC is a brilliant and robust system that instantly detects and corrects loss of traction, allowing for better vehicle maneuvering in winters.

Brake Fade Compensation (BFC)

The brake fading is normal when the pressure applied to the brakes causes the temperature to rise at the caliper and disc assembly and boils the brake fluid. The BFC detects such temperature surges and replaces the standard braking system with ABS. This enhances the efficiency of the pressure applied at the brake pedal and ensures the availability of brakeforce.

If this system is not there, the chances of a driver applying greater pressure to the brake pedal are increased. This, in turn, also increases the longevity of brake pads and brake discs.

Dynamic Traction Control (DTC)

Almost everyone is familiar with traction control systems. The main job of a traction control system is to ensure the loss of traction is minimized. It is a regulation system that enhances the driver’s control over the vehicle by controlling the traction at the wheels. If wheelspin is detected, the traction system cuts the power off from that wheel to minimize wheelspin.

Wheelspin is the main factor that results in a loss of traction for the most part, and this worsens the driving conditions in winters and snow. Traction control will ensure that such behavior is nullified and maximum traction can be made available at all four wheels at all times, thereby reducing the threat of an unpleasant event.

Hill Descent Control

Driving in areas with snow worsens when the driver has to take the vehicle on inclined roads, adding challenges to the already unfavorable conditions. This is where the Hill Descent Control comes into play. We know that roads can’t always be plain, and the vehicle can experience inclines during its driving tenure.

The HDC utilizes traction control and ABS to continuously control slippage and maintain a regulated speed in case the vehicle is on a steep surface. This further improves the vehicle’s drivability in slippery wet winters and snow.

Anti-lock Braking System

The tires can maintain traction under braking and allow the driver to steer the vehicle away from danger and safety with the ABS. An ABS detects wheel-lock under braking and constantly keeps cutting off and re-applying brake force so that the tire can regain traction.

If the tire is locked, that is a complete loss of traction, and it disallows the driver to steer the vehicle. This makes it more difficult for the driver to control the vehicle in winters and snow when the roads are wet. The wheel-lock can be eliminated by using ABS, and the tire can rebuild traction with the road surface.

Weight Distribution

Normally, the weight distribution differs in each trim level, and on top of that can differ even among the same trim levels due to different packages and add ons. But the BMW X5 has an amazing 50/50 weight distribution. It gives the X5 that pristine handling on whichever terrain it goes.

2021 ModelsWeight Distribution F/R
X5 sDrive40i50:50
X5 xDrive40i50:50
X5 M50i50:50
X5 xDrive45e50:50

Also read: The 3 Main Differences Between BMW xDrive and sDrive

Ground Clearance (in): 8.4 Inch

The BMW X5 is a mid-size SUV. Higher ground clearance for SUVs is imperative. The X5 also offers an astounding ground clearance of 8.4 inches from the ground unladen. Usually, the cars that fit into the segment of midsize SUVs range from 6-10 inches in ground clearance, and the X5 is definitely on the higher side of this range.

The higher the ground clearance, the better. We know it, and there is no way to refute this. Higher ground clearance adds to the vehicle’s winter-aptness. A vehicle can easily knife through thick layers of snow with higher ground clearance, as that is one major point of concern for any winter driver.

With that, adding larger wheels and fatter tires becomes an unbeatable combination of winter agility for the X5. Understood that the X5 is an RWD car by default but having good ground clearance with winter tires and larger wheels, it becomes less of a pain driving in snow compared to other vehicles.

Wheelbase (in): 117.1

SUV class is marked with cars of a longer wheelbase. The BMW X5 is no exception. It stands at 117.1 inches of wheelbase. Now where the wheelbase really comes into action is going up or down a steep grade where the vehicle needs a longer structure to maintain its own. Being a rear-wheel drive, this is where it really pays off to have a vehicle with a longer wheelbase.

When a vehicle has a larger wheelbase, it has its weight spread out over a longer stretch, and this means that the vehicle can be kept planted into the road far better than a vehicle with a shorter wheelbase. A longer wheelbase also helps keep the vehicle from flipping over steep inclines and ensures safe driving in conditions such as winters.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The BMW X5?

And when we look at the standard tire sizes that the X5 comes equipped with, there are a few options available to enhance traction even further by using traction devices. There are devices like traction chains that can really help in situations like winters and snow to allow the drivers to enjoy a less painful drive and make their journey safer.

At, you can buy these traction chains for the BMW X5 for as low as $ 62.20 apiece and $ 124.40 for a pair. The traction chains have been observed to deliver a good amount of traction in winter and snow conditions. Happy snowing.

Also read: Types Of Gas A BMW X5 Can Use (Explained)