You probably don’t need me to tell you that Saturday afternoon saw the first of the snow for the majority of the country. Whilst the rest of the country looked out of their windows in dismay, I was more excited than many children as the time to test my 3 Series with winter tyres had arrived. Just about every news update on the weather showed a BMW spinning it’s rear wheels in the snow, I was determined to be the exception to this.
After family commitments….. sledging with my daughters…. I needed an excuse to get in the car so we decided to go out for a meal. Despite it being a short journey this would involve driving up the same snow covered hill that had prevented me from getting to work for the last three years. For years my (relatively) expensive BMW has been embarrassed by other cars when it comes to performance in the snow.
Even the little old man from down the road made it up the hill last year in his decade old 1.0l Nissan Micra whilst I was trying to dig tracks in the snow. There was a few inches of snow cover and I was sceptical about my decision to venture out but my car tyres simply dug into the snow and crawled away. Yards later, I selected second gear and began crawling up the slope. With the snow being up to three inches deep in some places and compacted in others I was cautious but at no point did I feel the car lose grip. I kept the revs down and there was ample traction. I was extremely cautious about steering, worrying that I’d simply continue straight forward or suddenly the back of the car would spin but every time I turned the wheel the tyres simply found the required grip as if the road was only wet.
The following day I went in search of untreated roads to experiment further. Despite my best efforts to find a more challenging task for my tyres they didn’t falter, the rear tyres always managed to find traction even under hard acceleration or braking. Sharp turns of the wheel also didn’t affect my progress. Only one particularly icy corner proved a challenge and reminded me that even winter tyres could get caught out.
I was convinced that I needed a 4x4 for when it snowed. Driving with winter tyres has proved that this isn’t the case. My only decision now is when to return to my summer tyres.