The definition of snow squall – “a sudden, moderately heavy snow fall with blowing snow and strong, gusty surface winds.” Tends to be localized in time and in location.
Let’s just say that bending around north on Highway 400, outside Barrie, Ontario, on the way to Highway 11, to Orillia, particularly in the late December, is a high-risk time to experience a lake-effect snow squall.
And that’s just what happened.
As hardened Canadian winter drivers, realize, however, it goes miles to calm nerves when you are behind the wheel of a vehicle that can more than handle brutal driving conditions like this. That’s what we were driving – the BMW 440i xDrive Coupé.
There are many reasons for the strong performance during our wintertime drive. A big reason was the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, utilizing sophisticated onboard software and sensors that constantly monitor available traction at each wheel, driver inputs and vehicle attitude in all driving conditions. Operating in tandem with the ABS and Dynamic Stability Control systems, xDrive senses then corrects wheel slip, and transfers power or braking seamlessly between individual wheels as required, so the driver has stability with regards to steering, braking and forward motion.
These are factors of the 440i unnoticed by the driver. Virtually 100% of engine torque can be transferred from the front to rear axles in a second, so the driver avoids oversteer or understeer situations. That becomes particularly pronounced during a sudden snowsquall, or icy conditions.
Then there are the tires – BMW-specified winter wheel/tire packages for optimum traction in snowy conditions. A lot of that comes down to the rubber composition of the tire itself, which is designed and engineered to operate effectively in sub-zero temperatures – offering the driver better traction compared to all-season tires.
We Canadians are hardened souls when it comes to snow and cold. It’s nice to know there is a luxury car that has our back when it comes to winter driving.
2018 440i xDrive Coupé
Base MSRP: $58,350
Universal Remote Control
Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
Park Distance Control, front and rear
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Harman/Kardon Sound System
Full Digital Instrument Display
BMW ConnectedDrive Services Professional
Active Blind Spot Detection
Speed Limit Information
Apple CarPlay Preparation
Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB
M Performance Exhaust
M Power Kit
BMW Individual Extended Merino Leather
Adaptive LED Headlights
Active Cruise with Stop and Go
Price as tested: $73,990