All-wheel drive brings greater safety and peace of mind, as well as a more responsive drive to every journey. By powering all of the wheels all of the time, and by varying the amount of power depending on the grip of any wheel, slippery roads become less treacherous and more of the power of the engine can be enjoyed as the car exits bends. We call this xDrive and it's been around for longer than you might imagine.
Where it all began.
In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, Boris Becker won Wimbledon for the first time, and BMW introduced the BMW 325i 'Allrad', our first four-wheel drive model. Its full-time four-wheel drive system - sometimes called an all-wheel drive system - split the drive power in a ratio of 37% to 63% between the front and rear wheels. And when one set of wheels slipped but the other gripped, visco locks provided an almost rigid connection between the front and rear wheels in order to improve traction and stability.
Throughout the 1990s we refined the technology, replacing visco locks with electronically controlled clutches for a faster, more efficient response. The result is that today's BMW xDrive system is one of the most sophisticated and intelligent 4WD systems around, being able to vary the power between the front and rear axles by as much as is needed, up to 100% to either axle. This gives excellent traction on slippery surfaces, from damp roads through to snow and ice. To explore the engineering behind BMW's xDrive, visit the Technology page, or jump straight to the models with xDrive.