Are BMW’s Rear Wheel Drive?

Are BMW's Rear Wheel Drive

BMW is famous for having a back catalogue of amazing cars – both performance wise and aesthetically. Some people adore BMW and would never stray to another manufacturer, while others simply don’t like how they have to alter their driving style to use them. Here, we’re going to go into detail about BMWs and rear wheel drive. If you’re on the hunt for your next vehicle, then read on!

In short, BMW provides rear, front and all-wheel drive versions of it’s cars.

You may have heard all about BMW’s being rear wheel driven cars. While this has always classically been the case, there are now some front wheel drive BMW models. In fact, BMW lost a few fans when they introduced their front rear drive model cars. There are benefits to rear wheel drive BMWs, which we will go into more detail about later. 

Is Rear Wheel Drive Safe In The Rain? 

Something many drivers worry about is handling a rear wheel drive BMW in adverse weather conditions. It is certainly more challenging to drive rear wheel in adverse conditions, but not impossible if you’re willing to be careful and drive as cautiously as possible. 

The first thing you need to consider are your tires. Tires are one of the most important aspects of your car, especially when it’s rear wheel drive. You’ll also need to ensure you slow down and take corners more carefully in slippery conditions – you’re not trying to show off in your car when the rain is pouring or snow is sticking to the ground. 

You also need to consider that when braking, you will want to gently tap them on-again-off-again so that you can avoid slamming them on and skidding into the car in front. It’s all about taking a far gentler approach than you would take in optimal weather conditions. 

But why is it more difficult to drive in the rain? This is pretty much down to the weight you have on an axle. The more traction you have on your wheels, the bigger the force pushing down, and the more contact that they make with the road. A front wheel drive car which has the engine, transmission and some passenger and chassis load pushing at the front wheels, a typical rear wheel drive car has comparatively little, the contents of the boot and some distributed passenger & chassis load. Put simply, how the weight is distributed can make a big difference. 

Why Are BMWs Rear Wheel Drive?

Although it has never been expressly stated, BMWs are likely rear wheel drive due to the handling benefits that come with this option. Of course, there are benefits to each option, which we will discuss in a moment, however – you just can’t beat the smooth handling of a rear wheel drive BMW. These cars are also far more repair-proof, meaning that if you drive over a pothole it’s much less likely you’ll need to pay for an expensive repair. These cars are designed for the driver to really enjoy handling them and encounter minimal issues as they do so. Although great for business, BMW is a car that was built with pleasure in mind. 

Which Is Better: Front Wheel Or Rear Wheel Drive?

You’ll often find people debating about which is better – front wheel or rear wheel drive. This is without question, one of the biggest debates in the automotive world. Both options can be great depending on what you want in a car and your driving style. Take a look at the pros and cons below so you can make up your own mind. 

Front Wheel Drive

  • A front wheel drive provides power to the front wheels of a car. 
  • Pricing is often a benefit – this option is relatively cheaper to design and build, and therefore these cars tend to be more budget friendly. Fewer parts are needed and the drivetrain is much easier and cheaper to install into the vehicle.
  • Front wheel drive cars eliminate weight by getting rid of the separate transmission and axle assemblies used in rear wheel drive cars – you’ll find you have better fuel mileage because of this. Traction is better in the snow and rain, so you won’t need to worry too much about changing your driving style in adverse weather conditions (although you should be more careful no matter what car you drive. It’s common sense). In front wheel drive cars, the front wheels pull the vehicle instead of pushing it. With the weight of the engine and transaxle sitting on top of the front drive wheels, and this helps the vehicle get grip.
  • Many agree that the handling could be better on front wheel drive cars as it is not as smooth and strong as rear wheel drive. 

Rear Wheel Drive 

  • Rear wheel drive cars provide power to the rear wheels of a car.
  • These cars can take a lot of abuse, and don’t usually require expensive repairs as a result. If you hit a curb or a pothole, chances are you won’t break anything. The chances are much higher in a front wheel drive car and you would probably have to fork out a large sum of money to repair the damage. 
  • Rear wheel drive cars provide better balance, and therefore better handling. This is because rear wheel drive cars distribute the weight of its drivetrain more evenly from front to rear.
  • Traction is the downside in a rear wheel drive – although not impossible, it’s not ideal to drive in the snow and rain and you will need to drive more carefully to avoid accidents. 

BMWs are known for being rear wheel drive, although there are front wheel drive models and even all-wheel drive models in 2020. The one you select will need to suit your driving style, and you’ll want to take into account the pros and cons listed here before making your final decision!


I'm Scott, a BMW enthusiast and many time owner of these wonderful machines. I'm here to document my experiences with BMW's over the years and hopefully help people out along the way.

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