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A beautiful day with the iX

Posted by Dave_G 
February 25, 2010 07:26PM
Sometimes I wonder if BMW ever really knew what a remarkable car they built in the E30 325iX. Regardless, whenever I get to drive mine I certainly love what it does.

For skiers like myself in this area, yesterday was a day to remember. Over a foot of snow fell by morning, and another foot fell during the day (that's about 60 cm). (Ironically, while the flat and warmer regions to our south have been buried by snow this winter, northern New England has been left high and dry. So this was the first big storm of the winter for us.) BMW thoughtfully provided the iX with a pass-through ski bag, which my son and I filled with our skis and had an outing that will live in our memories forever.

We had an uneventful trip over the mountains to get to the skiing, but the car really shined on the drive home. When we returned to the car to drive home, the snow had piled up past the bottoms of the doors. By that time of the day the snow had turned wet and heavy, too. We brushed it off, and the car just dug itself out of the parking place like it was merely a coating of frost. The steep uphill exit out to the highway had not been plowed, but the iX just climbed it without a difficulty, spraying a little shower of snow from all four wheels just for show. B) A few minutes later as we climbed the steep highway to the top of the mountain gap, we came upon a Dodge Stealth stopped on the side of the road, clearly having difficulty. He wasn't stuck, but just couldn't get enough traction to make the climb. (He had four good snow tires, too.) I pulled out the tow strap I always carry, and fastened one end to the rear tow loop while the other driver secured the other end to the front of his car. Without a slip, the little iX pulled him about 1/2 mile to the top of the gap, where he thanked me profusely and expressed amazement. ("What kind of car is that??" smiling smiley)

For the rest of the 30-mile drive home, I counted at least six and possible seven cars that had slid off the road (it was especially slick, warm snow), but the sure-footed iX just surged through the not-especially-well-plowed roads without so much as a tense moment.

I got this car partially to take me skiing on days like this (because the worst driving always leads to the best skiing), while still being fun to drive (compared, for example, to the ubiquitous Subarus that everyone has around here). This was just the latest in a series of days where it has come though in spades. grinning smiley

Oh yeah, and a couple weeks ago I took fast time of the day at a 70-car ice time trial (not counting the one bolt-tired car).

I love my iX. smiling bouncing smiley

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 25, 2010 08:34PM
I know exactly how you feel B)
February 25, 2010 11:51PM
LOL, why is it I have an image of you two putting a warm blanket around you car and a pan of warm milk in front of them?

alan
February 26, 2010 02:52AM
Quote
Dave_G
Without a slip, the little iX pulled him about 1/2 mile to the top of the gap, where he thanked me profusely and expressed amazement. ("What kind of car is that??)

I love my iX. smiling bouncing smiley


It's good to share the Beemie love. Gathering friends as it rolls. Yep-er-oo!

Cheers! Kelly
February 26, 2010 12:50PM
The "X" is one of the few things I wish my car had (okay, and intact valve springs).
When I lived in the northern deserts of Spokane, WA, winter just meant driving with a respectable amount of power being applied to the road. On a flat desert, this equates directly to easy acceleration. Now that I'm back in the mountains, applied road power does not equate to acceleration the same way (at least the way drivers think of it), since there is a certain amount of force required just to stay moving, and two wheels just doesn't cut it sometimes smiling smiley

Alas, no one in the north around here sells their iX, and no one in the south owns one sad smiley

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2010 12:51PM by Earendil.
February 26, 2010 01:08PM
Quote
Earendil
Alas, no one in the north around here sells their iX, and no one in the south owns one sad smiley
Yeah, it's getting harder and harder to find a good one, but with patience and diligence it's quite possible. They only ever imported 2800 to North America, some portion of those have succumbed to the years, and probably about half of them are automatics (which is a non-starter for me). So that leaves maybe somewhere around 1000 5-speed cars in existence (and many of those are getting pretty rough). Most people can forget about finding one locally, so you pretty much need to use the Internet and be ready to travel. I actually found mine on eBay, and picked it up after a 450-mile bus ride south. The most likely place to find a good used iX is at the BMW 325iX Club. Lots of iX owners frequent that list, and cars turn up for sale every few months or so, including a few very nice examples.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 26, 2010 05:03PM
Were those cars constant 4wd or could you go to 2wd? Were the transfer cases and all that hardy components?

alan
February 26, 2010 06:18PM
Quote
alanrw
Were those cars constant 4wd or could you go to 2wd? Were the transfer cases and all that hardy components?
They're full-time AWD. Unlike most other AWD cars, however, they were designed by BMW with a rear torque bias: 63% rear, 37% front. This is supposed to be equal to the weight distribution of the car under acceleration. It definitely works. When I compete with mine on ice or snow, it's a little harder to get the car to rotate than a RWD car would be, but it's much easier to turn than a typical FWD car.

The transfer cases are very hardy, with one significant Achilles' heel. Like the rear diff, the transfer case uses a viscous coupling to lock the two output shafts. (The front diff is open.) This works very well, is very smooth, and will last a very long time if not abused. What typically kills the center viscous coupling is when the wheels on one end of the car are forced to turn at a much faster rate than the other end, usually when the car is towed with two wheels on the ground. That will melt the VC in very short order, and over the years many of them have died that way. When the VC goes, you still have AWD, but the transfer case is open instead of locking, greatly handicapping its effectiveness. The solution is simple: never tow an iX by only two wheels! Follow that simple rule and it will live forever. Verifying the condition of the center VC is the most important thing to check when buying one of these.

Other than that, the components are as sturdy as on any other E30.

Sometimes Audi guys will laugh at the front halfshaft that is positioned through the oil pan, calling it an afterthought kludge. I see it as a stroke of brilliance, as it allows the heavy mass of the engine to be positioned back by the firewall instead of hanging out in front of the front wheels as in Audis. Because of that, the iX demonstrates much less understeer than Audis. The downside is that if you ever need to pull the oil pan, it's a nightmare job. Fortunately I've never had to pull the oil pan. smiling smiley

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 28, 2010 06:53AM
Don't post stuff like that! Makes me miss my iX!

There's a good reason for iX's not being for sale: their owners tend to stick to them! And who could blame them... It's a lot less complicated than modern cars and does the work at least as good. Mechanics, that's all it takes, not electronics.


Take good care of your car, and enjoy it forever!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2010 06:54AM by Michiel 318iS.
March 01, 2010 08:50AM
Unfortunately, as far as driving enjoyment goes, they honked it up with the E46 version. It's still 63/37, but open diffs all around with active controls for both the "LSD" and the center diff. The one time I took it to an ice race, it was just awful. If I turned DSC off, I couldn't get moving thanks to the open diffs. But if I had DSC on, as soon as the car started to drift (which kind of happens a lot in an ice race), it shuts off power from the engine until the car senses that it has stopped moving. More than once I'd be sliding towards a nice patch of snow and know that I could get traction there to change direction, but the car's brain wouldn't give me the engine back as long as I was still sliding. It was very much not fun.

I suppose it does fine for on street driving, the DSC has intervened a couple of times and straightened us out in slippery conditions, but often I feel that the car wouldn't have been out of control if it simply had mechanical LSD. But this car is definitely designed for the masses, not the people who actually (think they) know what they're doing. It's a good car for the family, but I wouldn't want it to be my "fun" car. :tongue:

Cab
1990 325i(s)
2004 325XiT
rkj
March 02, 2010 02:42PM
Quote
Cab Treadway
Unfortunately, as far as driving enjoyment goes, they honked it up with the E46 version. It's still 63/37, but open diffs all around with active controls for both the "LSD" and the center diff. The one time I took it to an ice race, it was just awful. If I turned DSC off, I couldn't get moving thanks to the open diffs. But if I had DSC on, as soon as the car started to drift (which kind of happens a lot in an ice race), it shuts off power from the engine until the car senses that it has stopped moving. More than once I'd be sliding towards a nice patch of snow and know that I could get traction there to change direction, but the car's brain wouldn't give me the engine back as long as I was still sliding. It was very much not fun.

I suppose it does fine for on street driving, the DSC has intervened a couple of times and straightened us out in slippery conditions, but often I feel that the car wouldn't have been out of control if it simply had mechanical LSD. But this car is definitely designed for the masses, not the people who actually (think they) know what they're doing. It's a good car for the family, but I wouldn't want it to be my "fun" car. :tongue:

Newer isn't always better eye rolling smiley
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