30 years of BMW all-wheel drive:From the BMW 325i “Allrad” to the BMW X5 xDrive40e.

30 years of BMW all-wheel drive:From the BMW 325i “Allrad” to the BMW X5 xDrive40e.

29.10.2015: BMW, one of the world’s most successful premium carmakers, also boasts an excellent




BMW, one of the world’s most successful premium carmakers, also boasts an excellent position in the all-wheel-drive market, a segment it first entered 30 years ago. Around one in three BMW cars sold around the world is now equipped with the intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system.


BMW’s success in this segment has been driven not only by the ever-popular BMW X models but also by all-wheel-drive models based on the other model series, from the BMW 1 Series to the BMW 7 Series. Across these model series, a large choice of AWD models is offered in a wide range of engine versions.


At the same time, BMW continues to refine this technology and take it in new directions. By offering BMW xDrive in combination with a hybrid drive and with a front-wheel-drive platform, the company has repeatedly demonstrated its proficiency in the all-wheel-drive field, proficiency that will secure BMW’s position at the forefront of this sector well into the future.


Today, BMW offers more than 110 models – of either transmission type – with BMW xDrive in 12 different model series, as well as the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports car and the compact BMW 225xe with electrified all-wheel drive.



The focus from day one: traction and dynamics.



BMW’s first foray into the all-wheel-drive market came with the unveiling of the BMW 325i “Allrad” at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 1985. From the outside, the newcomer didn’t immediately reveal its inner qualities, so its performance when the journalists took it out on the test track was even more of an eye-opener.


 This very first BMW all-wheel-drive system not only improved traction away from surfaced roads and in adverse weather conditions, but also made for more dynamic handling through corners. “The new BMW is the new champion when it comes to handling,” was the verdict of the testers from German car magazine Auto Zeitung not long after the first unveiling.


Today, the intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system takes typical BMW driving dynamics to new levels. The current generation of this system is controlled by the Integrated Chassis Management (ICM) system, which ensures that xDrive always responds appropriately at the earliest possible moment, based on reliable sensing and monitoring of the current driving situation.




The interventions may be performed either entirely by BMW xDrive, or by xDrive in combination with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) or Dynamic Performance Control (DPC). The resulting fast and precise control of drive power distribution ensures typical BMW handling characteristics even under extremely dynamic cornering.


The all-wheel-drive system is biased towards the typical BMW rear-wheel-drive characteristics. That is to say, on the all-wheel-drive models a greater share of the drive power is sent to the rear wheels, even under normal driving conditions.


This maintains the typical BMW precise steering response, with virtually no torque steer. For crisp turn-in and high tracking stability, the latest-generation BMW xDrive system starts increasing the amount of power sent to the rear wheels as soon as the vehicle enters a corner, further enhancing the driving pleasure for which BMW is a byword.




BMW all-wheel-drive technology: continuous evolution since 1985.


The full-time all-wheel-drive system featured on the BMW 325i “Allrad” of 1985 split the drive power in a ratio of 37 to 63 per cent between the front and rear wheels. In response to wheel speed differences, visco locks in the transfer case and rear differential were capable of providing a virtually rigid connection between the front and rear wheels, in order to improve traction and stability.


This model’s name was soon changed to BMW 325iX, and from 1988 it was offered in a “touring” version as well (lower-case spelling up to and including the E46 series).



1991: BMW 525iX.


Three years on, BMW introduced an all-wheel-drive model in the BMW 5 Series too. For the first time, the power split was now electronically controlled. The newly developed system featured multi-plate clutches that allowed the default 36:64 front-to-rear power split to be varied seamlessly and automatically in line with driving conditions.


Initially a hydraulically controlled multi-plate clutch was used at the rear axle, but this was later replaced by electronically controlled selective braking intervention. The system monitored the driving situation using wheel speed signals from the Anti-lock Braking System, supplemented by further information about brake status, engine speed and throttle valve position.


From the outset the all-wheel-drive system of the BMW 525iX was a class apart. The electronic control system delivered a very fast and precise response, resulting in safe, neutral handling characteristics even in difficult driving conditions, such as on wet roads or snow. In the BMW 5 Series, too, the first all-wheel-drive models were offered in both Sedan and touring versions.



1999: The Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) opens a new chapter.



In the run-up to the new millennium, a highly innovative vehicle concept from BMW made its sensational debut. The BMW X5, the first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), impressed customers with driving dynamics that were unmatched among other all-terrain vehicles of the time.


The outstanding all-wheel-drive system played a big part in this. A planetary gear system split the drive power in a ratio of 38:62 per cent between the front and rear wheels, while electronic control systems such as DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), ADB-X (Automatic Differential Brake) and HDC (Hill Descent Control) ensured the new BMW X5 was both sporty on the road and equipped to handle challenging conditions off the beaten track.


In the years following the successful launch of the SAV concept, there was no let-up in the fast pace of all-wheel-drive development at BMW. The next year, 2000, a model-specific version of the BMW X5’s all-wheel drive technology became available for the fourth generation of the BMW 3 Series.


2003: BMW xDrive makes its debut in the BMW X3 and BMW X5.



Four years on from the debut of the BMW X5 in 1999, BMW kept up the momentum by launching the SAV concept in a further vehicle segment. The new BMW X3 was more compact than the BMW X5 and offered even more agile handling. It set new benchmarks and remained the only premium model in its class for years to come.


The newly developed BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which was introduced in the same year in both the BMW X3 and the BMW X5, soon extended BMW’s lead in the AWD segment.


Based on an extremely fast-acting electronic multi-plate clutch in the transfer case, xDrive worked in tandem with the Dynamic Stability Control system (DSC) to continuously adapt the drive power split to the current driving situation. In addition to wheel speed, for the first time the electronic control system also took into account Dynamic Stability Control data, for example about steering angle, accelerator position and lateral acceleration.


This is what makes BMW xDrive the world’s first, and still only, “intelligent” all-wheel-drive system. Unlike conventional all-wheel-drive systems, which only react when at least one wheel is already spinning, xDrive is able to detect a risk of oversteer or understeer at the very first signs, and proactively corrects this by redirecting the flow of drive power.


In the years that followed, the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system was fitted not only on the X models but also on the xDrive versions of the BMW 3 and 5 Series Sedan and Touring models. By the time the second generation of the BMW X3 was introduced in 2010, more than 600,000 units of this series had already been sold worldwide.


 A little earlier, sales of the BMW X5 – which entered its second generation in 2006 – had topped the one million mark.





2008: SAC with Dynamic Performance Control and hybrid drive.


With the two Sports Activity Vehicles now firmly established in their respective segments, in 2007 BMW went on to present the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), the brand-new BMW X6 elevated the typical dynamic character of the BMW X models to a new level of intensity.


For the first time, the intelligent all-wheel-drive system was combined with Dynamic Performance Control (DPC), which varies the drive power split between the rear wheels when cornering to ensure unrivalled agility and stability, even under sudden throttle changes or on overrun.


In 2009, the BMW Active Hybrid X6 demonstrated a further perfect pairing – between BMW xDrive and hybrid propulsion. Meanwhile, in the same year, BMW M GmbH added two very special models to its range of high-performance sports cars.


With an M-tuned BMW xDrive system, including Dynamic Performance Control, the BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M boasted performance that was previously unknown in the all-wheel-drive market.


2009 also saw the arrival of a new X model, the BMW X1. For many years to come, the BMW X1 was destined to remain the only vehicle of its kind in the premium compact segment. Its intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system, like that of the new BMW X3 (2010), was also combinable with Performance Control.


 This system selectively brakes the wheel on the inside of a turn while simultaneously increasing engine power, resulting in quick and precise turn-in to corners and taking the agile handling of both models to new levels.



BMW xDrive also available for other model series.


The steady advance of the BMW X models has been accompanied by an increase in the number of xDrive versions offered in the other BMW model series too. Designed to improve cornering agility and precision, BMW xDrive provides an enhanced driving experience and an optimal combination of dynamics and comfort.


So it was only a matter of time before this intelligent drive technology made its debut in the BMW 7 Series as well, in 2009. In spring 2012, the first all-wheel-drive Coupe and Convertible models were then offered in the sporty BMW 6 Series.


BMW xDrive can also be specified on the current BMW 3 and 5 Series and, since 2013, on the Convertible, Coupe and Gran Coupe models of the new BMW 4 Series.



Driving progress ever forward.


BMW took things forward in the premium mid-sized segment with the launch of the BMW X4 in 2014. The new Sports Activity Coupe offers a unique blend of driving enjoyment, sophisticated style and contemporary practicality. It comes with BMW xDrive as standard and is available in a wide range of engine versions.


In the same year, BMW also presented the third generation of the BMW X5, the second generation of the BMW X6, and M Sport versions of both models. BMW xDrive also made its debut in the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. This was a debut with a difference, being the first time BMW had combined its intelligent all-wheel-drive system with an all-new front-wheel-drive format.


With the BMW i8, unveiled in 2014, the BMW Group took a bold new step in new directions – which also extended to the all-wheel-drive system. This 2+2-seater sports model is powered by a highly advanced plug-in hybrid drive system that pairs an internal combustion engine driving the rear wheels with a high-performance electric motor driving the front wheels.



Focused on the future: BMW xDrive meets BMW eDrive.


BMW’s latest all-wheel-drive models bring technology advances that are firmly focused on the future of mobility. The BMW i8 was followed by the international launch of the first production plug-in hybrid model from the BMW core brand: the BMW X5 xDrive40e.


Thanks to full-time BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive and eDrive BMW EfficientDynamics technology, this Sports Activity Vehicle mates thrilling and effortless sporty performance with outstanding efficiency. Intelligent hybrid power management synchronises the operation of the internal combustion engine and the electric motor to maximise efficiency at all times, while also responding perfectly to the driver’s demands.


The drive from the two power units is transferred to the road via the full-time BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system.





BMW 7 Series: Integral Active Steering combinable with BMW xDrive.


In September 2015, the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series makes its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). This high-end BMW luxury model pioneers groundbreaking innovations on all fronts, and will be available with BMW xDrive from its market launch in October.


 The new luxury sedan will also be the first model to allow intelligent all-wheel-drive to be combined with Integral Active Steering – that is to say with passively steering rear wheels.




Daniel Chan- photos BMW

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/30-years-bmw-all-wheel-drive-bmw-325i-allrad-bmw-x5-xdrive40e---142728.html

29.10.2015 / MaP

More News

Yamaha at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015
29.10.2015
THE YAMAHA BOOTHThe theme of the Yamaha Motor booth for the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015 is “Resonate. The Yamaha Motor Product Orchestra.” The booth will display a 20-model array of concept and production models, including six world pr more >>
eDrive BMW 330e, BMW M4 GTS, BMW X1 and BMW 7 series at Los Angeles Auto Show
28.10.2015
Additional Featured BMW Vehicles are: BMW X5 xDrive40e, BMW i8 and BMW i3, among others. The all-new eDrive BMW 330e, BMW M4 GTS, BMW X1 and the BMW 7 Series will make their North American debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show on W more >>
Alpina bei der Auto Zürich Car Show
28.10.2015
• Vier BMW ALPINA Automobile in Halle 2 (Stand B015) • Größte Automobilmesse der deutschsprachigen Schweiz • Messeauftritt ein Beweis der Allradkompetenz von ALPINA Im Schatten des inte more >>
SKODA feiert 110 Jahre Automobilbau in Mladá Boleslav
28.10.2015
› 29. Oktober 1905: Premiere der Voiturette A – des ersten Automobils des ŠKODA Vorgängerunternehmens Laurin & Klement (L&K)› Initialzündung für einen der traditionsreichsten Autohersteller der Welt&rsaq more >>
Le BMW Brand Store accueille Michel Vaillant et la BMW Z4 GT3 by Michel Vaillant
28.10.2015
...des 24h de Spa-Francorchamps.Du 16 au 30 novembre, le BMW Brand Store de Bruxelles accueille une exposition consacrée à « Michel Vaillant Art Strip ». La BMW Z4 GT3 pilotée par Timo Glock, Bruno Spengler et more >>
Rahel Frey at ‘Schaffhauser Herbstmesse’
26.10.2015
Audi driver Rahel Frey visited the ‘Schaffhauser Herbstmesse.’ At the consumer show in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen, the 29-year-old professional race driver was a guest at the booth of Radio Munot. In an interview, she talked about her season in the Audi R8 LMS, victory in the ADAC GT Masters finale and the upcoming racing even more >>
Italy welcomes Audi drivers
26.10.2015
At the annual historic car exhibition ‘Auto e Moto d’Epoca’ in Padua, visitors admired the great history of the Audi Sport Italia racing team on the Audi Sport Club Italia stand. Its owners Emilio Radaelli and Roberta Gremi more >>
Lotus Driving Academy adds Evora 400 to new driving experience fleet
16.10.2015
•    New Lotus Evora 400 now available to drive at Hethel test track•    New Elise and Exige models added to Lotus Driving Academy fleet•    New Evora and Exige Experience package more >>
End of season Stars & Cars 2015 to be staged in Mercedes-Benz Arena Stuttgart
14.10.2015
.....for the first time •    MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS arrive in Stuttgart as successful defending champion in the Formula 1 Constructors' World Championship •    Also present will be Silver Arrow stars Le more >>
Rallyeshow St. Pölten 2015
13.10.2015
RALLYESHOW ST.PÖLTENÖAMTC ZV-Baden & MSRR NeulengbachSENSATIONELLE RALLYESHOW IN SANKT PÖLTEN Am Samstag, den 6. November wird Niederösterreichs Landeshauptstadt zu einem echten Rallye-Mekka. more >>
ADAC, Opel und Michelin trainieren über 2,4 Millionen Kids
08.10.2015
5 Jahre Hand in Hand für mehr VerkehrssicherheitPhoto  (v.l.) Joachim Koschnicke, Opel, Ulrich Klaus Becker, ADAC, und Dr. Christoph Vondenhoff, MichelinDie Geschwindigkeit und den Anhalteweg eines Auto more >>
BMW at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015.
08.10.2015
BMW is presenting the world premiere of the BMW M4 GTS at the 44th Tokyo innovations never before seen in automotive construction. Likewise making their Asian debut are the completely newly designed BMW X1 and the plug-in hybrid models, BMW 330e and BMW 225x more >>
Britain and Australia for Red Bull Air Race Championship title in the final race in Las Vegas
07.10.2015
Motorsport - Red Bull Air Race - World Championship - 8th Tourstop - Las Vegas The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will be decided at the final stop in Las Vegas on October 17/18 with Britain’s Paul Bonhomme looking to c more >>
The team from North Asia wins the MercedesTrophy World Final
07.10.2015
Mercedes Trophy World Final 2015:     Team North Asia wins with 199 points in total – second and third places go to the teams from New Zealand  with 195 points and Germany with 192 points    Martin more >>
Classic-Bikes meets Classic-Cars zum Saisonfinale in Wölfersheim
07.10.2015
Kooperation mit der Lebenshilfe-Gießen spenden und gewinnen NSU-Club zu Gast mit Sonderausstellung der unterschiedlichen BaureihenEinmal mehr verspricht das Saisonfinale für Classic-Bikes und Classic-Cars rund um Veranstalte more >>
Latin Auto Parts Expo 2016 - Booth reservations are now open !
06.10.2015
If your company is looking to enter or expand your auto parts sales in Latin American and the Caribbean,  this expo offers you the most efficient and economical opportunity into the market.Join us at the LEADING auto parts show in Latin America and the Cari more >>
Daimler Design exhibition at the municipal gallery in Sindelfingen
06.10.2015
Open from 11 October 2015 until 18 January 2016The title says it all: "Daimler Design – Unexpected Moments" is the name of the exhibition which will be on show at the municipal gallery in more >>
20 Years of Mercedes-Benz in Silicon Valley, Pioneer of Digitalization
02.10.2015
Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America –In 1995, Mercedes-Benz became the first automotive manufacturer worldwide to open a research and development center in Silicon Valley. The brand with the three-pointed star had alread more >>
Prince Harry joins the Walk Of Britain
02.10.2015
The Pride Of Britain AwardsThe Daily Mirror Pride Of Britain Awards was a very special event for Walking With The Wounded and a great honour. We feel very proud that we have received this recognition. As a charity more >>
JOIN/Motor Show de Luxembourg 2015...
29.09.2015
La 18ème édition d'un rendez-vous incontournable !Les préparatifs de la 18ème édition du JOIN/Motor Show de Luxembourg battent leur plein et toute l'équipe constate que 18 ans, c'est le début de l'âg more >>
Audi shines at ISAL 2015, world’s largest lighting congress
23.09.2015
-  Nobel Prize winner and Audi guest speakers are at podium at ISAL 2015      -  IAA concept car has future-oriented OLED lighting technology At the eleventh International Sympos more >>
Oktoberfest: DTM stars and Olympic champions at the BMW Wiesn Sport-Stammtisch.
23.09.2015
Sporting glamour at Oktoberfest photo caption: BMW Wiesn Sport-Stammtisch 2015. The stars from motorsport, winter sports, running and outdoor sports met at the Käfer Wiesn-Schänke to review the sporting year so f more >>
The new Lotus Evora 400 lights up Malaysian Night 2015 in London
22.09.2015
•    The largest event celebrating Malaysian culture in the UK•    Lotus attended for the second year, showcasing the new Evora 400 •    53,000 people gathered in Trafalgar Sq more >>
Motorsport art for a good cause
20.09.2015
Artist Bill Patterson did a painting at the Austin race track in the Audi VIP lounge. In front of the guests, a motorsport artwork of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was created. The Audi FIA World Endurance Championship drivers sig more >>
Audi drivers visit Audi South Austin
20.09.2015
Audi drivers from WEC and from the Paul Miller Racing customer team visited the Audi South Austin dealership on Wednesday. Dindo Capello, Loïc Duval, Marcel Fässler, Oliver Jarvis and André Lotterer, together with Audi Sport’s more >>
Reinhold Joest presented with Golden Pin of Honor
20.09.2015
Reinhold Joest, the founder of Audi Sport Team Joest, has received an award. County Commissioner Matthias Wilkes presented the businessman and former race driver with the Golden Pin of Honor of the Bergstraße County for his achievements and commitment to his native Odenwald region. “Reinhold Joest is both rooted in his native soil more >>
René Rast at Frankfurt Motor Show
20.09.2015
Visitors of the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) had the chance to meet Audi driver René Rast at the Akrapovič stand. The 28-year-old race driver signed many autographs and gave interviews regarding his first Le Mans race for Audi last June at the display of Audi Sport’s partner.Jürgen Pippig - more >>
Art and motorsport at Audi museum mobile
20.09.2015
A view of racing from a different perspective will be offered by the Audi museum mobile from September 23, 2015 to February 28, 2016. The exhibition titled ‘Pit Stop – The Art of Motorsport’ will present 22 works of the artist Stephan Q more >>
Customers drive new Audi R8 LMS
20.09.2015
Audi provided its customers an opportunity at the Nürburgring on September 15 and 16 to drive the new R8 LMS themselves for the first time. About 60 drivers and team bosses used it to get to know the GT3 race car. “The fact that in addition to exi more >>
AUTOMEDON Show Paris 2015 - Competition and Heritage
17.09.2015
 AUTOMEDON Show from OCTOBER 10-11th 2015Practical information: Hall 4 Parc des Expositions Paris-Le Bourget (93) Opening hours: 9am to 7pmCar-park just outsid more >>
Schon 30.000 Bestellungen für den neuen Opel Astra
16.09.2015
•    Opel-Chef Neumann: „Astra ist der beste Opel, den wir jemals gebaut haben!“ •    Produktoffensive legt weiter an Tempo zu: 29 neue Opel/ Vauxhall-Modelle bis 2020•    GM CE more >>
Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show
14.09.2015
New Mercedes-Benz GLC genuine accessoriesMercedes-Benz will show how its vehicles can be individualised to an exceptionally high standard with products from Mercedes-Benz Ac more >>
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Chairman of Group Lotus plc, visits Hethel
14.09.2015
•        Receives a full business briefing including a review of the exciting future Lotus model line-up•        Test drives the new Lotus Evora 400•        Is impressed by the progress of Lotus over the last 12 months  more >>
MINI at IAA Frankfurt 2015
14.09.2015
MINI is continuing the generation change in its model program. With the latest addition to the range of the British premium brand, further target groups can now get to enjoy the distinctive MINI feeling. The new MINI Clubman, which will more >>
Miguel Molina visits Audi partner Teufel at IFA
14.09.2015
Before the DTM races at Oschersleben, Audi driver Miguel Molina took a short side trip to Berlin. On Tuesday, the Spaniard signed autographs at the booth of Audi partner Teufel during the International Radio Exhibition (IFA) and during a tour of Europe&r more >>
Porsche opens a new training centre in Zuffenhausen
11.09.2015
 30 million investment at the Zuffenhausen siteAt the start of the new apprenticeship year, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG opens one of the most advanced training centres in the automotive industry. On an area totalling 14,0 more >>
Honda to Showcase Civic Tourer Active Life Concept at 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show
11.09.2015
    Civic Tourer Active Life Concept makes its debut    GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title-holding Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC on display on Honda standHonda will reveal the Civic Tourer “Active more >>
World premiere at the IAA: new Porsche 911 Carrera
11.09.2015
New biturbo engines, advanced chassis, new infotainment systemDr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG celebrates the world premiere of the new 911 Carrera at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt. more >>
Ex Mika Hakkinen British GP winning McLaren takes to Silverstone track once more
11.09.2015
United Autosports co-owner Zak Brown “shakes down” restored 2001 MP4 The 2001 British Grand Prix winning McLaren of double former World Formula One Champion Mika Häkkinen has taken to the track once more >>
2001-2021 copyright automobilsport.com