I’ve always been a firm believer that dedicated winter tires plus a rear-wheel drive BMW is a winning combination. I know that I still need to drive carefully, but at least I have some reassurance that the tires are working for me instead against me. The tire of choice for my BMW 135i over the last three winter seasons has been the Michelin X-Ice Xi2.
Driving in Winter Conditions
The Xi2 doesn’t give a mushy feeling to the driver that typical commonplace in this category. Yet is not a performance-oriented winter tire (such as the Michelin Alpin or Pilot Alpin).
From what I’ve felt, the Xi2 has much better snow and ice traction, while the Alpin has faster steering response and better dry grip/handling. The Xi2 drives closer to what you might expect from a Michelin all-season offering. Steering input overall is quite predictable and stable during lane changes. It has a tight on-center feel and produces little road growl through the cabin at highway speeds. While standing acceleration traction from icy/snowy standstill requires some patience with a rear-wheel drive BMW, the Xi2 does a reasonably good job if you keep a light foot on the accelerator pedal.
Intermittently enabling DSC (traction control) helps pull through anything greater than four inches of standing snow. Stopping traction is stable and again predictable. I have not once felt the car was unsettled when coming to an abrupt stop on slippery or dry road surface. As an added plus, they have worn exceptionally well. I am on my fourth and final year with this set and the road noise is still minimal after several thousand miles. It’s hard to call out any faults. The only one is they are no longer in production. However, they have been updated and improved with the third-generation X-Ice Xi3 model.
I plan to pick up a new set from Tire Rack next year.
I currently have the winter tires mounted to 18×8 Sport Edition KM11 wheels and keep them set at 35 PSI (cold). I live in Michigan and most of the winter months are not spent driving on snow-covered roads. The crews do a solid job keeping the roads clean. The Xi2 still has to deal with a variety of cold, dry and wet wintry conditions, and as has coped very well overall.
- Confidence inspiring, predictable performance with higher speed rating
- Built to take on a wide variety of conditions/distances
- Long-lasting comfort with minimal cabin noise intrusion
- Well-suited for wide variety of BMW sedans and coupes