BMW’s Snow and Ice Challenge is one of the most fun things you can do in a car. It takes place in Sölden, Austria, which is located in the Alps and, as you can imagine, it’s extremely cold, snowy, and icy. Which makes it the perfect place to test a BMW M car’s abilities on such slippery surfaces. It’s also a great way to show off just how important tires are for winter driving. In this new video from Joe Achilles, we get to see that challenge, as he drives a rear-wheel drive BMW M4 around in the snow and ice.
The surface he drove on looked like snow but it, in reality, was barely an inch of snow sitting on top of thick ice. So, aside from just driving onto a frozen lake, it was about as slippery as you’ll realistically ever get. You might imagine that a rear-wheel drive, 503-horsepower BMW M4 would be the last choice of cars for such a challenge but, with the right tires, it proved surprisingly capable.
Tires are everything when it comes to winter driving. A good set of winter tires can make a rear-wheel drive great in the snow but bad tires will render an all-wheel drive car useless. This video proves that, as the M4’s Michelin X-Ice North studded winter tires—which are only made for Scandinavian markets—let the M4 grip the icy, snowy surface surprisingly well.
Another component to winter drive is traction control. Sophisticated traction control systems can help even supercars put their power down in the snow. In the case of the BMW M4, Achilles put his foot to to the floor and the traction control metered out the power on its own, letting him worry only about steering and keeping the car in control. With MDM mode on, the car still handled itself but was noticeably looser. With traction control all the way off, and Achilles metering the throttle on his own, he was actually faster through that section but it took quite a bit more work.
There were more tests conducted, so check out the video. But it’s deeply impressive how capable a powerful rear-wheel drive car can be with the right tires and high-quality traction control.