What is BMW xDrive?

13th Sep 2022

By Kenny Longdon

What is BMW xDrive?

Since 2003 'xDrive' is the name given to all-wheel drive BMW models.

With many BMW models being famed for their rear-wheel drive nature, it may come as a surprise to some that BMW also offer all-wheel drive and also front-wheel drive vehicles, which have been created to attract potential new customers to the brand.

Although xDrive is relatively new in BMW terminology, having first appear in 2003 on the BMW X3 and X5, it was actually much earlier in 1985 when BMW showcased their first all-wheel drive vehicle. This BMW was the 325i 'Allrad', which soon had its name changed to 325iX - an early indication of the x in xDrive perhaps?

Why did BMW introduce xDrive?

BMW X5 Original

In an ever-evolving marketplace, BMW's competitors had long been offering all-wheel drive cars, therefore 'stealing' potential customers from BMW. With all-wheel drive offering a whole host of benefits (see advantages below) it made sense for BMW to get in on the action.

Interestingly, although it was 1985 when the first all-wheel drive BMW was made, it was not until 1999 when BMW launched their first SUV, or SAV in BMW speak, which stands for Sports Activity Vehicle. We are of course talking about the very first BMW X5.

The X5 paved the way for a whole host of X Series SUV models which today include the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7.

What are the advantages of BMW xDrive?

BMW M240i xDrive

With BMW being known for their driver focused rear-wheel drive cars, the inclusion of BMW models having all-wheel drive ensured drivers or owners could take advantages of a number of benefits.

These include:

  • Traction/grip - The traction and grip of the car is enhanced as the car has more contact patches touching the road that offer power and stability.
  • Easier to drive - In particular weather, such as when it rains or snows, xDrive offers more grip and ensures you are less likely to get stuck in winter conditions.
  • Performance - All-wheel drive xDrive BMW models are able to accelerate faster due to more wheels having power, this is ideal for those who want fast accelerating models.
  • Better for towing cars - Towing is made far easier, along with getting rid of potential wheel-spinning.


What are the disadvantages of BMW xDrive?

BMW X1 xDrive

Of course, with advantages of all-wheel drive, there is also a few disadvantages too. These include:

  • Cost - The initial cost of xDrive is more expensive than that of a comparable rear-wheel drive model due to the extra parts. It will also use more fuel.
  • Fun factor - The famed driver-focused rear-wheel drive BMW models are much more focused than the 'more stable' all-wheel drive models. Of course, this will all depend on the driver's preference.


  • Heritage - Most BMW M Cars are famed for their rear-wheel drive. With certain M models also being available in all-wheel drive, it could be seen as diluting the driver-focused nature, although you could also argue they are more usable all year round. And the fact you can choose between rear-wheel or all-wheel drive means all potential customers are catered for.


What BMW models feature BMW xDrive?

There are many models in the BMW range which feature xDrive all-wheel drive. Below you can click through to find out more about the specific model, which will have an xDrive version available within its series. 

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We are delighted to offer both new and used BMW models via or Stratstone BMW retailers.

With everything from front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and xDrive models, there is a BMW for every preference.

Discover yourpreferred Stratstone BMW retailer, who will be able to help you with anything BMW related.