4WD VS Winter Tyres – Do you need winter tyres if you have 4WD?

As requested in comments I will be doing all season vs winter tyres AND 4wd vs 2wd on the same tyres so make sure you subscribe! http://bit.ly/2p6kKXq

I’ve lost track the amount of times I’ve read “you don’t need winter tyres if you have four wheel drive”, so I thought I’d do the test. Two BMW X1 vehicles, one is front wheel drive (FWD) with winter tyres, and one of four wheel drive (4WD / 4×4 / AWD) with summer tyres fitted.

The winter tyre 2wd vehicle has Goodyear Ultragrip Performance Gen-1 and the summer tyre 4wd has the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3. Both tyres are in the same size and load rating (225/50 R17) and have the same tyre pressures.

The tests in the video include acceleration and braking on snow, snow handling, snow hill climb, snow braking on a hill, and obstacle avoidance.

Which combination of drive train and tyres was best? You’ll have to watch the video 🙂

Note, I know I use 4×4 and AWD interchangeably in the video. The BMW X1 is AWD, but you would have a similar result with FWD.

Winter tyres are sometimes called snow tyres.

Further information on the tyres talked about in this video can be found on the Tyre Reviews website


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The music in the video is by the excellent Lakey Inspired, go follow his soundcloud!

lakey inspired – holding on – https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired/holding-on

lakey inspired – me 2 – https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired/me-2-feat-julian-avila


Sofian S says:

FYI Winter tyres are not just made for snow. They are made for WINTER. So please, buy a fucking set, in the long run, it’s that expensive as you don’t use your summer tyres during winter.

newsgetsold says:

3:36 “Obstical”?! Is that like an obstacle?

poruatokin says:

I have lived in Nagano, Japan for the last 20 years, I change my wheel sets every spring and late autumn. Will be changing them next week to the winters. In all this time, the only accident I ever had was once when I got caught in a late spring snow squall on summer tyres.
Even my 2WD MX5 will drive fine on snow with no traction or stability control. Only wish I could turn off ABS as well in snowy conditions.
When it snows here, the police have check points at the entrance to Expressways, you are only allowed on if you have either winter tyres or tyre chains / nets installed.

Tom OOO says:

Regardless of the confusion of summer tires, winter tires, 4-season and all-season tires, they either have the snow flake symbol meaning they are designed/certified for below 7 degress C + snow – or not. Simple. So, it does not matter what you tires are called – look for the certification on the sidewall.



Jacob Friett says:

What 1 series is front wheel drive?

Patrick says:

How would a rwd with winter tyres compare with a 4wd with summer tyres?

DaxXx988 says:

Obstical? XD I thought you guys were English!

g4rr377 says:

What boggles my mind is when people think it’s totally fine to use winters on only one axle.

Lars Henningsson says:

2WD or 4WD doesn’t matter regarding braking.
Winter tyres are better than summer tyres

Fredrik Alfson says:

The biggest problem here is people not understanding the difference between “all season” tires and studless winter tires.
All season is a product made for roads not covered in ice or snow!

gratzy1989 says:

Nice test! when do you bring the 4×4?

Simen Middelhuis says:

I totally pressed like!

fatbelly27 says:

3:36 how are you spelling obstacle?

bl0ckbust3r says:

I love to drive my 4×4 with winter tires.

ron paul says:

Nitwit in t shirt in winter….cause ….do you even lift bro!

Alex Hill says:

Traction control off on the awd drive car would be better

Douglas Millar says:

What about All weather vs winter tires?

ChrisWallBoxing says:

Got some Maxxis AP2’s to put on instead of my Eagle F1’s. Then saw they were all seasons? Reviews on them said they were excellent in cold weather (mostly rwin in Britain, but perform well in snow too)

g4rr377 says:

You still should get a normal t-shirt

You're Right but... says:

Great video but confusing commentary. Keep it simple please

Bbearhug Thomas says:

Why aren’t you testing all season tires to winter tires? At least that would be a reasonable test.

ctrrr says:

Great video. One issue with winter tires is the age of the set. OLD tires can be quite nasty – almost like summer tires. Could you compare new vs. old winter tires? I think many drivers don’t realize the risks of time-hardened rubber even you’d have all the studs and millimetres.

Sickie Wifebeater says:

would have liked to have seen winter tires on rear wheel drive

MafiosoItaliano458 says:

Whoa! So, it’s much better spending only €400-500 on winter tyres for your 2WD car than spending a whole lot more on an SUV, just because it’s got 4WD! But it even then, there’s a solution: just spend that extra €400-500 on proper rubber for your SUV! €400-500 compared to 25k (or 40k, since we see the BMW X1 xDrive 20d here) is a diminutive price to pay!
I’m curious about something else, though: do winter tyres work on RWD cars? Can you combine snow-drifting fun with safe manners on the road when you equip your RWD car with winter tyres?

supersimon126 says:

If there are people who seriously think there might be a chance for the AWD summer tires to win they shouldnt even be driving in the winter imo

StarkPvP says:

xDrive is not a 4WD system it is AWD and no they’re not the same.

Michał Brunka says:

BMW 4WD on witer will lose vs subaru awd

slspg says:

I’m Canadian so I drive 4WD with winter tires.

Kartboarder22G says:

Dumb, should be all season or no season, no one is dumb to run summer tires in the snow anyone who has tried realizes its a huge mistake and they correct it.

101bennyc says:

Why is this guy wearing his sisters tshirt

Swedishchef11 says:

Well, who the fuck thinks that 4×4 is going to help when braking?

Ruben Elfrink says:

Xdrive is just not the best

234tuust says:

My recipe for safer driving and more fun in winter season: a) have a top (or next to top) performance winter tires. Don’t get tempted by cheap price. Usually you get what you pay for. Read tire reviews, compare different tires to each other before your purchase. … and b) have a Subaru 😉

Goodman diad says:

Great Job guys. Next time compare both 4WD vehicles with different tires.

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