Increasingly cold and frosty winters have made car buyers keen to invest in the security of all-wheel drive – and car makers have been happy to cater to this trend.
Due to the demands of the US market, the first model to arrive is a 2.0-litre petrol, but the technology will soon be rolled out across the range.
This is a big step for a brand that’s revered for its thrilling rear-drive handling, so for the 4WD 3 Series’ first test, we decided to look at the different 4x4 systems on the market and examine in detail how they work on and off-road.
There’s no overall winner of this test, as our cross-section of models is so different. However, these cars demonstrate that there’s an all-wheel-drive model to suit every need.
For reassuring on-road handling, the new BMW 320i xDrive is excellent, and it doesn’t compromise on BMW’s ultimate driving machine philosophy. If you’re more adventurous, the Audi A6 Allroad is a very comfortable cruiser that can also handle light off-road work. This mix of skills is taken a step further by the Subaru XV, but its deficiencies in other areas are a lot to live with.
The Ford Ranger will take any off-road punishment thrown at it, and at the other end of the spectrum, the Lexus RX 450h is a technology pioneer offering superb comfort and low running costs – at a high purchase price.