BMW Celebrates 25 Years of All-Wheel-Drive
Unveiled in 1985, the BMW 325iX was the first of its kind, combining the steering sharpness all BMW are famous for with better traction in difficult conditions. The model was only offered with one engine, a 2.5-liter six-cylinder petrol engine developing 171 hp (126 kW). Power was divided between the front and rear axles at a constant 37 to 63 split, favoring the rear.
The 90’s saw the arrival of more complicated electric controls, governing power distribution. BMW’s 5 Series was the first to implement the system that uses multi-plate clutches which vary the amount of power provided to each corner of the car.
The true test for the Bavarian engineers came in the form of the X5, the first dedicated SUV made by the company. Sophisticated on-board computes now govern the car's every action through standard systems such as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Automatic Differential Brake (ADB-X) and Hill Descent Control (HDC).
Over the last 25 years, the company has managed to steadily make a name for itself with cars that offer good handling coupled with traction in all driving conditions. As a result, one in four BMW cars sold around the world is now equipped with xDrive. Since a quarter of a century is such a long time, we would have like to see a special edition 325iX rally worthy car. BMW has had a lot of anniversaries this year, but so has Audi, who managed to bring the Quattro Concept to the 2010 Paris Auto Show.
❐ Check out the BMW Celebrates 25 Years of All-Wheel-Drive photo gallery