BMW Winter Driving Tip: Eco Pro On, Coasting Off

BMW Eco Pro mode menu 6 photos
Photo: Softpedia forum
BMW Driving Experience Control buttonsBMW rev counterBMW Settings - Driving ModeBMW Configure Eco Pro menuBMW Eco Pro mode menu
Driving in sub-zero temperatures can be a bit of a nightmare. For BMW owners, rear-wheel-drive isn’t exactly the best idea there is, nor is xDrive. Case in point: models such as the X5 don’t have something labeled Winter Mode. Fret not, though, because there is a solution to get around this somewhat worrying subject.
Modern BMWs come with a flurry of driving modes. These include Comfort, Sport, and the least fun mode of them all, Eco Pro. The thing is, Eco Pro is the preferred mode for winter driving. There are a couple of reasons for that.

As with every other economical driving mode, BMW’s Eco Pro changes how the 8-speed automatic transmission shifts, all for fuel economy’s sake. Then there’s the changes brought to the vehicle’s throttle mapping, the reason why the loud pedal feels numb and acceleration seems somewhat un-BMW-ish.

BMWs these days are all about turbocharging, and this spells trouble for winter driving. The low-end torque produced by this type of forced induction is yet another pitfall of driving a BMW in the winter, chiefly because turbocharged engines break traction noticeably easier than a naturally aspirated powerplant. Happily, however, Eco Pro limits torque delivery.

Using Eco Pro to reduce wheel spin is but the start.

The second lesser known trick to driving a BMW in the cold season is turning off the coasting function. Often referred to as freewheeling, coasting means disengaging the drive shaft whenever it begins to turn more rapidly than the engine. In the case of a manual transmission, coasting means keeping the clutch pedal pressed or shifting into neutral while the car is moving.

Automatic transmissions, meanwhile, are gifted with something called a freewheel mechanism. The ZF-developed 8HP has one of those and, as expected, it can be controlled via the vehicle’s iDrive system. To get to the respective menu, go to Menu, then go through Settings - Driving Mode - Eco Pro - Configure Eco Pro - Coasting. Now turn the coasting function off.

“Wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean less fuel efficiency than normal?”

It does, chiefly because regenerative braking takes more effort from the car’s part. But if you want your BMW to be easy to drive in wintery conditions, the Eco Pro driving mode’s coasting function needs to be turned off. As you might have guessed by now, engine braking is the name of the game here.

Here's a quick recap: Eco Pro on, Coasting off. That's all.
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Editor's note: For more information on winter driving, this guide is meant for you.

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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