If you live some place where it gets cold and snows, you should get winter tires, a thing we’ve said until we’re blue in the face. How many winter tires, though? The answer is not, “Just two for the drive axle, because I want the tires powering the car to have grip.” No, this is a bad solution.
British website Tyre Reviews went to a Goodyear test facility inside the Arctic Circle with a front-wheel drive BMW X1 to find out just how bad. They put the car through a number of tests—up a hill, basic turning on a curve—and you won’t be surprised to find that with any action that requires grip on all four tires the car quickly spins out of control, even at low speeds.
Here’s the car losing it after a simulated lane change:
The front wheels are trying their damndest to hold things together, but the rear wheels just can’t hold up their end of the bargain. It might even be worse to have two winter tires than no winter tires at all, since in the latter situation the lack of grip will become immediately apparent, but with two winters up front you will have better grip in straight lines, giving you a false set of confidence.
The presenter here frankly just can’t believe anyone would consider doing this, and is very disappointed.