2009 BMW 328i

Germans love to complain about lazy Americans who can't be bothered to put proper winter tires on their cars, and here we have a German sport sedan running around in the Detroit press fleet in January with high-performance summer tires, which after a fresh, five-inch snowfall felt like racing slicks that had been greased with lard.

Still, I thought, maybe I can nurse this thing to the office, as it's only a couple miles through Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, I didn't make it out of the parking lot before the BMW's inability to steer or go made me hang up that crazy notion. I called Phil Floraday and he gave me a lift in his Chevy Colorado 4x4.

The next day I had to return the BMW to the airport, and a day-long light snow had left the freeway slushy and slick. It was a slow, white-knuckle ride across I-94, getting passed right and left, but I made it there without incident and finally skated into a parking spot an hour after leaving Ann Arbor-which is twice as long as usual.

I will say that when you're on hyper alert for the first sign of lost traction, there's probably no car that better communicates what's going on than the 3-series. But, as Marc Noordeloos notes, there are plenty of high-performance winter tires available, and if your 3-series is equipped with the sport package, and its staggered, high-performance tires, do yourself a favor and get some.

Joe Lorio, Senior Editor

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