"All wheel drive is overrated. A good set of snow tires, still required on an all wheel dirve, and a winter driving course is money better spent"
My wife and I have taken winter driving courses and I agree that winter tires are better than all season tire.
Having said that, she is driving the 325xi with all season tire, the xi does help, it kicks in when it senses the wheel is slipping and needless to say, even with all wheel drive or just with winter tires, you drive according to the road condition.
My winter car is a 2005 matrix and it has Fusion HR1, all season tire and it is rather good in snow
From my experience, I prefer the Xi and considering that SSKI already has the 2005 BMW X3, thats the reason i suggested that he goes for the Xi model.
then again.. buy what you want and what you can afford