Yes, Winnepeg can be brutal in winter. In Calgary, it can get down to -30 or -40, but it usually warms up as we get a lot of Chinooks. The warm temps are nice, but is can make for some slushy road conditions.
I will not be putting on snows, as I try not to drive the CLK when the snow is that bad. I did drive it last year to see how it would do, and was pretty impressed.
The ASR works very well at all speeds, and will very quicky stop any rear end movement caused by too much throttle and not enough traction. I have found that it will automatically disengage the cruise control if the ASR kicks in. Shouldn't be using cruise in slippery weather but I wanted to see what effect the ASR would have.
I have found that the ASR is s bit slow to let the power come back on, whether it is slippery or not. Once it cuts back on the throttle, there can be a lag (seems like forever, but is maybe a second or two)
Overall, the car has no problem in winter. I just worry about the morons in the other cars/trucks that have no concept of how to drive in snow/ice/inclement weather. When it is bad out, I take a vehicle other than my CLK.
As for rear drive experience in winter, I have only had one vehicle that was not rear drive, so I guess I have quite a bit of experience.
If you are in snow/ice, GET SNOW TIRES. All season tires will not compare when it really gets slippery. If local laws allow, and conditions warrant,get studs too.
What I like about the rear drive is the ability to steer the car with the throttle. Like on a dry suface, only the threshholds are much lower. You will learn to use smooth inputs for all controls if you want to have control. Big, sudden moves are not rewarded (unless you have space like an open field and want to have some fun)
I learned control a vehicle when I was very young, much to young to have a driver s license. My dad took me out in the half ton truck (GMC with a 454)to the frozen and snowed over field (I grew up on a farm) where there was no danger of hitting any thing, and I would slide, spin, recover, not recover you name it. Sure makes you comfortable behind the wheel.
Years later I would go for the real thing in a racing school, but that's another story.
As far as I am concerned, before people are allowed a drivers license, they should have to complete a course on car control of some sort. I think there would be a lot less accidents due to panic situations.
Sorry, kind of got going there.
Didn't mean to ramble.
Best of luck through the winter.
[This message has been edited by trent (edited 11-08-2000).]