Just posted this in xi section but think it applies here to:
- I bought a used set of 162s for summer from a forum member. Running Conti DWS on those. They have original TPMS sensors and all is well
- Original wheels are now on winter duty with General Altimax Arctic. These are cheap, great in the snow, but a little soft (OK - really soft). Unless you get "high performance winter tires" you will have a soft feel, since tread blocks are deep and squishy, and the side-walls on the 16's are also rather tall for a car of this weight.
- For track use I have a set of Kosei's w/ RE11s, no TPMS.
- My next winter tire will likely be the Continental ExtremeWinterContact. Gets good reviews and you can get a set for ~450 mounted.
- For my wife I bought a set of used winters of 16" OEM wheels. That was a great deal. Set cost <$500, and tires were essentially new. That was a set of runflat Dunlops M3s, I think. Those were decent tires, but wore quickly.
Few more thoughts:
As you can tell I don't like runflats. I carry the $30 "slime" kit in the trunk, and hope that when I do get my first flat in this car (currently at 84k) it will be like the flats I had in my previous cars (i.e. screw/nail), since those leak so slowly that I just inflate them, drive to Tire Source, and get it patched. (shameless plug for a great store - no affiliation)
My winter tire need: I live in the mountains around Lyons, CO at ~6700", and we're on a road that gets plowed later than the main roads. We just had ~15" or so of heavy snow (for CO standards) and I had no problem at all with getting out/in driveway. Driveway is pretty steep (15-20 degrees). I also switch mindset when the winters go on - I don't look for "sporty" cornering anymore. If I want to go to the track to get a fix, I'll pull out the RE11s, but in the winter the car is just a fantastic bit of engineering that is used to get me around safely and reliably.
If you're tempted to forgo winters due to cost, consider what you would pay for your deductible when you slide into something due to insufficient traction.
Finally, if you want to go brand new and relatively cheap, a friend who bought a 328xi went with the "cheap" TireRack kit which runs about $1100 by the time you have sensors etc, and she's happy with it.
One more thought that applies to this post - if you have an xi, IMO there is no reason to get a beater for the winter IF you are willing to get snow tires. The xi with proper snows will guarantee that a) you're more likely to get there than with the beater for which you also have to buy snow tires, b) you'll be less stressed when you get there b/c you're not driving a car that is about to self-destruct, c) less storage (i.e. you can get a track car to put in the space that the beater would have taken up), d) you get to enjoy the car year round. That equation changes a bit if you have RWD only, but only if you are going to get hammered w/ snow. Point of comparison - my wife had a Jeep Rubicon w/ decent "offroading" tires. That car did less well in snow up to 18" than the 328xi w/ Dunlop M3s or Altimax Arctics. The Rubi w/ snows would have been a beast, but never had them.
Last edited by nomile; 10-29-2011 at 10:29 AM.