I have a question that is primarily related to wheels and tires, but I'm posting here rather in the w/t forum because I really would primarily like feedback from those experienced with the E9x chassis in road race type situations.
My thoughts are this - I have an '09 335i w/ M-sport suspension and original 19" staggered Style 230 wheels w/ dealer-purchased RFTs. I love the car. However... I recently purchased some Style 157s (which are 17x8s and about 20 lbs. apiece) and mounted some Craigslist Blizzaks on them, and have actually logged a decent amount of miles on the car in the past week. I've been running 34/36 PSI in them.
My impressions are that the ride is significantly improved, in mild street driving handling feel is not significantly degraded other than the expected slight loss of crispness just due to the Blizzaks, and also the expected increase in road noise for the same reason - although my sensitivity may be dulled by years of driving inferior cars
I have obviously not been testing ultimate cornering or handling in transitions on Blizzaks, nor have I been racing the car...
However my question is this. If I were to turn this car into a true daily driver slash long distance road trip car, I could care less about the *appearance* of the wheel/tire package so long as it is not particularly bad. It does look fantastic with the 230s but I wonder if I am actually getting a real handling benefit from the 19" package, or if that is strictly one of those "for appearance only" things. It seems to me from skimming that people racing these cars often use 18" wheels and sometime even 17".
If I were to go to something like a 18" D-force square setup for summer wheels/tires whenever the RFTs wear out, would I get, assuming good quality summer tires, the same or better handling than I would with the 19s?
What about 17" summer tires? Is that even an option? (would a D-force fit a 335i? **********s says "I don't think so.")
Basically where I'm at now is I'm thinking that if I were to go with something with a lighter rotating/unsprung weight and thicker sidewall I might love the car even more, and at the same time save money on replacement tires (possibly - if I were to keep the car long enough to go through a couple sets of tires to offset the cost of more wheels.) Possible, or am I smoking the crack? If I were to pursue this option what would you think I should go with? D-force? K-1? Search out another set of 157s? What about tires, Michelin PSS? (for street use and a very occasional possible DE)
The reason for the title of this post is that I'm definitely a function over form guy, or really, what is beautiful to me is something that looks good but more importantly functions at the highest level. So within reason (no ultra-lightweight disposa-wheels that you expect to crack after one season please) what I think would be the best wheel/tire setup *for me* would be a wheel that would not be out of place at the track, with good high performance street tires on them.
This isn't an urgent need type post; I don't anticipate it becoming relevant until maybe spring after next. I just have ideas kicking around in my head...
thanks for any opinions or experiences!