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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > True cost of the SP and alternatives...seeking advice.



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      05-18-2005, 05:49 AM   #1
1stTbuyer
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True cost of the SP and alternatives...seeking advice.

I'm thinking on ordering a 325i E90 with the sports package, but I'm hesitent as I mull over some issues.
Overall, I'm amongst those who aren't thrilled with BMW's idea of getting rid even of a mini spare tire due to factory standard run-flats. Aside from a whole list of scenarios I could conceive, --many which I've experienced over the years,-- where a replacement is needed, runflat or no runflat, the upkeep cost of these tires is just astonishing.
I know I'm posting in a forum that favors looks over practicality for some, and marginal better performance at any cost for others. And I do agree that the 16" wheels don't do justice to the trim of the E90, and the better handling is worth the slightly rougher ride, yet it's only with the added wheals, tweaked suspension and bucket seats that I begin to consider shelling out the extra $1600 for the SP. However, the treadwear of the tires that come with the SP is a meager 140, which implies that even the fellow who got the package just for looks and not to corner will likely have to replace the set by the time the odometer trips it's fifth digit. A dealer replacement of those hard to find rft will set one back around $1200. If there would be no alternative, I'd almost forfeit the whole idea of purchasing a new bimmer if a modestly equipped $35K car becomes >$45K to take it up to 100Kmi, just on tires alone!
RFT may be a great idea for someone in high heals and a mini, or a pregnant woman, but for me, give me a jack, a wrench and another tire, and save me $900 each time I replace a set of tires. (And yes, I know of guys who wouldn't know from what side to hold a lug wrench, and perhaps there are executive boards, eg. at BMW, where, if someone where to show up late to a meeting with some grease under his nails and excuse his tardiness for having to replace a flat, others may snear at him and say, 'what?, no run flats?' RFT are for them too.)

So I would appreciate feedback on any of my thoughts going forward:
After burning through the OEM tires of the SP, I would just place an order from the tire rack for some Kuhmo E. 711/12 for under $400, and get 25-30Kmi from them. They're conventional tires of inferior performance to the original. Does placing such tires defeat the purpose of getting the sports package?
I've read that the E90's suspension was designed to account for the extra weight of the runflats. Will placing lighter tires cause a problem? Generally speaking, less unsprung weight is better, but in this case, will the lighter arrangement look like a yo-yo going down a bumpy road?
The SP comes with 225/45R17 on 17X8 front, and 255/40R17 on 17x8.5 rear. I can forsee myself at some point in the future just getting 225/45 all around. Seemingly it's the smallest width that still seats in an 8.5" rim according to different tire catalogs. This would allow me to put on chains in case of emergencies during my occasional weekends at the ski slopes, and perhaps (?) also rotate the tires to squeze a bit more miles out of them. Would the 225/45 on the 8.5" rim in the front cause steering problems?
If the above holds, then I would still have the option in the future to revert to the standard rfts of the 330i (225/45R17 x 4), despite their added cost, if say, I do end up with an expecting wife who also drives the car.
In the meanwhile, I'd use the space under the trunk's floor mat to pack a can of fix-a-flat and an electric pump for my regular driving around town. If I go on a longer trip, I'd also like to toss in a space saver spare in the trunk. Does anyone know of aftermarket kits for this. Presumably, those in the other rft-only cars must have gone through the same. Alternatively, did any year of the E46/E36 or M3 come with a donught that would fit on an E90?

pd/ BTW, I read some reviews of the Siena luxury edition that came with RFTs and no spare. They're not being as tolerant of Toyota as others are with BMW. "What? $650 for one replacement? What? It shouldn't be repaired? What? 3 days to get it delivered to a tire shop in my midsize city in the US? I bought a Toyota for it's dependency and low maintanance cost. Is this a joke? I should have gone with a Hyundai"
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      05-18-2005, 10:39 AM   #2
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Hehe wow that post was a little hard to follow.. maybe you can space it out a little better I really don't know if anyone knows for sure yet if going with non-run flat tires will affect the car at all... I haven't seen anyone go with aftermarket wheels/tires yet, but I'm sure some will soon.

As far as going with Kumho tires, I always believed that tires are one of the most important, if not the most important component of suspension and handling. It's the point of contact your car has with the road... so I rarely spare any expense when getting tires. High performance tires are expensive but I just try to get ones that have the best treadwear rating (and all of them have better treadwear than the stock sport package tires ). So my opinion is that yes, getting crappy tires will defeat the purpose of having the better handling suspension of the sports package.
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      05-18-2005, 01:35 PM   #3
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1stTBuyer,

I think this is a really thoughtful post that raises a lot of valid real-world issues. I'm concerned about the cost/convenience issues you raise with the run-flats, as well. The supposed benefits of run-flats just don't make up for the cost and flexibility of regular tires in my opinion. I'm also interested in how possible it it s to convert at replacement time. We hear that the suspension has been engineered for run flats but I wonder how much will really be lost with regular tires. We'll probably only know this after owners experiment and begin to report on their experiences.
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      05-18-2005, 04:09 PM   #4
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I think most people would agree that buying a BMW is buying a car on the edge of technology. Most often than not, being on the edge of technology costs a lot of money.

As more run-flat tires are made and as the production costs go down...then you'll eventually see more and more cars equipped with run-flats. Just like power windows slowly started becoming the norm...so will DVD navigation and run-flats.

If you are not ready to pay for being on the edge of technology, then maybe you should look at some alternatives...the e46 is quite a bargain right now...and you won't be shoved, kicking and screaming, into using run-flats.

I have read that the e90's suspension has been calibrated for run-flats and you are definitely going to suffer either ride-wise or performance-wise if swapped out with standard tires. I have a feeling less knowledgable BMW buyers will be forced to make a tough decision at the tire store when it's time to replace them and they are unaware of the run-flats.

But then again, daddy's little girl, which seem to make up 60% of BMW driver's out here will like the run-flats because they won't have to get down and dirty to change the tire.
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      05-18-2005, 05:52 PM   #5
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The title is so true....

To get winter tires with a set of rims will run roughly $1500 ($184 tires and $180 rims) from Tire Rack (I called today). To mount and balance the tires cost approx. $80-100 a pop. That $200/year. Also with the reduced treadwear, it adds up.

Sure, getting a BMW, your getting cutting edge technology. But I think he just wanted to let others know that the Sports Package is not just another $1400.

BTW, for those interested in getting All-seasons for the Sports Package, there no plans currently for all-seasons run flats in the sports package tire configuration.
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      05-18-2005, 07:37 PM   #6
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I thought I might actually try to give some advice this time. What you could do is try to find someone who bought a 330i without the sports package (17" wheels and all-season tires) that wants to sell their set because they want to get aftermarket stuff. It's possible such a person might exist in the next couple of months. Keep checking ebay and other forums.

From a glance at carsdirect.com...the 330i and 325i w/ sports package have the same wheel and tire sizes. But the 330i w/o sports package has all-season run-flats. This might be a viable option, assuming the all-seasons have better treadwear.

Maybe, you might be able to talk the dealer into trading your performance tires with the standard 330i tires...probably not though. Just thought I'd put it out there.

drnittany, $180 for a winter wheel, that seems expensive...what kind of rims are those? BMW? You can probably find it cheaper.
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      05-18-2005, 07:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabe
I thought I might actually try to give some advice this time. What you could do is try to find someone who bought a 330i without the sports package (17" wheels and all-season tires) that wants to sell their set because they want to get aftermarket stuff. It's possible such a person might exist in the next couple of months. Keep checking ebay and other forums.

drnittany, $180 for a winter wheel, that seems expensive...what kind of rims are those? BMW? You can probably find it cheaper.
Good advice wannabe... there will be tons of OEM wheels for sale soon. Also, for $180 he must be looking at alloy wheels on tirerack. Just get a set of steel wheels, they are like less than $100 each.
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      05-18-2005, 09:46 PM   #8
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I had called Tire Rack and just asked how much would a set of winter tires and rims cost. They quoted me $184 for Bridgestones and estimated the wheels to be around $180. Replacing the wheels with steel would be cheaper, but why would you get cheapin the wheels.

As for swapping with the 330i wheels, that is a good idea. Is there a problem though, because the 325i with sport has the same fronts 225/45R-17, but the backs are 255/40R-17. I would love to get All-seasons instead to decrease the hassel of mounting them twice a year.
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      05-19-2005, 07:00 PM   #9
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I live in NJ and for the last four winters (lots of snow) I got around on summer only tires. If the snow is that deep your tires are not going to help, since the ground clearence is so low on the e90. You are making a big deal out of nothing IMO. If you are worried wait a few months and get a xi and you do a lot better in the snow.
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