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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > UK > UK Technical Forum > 16", 17" or 18" for winter wheels on the E90



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      06-30-2012, 08:30 AM   #1
shortie
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16", 17" or 18" for winter wheels on the E90

Right, time has come to start looking for bargains for winter wheels. I was just going to get a second set of MV3's but i cant decide now.

When it comes to a winter set up, does wheel size v's tyre wall depth make any difference at all. Ignoring what looks better or the cost differences, would a high profile tyre on a 16" alloy perform any better than a low profile tyre on an 18" alloy?
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      06-30-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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high profile tyres could be cheaper with the added bonus that there would be less risk of kerbing the 16in alloys
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      06-30-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John320d View Post
high profile tyres could be cheaper with the added bonus that there would be less risk of kerbing the 16in alloys
Yes, definitely 2 bonuses, but, is there any difference in winter performance?
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      06-30-2012, 09:33 AM   #4
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My choice is 17'' i have 225/45 winter tyres ready and waiting ,just need to buy 17'' rims .
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      06-30-2012, 11:25 AM   #5
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Winter Wheels

I understand that 'narrower' winter tyres perform better on snow/ice. Since you have a 320, 16 in wheels will fit and since you are not too worried about looks that's what I'd go for.

There's a guy called Olli who's a real expert on this on the bmwland forum.

Cheers

David
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      06-30-2012, 12:50 PM   #6
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hi shortie, please explain what you mean by winter performance. IMO the size of alloy wheel is immaterial, the important thing is the tyre quality.
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      06-30-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John320d View Post
hi shortie, please explain what you mean by winter performance. IMO the size of alloy wheel is immaterial, the important thing is the tyre quality.
Im talking about traction (should have used that word first off). RWD auto struggled to get off the drive in the snow and it was ever so skitty on ice. Other than the BMW i only have a motorbike so i need to make sure that if the snow comes down i can still get to work. MY mondeo ST coped alright in the snow so i want to know Is there a difference in traction performance between a high profile and low profile winter tyre?
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      06-30-2012, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number8 View Post
I understand that 'narrower' winter tyres perform better on snow/ice. Since you have a 320, 16 in wheels will fit and since you are not too worried about looks that's what I'd go for.

There's a guy called Olli who's a real expert on this on the bmwland forum.

Cheers

David
So better off avoiding a staggered set up?
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      06-30-2012, 05:17 PM   #9
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i got 225/45/r17 all round on bmw oem 17's. on a 335d/i this is the smallest size u can go. Aftermarket 17's wont fit, the oem ones have an accomodating lip. This is the cheapest setup all round but i do miss my 19's for the looks. But if ur cars a workhorse like mine then its money well spent. even if ur winters dont save u in ice, its better curbing them than ur summer rims
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      07-01-2012, 02:30 AM   #10
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I bought some standard 16" E90 SE alloys off ebay for a song and put some Continental winter tyres on. Car grips really well even in damp conditions and rides like a dream and the tyres are very cheap after buying rubber for my summer wheels. On the slightly negative side they don't look too cool but the car looks even better when the summers go back on.
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      07-01-2012, 06:39 AM   #11
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I bought the BMW 17" winter wheel set for my 330d ... I run 19" 313M's normally and was worried the 17" would look feeble - but wanted the best for winter performance.

I had heard 18" winters mean the profile being lower creates a harder tyre and less traction ... so opted for the 17" as recommended by BMW (who didn't recommend an 18" option - only MV3's for the M3). The 17" version look absolutely fine on my E92 .... and were 500 cheaper for the set than 18" ones.

I have used the 17" wheels once in snow where even 4x4's were sliding around. I could not believe the difference and am totally sold on them. They are insurance in a way as my normal tyres have proved useless on snow like many other BMW owners have found !

FWIW the tyres are Bridgestone Blizzaks ... as supplied with the wheels by BMW.
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      07-01-2012, 06:56 AM   #12
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I've run winters for 3 years now, on 18in MV3 reps, non staggered 8J all round.

Wheel diameter makes no real difference to winter grip obviously.

Wheel WIDTH does, narrow will better in deep snow and slush, but we live in the UK not Finland.

But 8J with 225/40/18 are just awesome in snow. I've been fine, hill starts, braking hard etc, whilst quattros, x5's and range rovers have been sliding all over the place.

Small dia wheels are just a cost saver to buy and cheaper if damaged, and in Europe its the done thing to have steelys on in the winter, but here they look shite for 5 months of the year and you have to explain all the time.

mine just looks standard all year round.

The 225 is easily available, but the 255 widths are hard to get if you stay staggered.

vredestein wintrac extreme BTW.
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      07-01-2012, 08:08 AM   #13
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Funnily enough I was looking into it this week, The BMW 17" multi spoke rims are tempting, I just wonder if I can order them with non RFTs?

As I may well be visiting the local dealer to have my suspected cracked MV3 looked at this week, I may well enquire ;-)
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      07-01-2012, 08:35 AM   #14
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Would different BMW oem alloys class as a mod?
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      07-01-2012, 05:01 PM   #15
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Strictly, yes, if they're not the same as the wheels it left the factory with.

However, if they're the same size or smaller than your original alloys, I think any insurer wouldn't bat an eyelid (if they even noticed ).
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      07-01-2012, 05:04 PM   #16
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FWIW Admiral told me they had to be BMW alloys / kit to comply with their insurance in terms of keeping it standard .... another make would be a mod and cost me.
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      07-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #17
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Narrower winters do make sense on snow or flooded roads particularly and the cost savings in getting tyres for the smaller diameter rims can be considerable. I picked up a set of 16" type 32 alloys fitted with Dunlop rfts which are virtually untouched for 650 from ebay and since these are the exact combo listed for my 320d on the BMW website at 1350 I think I did pretty well. I priced up 17" and 18" wheels and tyres and these were a shed load more but if you have a 330D as I may have one day then you have to bite the bullet and go bigger.
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      07-03-2012, 11:35 AM   #18
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Simple but long answer

There's a fairly simple answer to your question:

1. Insurance companies don't like non-standard wheels, so best to stay standard

2. Wider wheels on the back in a staggered set-up are not particularly beneficial in Winter, when you're not pushing the limits on dry roads, and are worse in snow and ice, where more width = less downforce psi

3. 18" winter tyres are harder to find and more expensive to buy. 18" in staggered sizes makes it even more complex to find a stockist with the appropriate sizes. Scarcity =

4. Too small rim sizes won't clear the brakes

In conclusion, buy the standard, non-staggered SE model wheels for whatever BMW car you've got.

This has several advantages:

There're lots of them on the used market....(they're usually cheaper on Pistoheads than Ebay, for some reason)
They look good
They fit optically and mechanically
They are classified as standard wheels by insurance companies
They are easy to resell when you change cars
They're easy to buy tyres for, with a large brand selection
The width gives optimum snow, ice, cold/wet road performance
The extra sidewall depth helps when potholes open up in winter
You can often get almost new units as car owners upgrade their wheels
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      07-03-2012, 12:03 PM   #19
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Cheers for all the advice guys, really appreciated
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      07-04-2012, 08:21 AM   #20
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I've decided to stick with 18" staggered for winter wheels and tyres for my e90. Bought the wheels (style 189s) but yet to buy the tyres.

I used 16" winter wheels/tyres on my previous car (Z4) in place of my usual 18" staggered setup (same sizes as e9x) and found them adequate. Fantastic in the snow but only average in dry/cold conditions: far easier to get the ESP/TC flashing merrily but I put that down to 225 rear instead of the usual 255. I'm staying with 18" this time as in all honesty it's rare that I have to actually drive in snow, but the extra grip from the more appropriate rubber compound will be more useful in the sub-7deg/cold/dry but not snowy conditions. Plus they look better lol.


Blatant plug, but I've got bmw style-104's (standard Z4 wheels) with winter tyres fitted still to sell....
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      07-04-2012, 08:53 AM   #21
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What's the smallest size wheel that will fit over the E90 330i's discs?
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      07-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #22
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Some seem to be confusing wheel WIDTH with wheel DIAMETER here.

The 17" SE wheels or similar are 8J width, this is the same as the 18" staggered front wheel. Even the rear staggered 18" wheel is only 8.5J.

225 is the standard tyre width for 8J rim width on an 16, 17 or 18 or 19 inch rim, so you won't have narrower tyres by getting a smaller dia rim.

I use 18" 8J MV3 reps with 225/40/18 all round, just as easy to get as the 225/45/17 and only a few quid more.

225 is ample in winter, even with 400bhp
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