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Re: 16" vs 17" Wheels (archive)

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Posted by ags on August 11, 1999 at 18:59:59:

In Reply to: Re: 16" vs 17" Wheels posted by Brad D on August 11, 1999 at 18:17:17:

: : I am driving a '99 528IA with the standard 16" wheels and Continental tires. I am considering getting a set of 17" wheels and tires. I have been told that the car will handle much better with the 17's, they look better and I can use the present 16's for snow tires.

: : I like the way the car rides now; a very nice compromise between handling and a smooth, tight ride. How will the 17" wheel change that?

: : Thanks in advance.

: : Allen

: I have the full MY99 Sport package on my 540iA, which also has the M-Technic suspension. I can't tell you if it really handles better, but it is definately tighter. I do feel a lot more of the road, which isn't always good. There are certain freeway sections of my daily commute where my legs literally are jiggling due to extremly slight ripples in the concrete freeway (I never even noticed them while in other cars). I don't know how much of this is due to the tires and how much due to the suspension. Note that the I5 is pothole free, and in very good shape as far a freeways go...

: In addition, on some concrete freeways which have "rain grooves" carved into them, I find that the car is sometimes difficult to keep in a straight line, as the large wheels/tires like to follow the grooves, and the grooves tend to wander left and right.

: I drove about 1000 miles on the autobahn in Germany (did a European Delivery), and the car basically was rock solid there and just stayed in a straight line. OTOH, all the autobahns are of asphalt, so there are no grooves for the large tires to follow.

: I have driven the length Interstate 5 in California, and although you do feel more of the road in your seat bottom, it wasn't tiresome. I think I just got unlucky and ended up having the worst stretch of the I5 (at least for my car) being on my daily commute near home!

: My recommendation is to think _very_ carefully about the roads that you drive every day, and how rough they are.

: Brad D

I can't comment on the wheels/tires size, but I can second what the prior poster said -- I have a '00 528iT with the premium (not sport) package. I think the ride and handling are terrific -- tight with good road feel, highway bumps and potholes here in NYC get absorbed with virtually no bonce or reverberation. I test drove a sport suspension and found it a little rough around here, and indeed the dealer recommended against it for the driving conditions out here. ...There is a lot of learning on tire sizes in the archives on this board. My inclination is that if you are not changing any of the suspension settings, leave the size alone and if anything go for stickier tires in the 16" range (my '00 came with Michelins). BMW has I am sure tried to optimize the suspension settings for the particular wheel sizes specified.

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