In Reply to: 16" Wheels and tires are better but... posted by doug on January 27, 2000 at 07:19:25:
First, you want to minimize the contact patch with the ground. A skinnier tire works much better in snow.
I have the Winter 210 Asimemetrico in that size and will not buy them again - while 100% better than stock, they do not inspire confidence like the Winter ICE did.
One little distinction -- you can't change the SIZE of the contact patch, just the SHAPE. (The size is determined mostly by the weight of the car.) A long, narrow contact patch will slice thru snow, while a short wide patch (like on our summer tires) is more likely to ride up onto the snow.
I have the Winter P210 Assimetricos on the 17" wheels on my 2000 540i/6, and the car has been wonderful in the snows we've had in New England. The combination of DSC and these tires have made my snow driving easy.
One thing to check if you should consider a Minus One conversion to 16" wheels -- I remember reading that the 540i sport models have very large brakes. Does anybody know if a 16" wheel clear them?