I have been receiving a lot of questions about this, and the website has not gotten the winter packages up for the M3, so I am putting winter package info out here for everyone.
BMW Recommended winter setup is 235/40R18 with 18x8 wheels all around. This will fit, although it does not fill the fender well in the rear. The narrower tires are better in snow and ice.
The best winter wheel is the Sport Edition A7
They have a silver painted and clearcoat finish, and are a direct fit with no spacer. They will even use the original bolts. I have used this style for 3 winters. They will not win any car show trophies, but they have held up well, and they look fine on a BMW .
18x8 is $129. 18x9 is $134 for those who want to keep the staggered setup.
If you want a staggered setup, use 255/40R18 for the Rear. The only snow tire in 265/40 is a Pirelli that will not be here until late October/early November. A little narrower will help in snow anyway. Front can be 245 or 235/40R18.
Tires are pretty much all good. Most popular are the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25's and Dunlop Wintersport 3D's. The new Pilot Alpin PA3's look very good as well. The Pirellis and Continentals are the sportiest handling, but the least focused on snow, more of a cold-weather performance tire, but still much better than all-season tires in snow.
An example cost for a package would be around $1400 with non-staggered Blizzak LM-25's delivered. Add $200 to any package to have BMW original Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors (TPMS) installed. That will prevent the annoying "low tire pressure" light from coming on. (Unless you really have a flat
The website does not show the wheels yet, but I am always in the office Monday-Friday 10AM-6PM Eastern. 800.428.8355 x660
Our website should have most of this info up soon.
Please visit: http://www.tirerack.com/a.jsp?a=AW8&...nter/index.jsp
Edits for Winter 2013-2014:
It has been a few years, and there are some new tires coming out, so I will add a few notes that I hope will be helpful.
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
: The next tire in the Pilot Alpin line, will replace the PA3 in many sizes. Michelin has been on a hot streak lately, so while I have not driven the PA4 yet, I expect it will be good. 245/40R18 is here already. 245/35R19 announced, but might not arrive in time for winter. 255/35R19 is here. So this is really not a tire for staggered setups this year, but for 18" or 19" square setup it is a good option.
Dunlop Winter Sport 4D
: Successor to the Winter Sport 3D, but very limited size availability. 245/40R18 would be good for a square 18" setup. No 19" available this year. Dunlop has been making slow and steady updates to the Winter Sport line over the years, so consider this if the size makes sense for you.
Bridgestone Blizzak LM32
: These are the replacement for the LM60. Introduced last year for Aston Martin, they are moving to the broader market this year. Solid center rib for more precise steering feel vs the LM60. 235/40R18 and 255/40R18 are available. 255/35R19 H rated and 275/35R19 V rated is not ideal for staggering due to the speed rating mismatch, but would do in a pinch.
Staggered vs Square packages
: For winter, I generally recommend going square if possible. Narrower tires are better in the snow, and the tire companies do not always release their new tires in sizes that are friendly to staggering. So you might have a front size with the new model and the rear size with an old model, or vice versa. The sport edition A7, our go-to winter wheel, is no longer made in the 18x9, which knocks out Tire Rack's most affordable option for staggered 18" packages.
A common question is what to put on the stock 19" wheels for winter. Blizzak LM60 in 255/35R19 and 275/35R19 is the best option. This may be the last year for the LM60. Maybe we'll see the LM32 in matching speed ratings for these sizes next year. Pirelli lists part #'s for the Sottozero Serie II, but no info on planned production or delivery dates.
Nothing matches in the stock sizing, and narrow running snow tires can look stretched if going 235/35R19F and 255/35R19R. We ran into that with the LM60 that used to come in the narrower sizes.
Edits for Winter 2014/2015
Sport Edition A7
is available in both black and silver this year. It is still the go-to wheel for a practical winter package. They are no longer available staggered, just 18x8 @ $131 each.
Alternate 18" wheels
Some wheel snobs
think the A7 is too plain even for their winter wheel. There are a few alternatives that we have available.
The BBS CH can work, though not a ton of those are available right now. BBS has some in stock so we can order more if needed.
The BBS XA is new this year. They are not in stock in my warehouses as of this writing, but BBS has a few sets in North America. If you want them for your winter set I can order some. See picture below:
One loss to the alternate 18" lineup: the TR Motorsport MT1 is just about gone. No full sets left.
Snow tire rebates
Just about all snow tires on tirerack.com have a rebate
that runs through September 29th. So if you plan to get 4 snow tires for this winter, that's an extra $50 in your pocket.
Good news for those of you who need serious snow traction. The Blizzak WS80 is an upgrade to the already-excellent WS70. They are available in the 235/40R18 and 245/40R18 suitable for square setups on 18" wheels. These are for maximum snow/ice traction. They're H speed rated but they're not oriented toward sporty handling.
are always a challenge in snow tires. If you have staggered 18", nothing matches perfectly in 245/40R18 and 265/40R18. There is a Pirelli Sottozero Serie II that is a Porsche spec rear and Mercedes OE front. So that would be feasible even though it doesn't show on our site as an exact match.
235/40R18 and 255/40R18 you have several matching options from Bridgestone
, and Michelin
For 19", the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II
comes in the stock sizes.
The 255/35R19 and 275/35R19 Blizzak LM60 that had been popular is no longer around. The LM32 replaces it, but the fronts are H rated and the rears are V rated, so it doesn't show up as a matching set on the site. Mixing speed ratings is not ideal, but it beats running without snows in the winter.
Pirelli makes a 255/35R19 and 275/35R19 270 Sottozero Serie II. The rear is an Aston Martin OE tire, so again it doesn't show a matching pair.
tl;dr: If you want a staggered setup it's likely to be the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II this year. Their full list of sizes is here