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      12-11-2010, 09:08 PM   #1
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275/295 combo better on 18" or 19" wheels

New to the forum--I've been doing a lot of searching and reading on the site so far, trying to not ask a question that's been asked before. I'll be taking delivery of an E90 M3 ZCP in the next couple of months. It will be a daily driver and also see maybe 4-5 trackdays a year. Plan on doing the Dinan stage III suspension. (Has anyone here done the stage III on a ZCP car yet?) I also plan on using the stock wheels for my winter setup, and upgrading the summers to a nice lightweight forged 18 or 19" wheel that looks good and can serve daily driver and track duty. Considering Volk G2, TE37 SL, Forgeline GA3R. I want to keep overall diameter as close to stock as possible, while maximizing rubber width, so would do 275/35-18 and 295/35-18, or 275/30-19 and 295/30-19.

So, getting to the questions:

The 19" staggered combo is what Dinan does on their signature M3, but I'm worried about the rubber-band, super-low profile 275/30 fronts on horrible Northeast roads. If I go the 18" route instead, will I lose some crispness and steering feel on the front end, especially since the ZCP comes with 19" wheels stock?

I notice most other people do 265s up front, despite this getting away from the stock overall diameter--is this because the 275s tramline, or because people have had clearance issues running 275s on the front? (According to Turner's website, they have run 275/35-18 as a square setup with no rubbing or modifications whatsoever.)

Thanks for any input
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      12-12-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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Well since nobody else wants to chime in I'll take a swing. Between 18's and 19's, I think it's a no-brainer to use 18's. If you select the right wheel, brake clearance on even the biggest brake kits isn't an issue and you have a much wider variety of tires to choose from, not to mention the taller sidewall and the benefits that go with it. I'm not somebody who thinks 19" wheels automatically look better than 18's though, in fact I think they look worse in many cases. For what you're going to actually USE the wheels for, daily driving and track, the taller sidewall and better tire choice plus better MOI leads me to think 18's are the way to go, but if you don't like the way they look you're going to change them eventually so pick something you like. I'd be very surprised if there's a noticeable difference in steering feel between 275 18's and 275 19's on the same wheel width and offset, especially considering you're actually going to have a slightly shorter sidewall than stock even with the 18's. Consider though that you're going to be putting significantly wider tires on the front of the car and that will "numb" the steering relative to stock by default even if you don't change the scrub radius or track width, simply because you've fitted a wider front tire, you may only get the "feel" you want from a 19, though I'd be surprised. That tricky "feel" thing can be measured but it's really totally subjective and if you don't like it it doesn't matter if it's better or worse, you'll just want to make it "feel" right.

Many people probably go with 265's because it's a sure thing fitment wise, and because some of the popular aftermarket "front" wheels come with offsets that are a little bit too numerically low. There are plenty of people tracking square 275/35-18 setups with 35mm or so offset 18x9.5's without any body modifications or rubbing issues, so front fitment of the 275's is probably no big deal with the right wheel. Offset in the back for the 295 is going to be important too, but there's tons of room if you move the tire in the right direction. You just have to be wary of the off-the-shelf offerings from some manufacturers because they are pushed out a little too far to fit the bigger tires. I've seen more than one application of really nice wheels with 295's or 305's on it that was rubbing in the rear, with 0.5" or more room to spare to the interior, because it's more "flush" and worth it to the owner to have it look that way.

Last edited by Richbot; 12-12-2010 at 09:00 PM.
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