Volkswagen Passat Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the market for new wheels and tires and am debating between 16"x7 or 17"x7.5 or 8 wheels. I'm trying to objectively determine which will give me better handling and performance while meeting certain real-world objectives and, here's the crucial point: I am trying to take "appearance" out of the equation and focus on functionality. I'd love some input on my thought process which, may be flawed. Here goes: If I get BBS RX wheels (19.5 lbs) at 16x7 with 205 tires, I am figuring a lighter configuration than the same wheel at 17" with 225 tires. I plan to buy good performance summer tires. Now I figure, the lower weight should give me better acceleration and braking. I'm also figuring, possibly incorrectly, that some aspects of handling should be better due to the lower mass. What the 17" should give me is better traction due to bigger tire contact area and, quicker transient/steering response due to the lower profile sidewalls. I spend about half my time in Manhattan trying to navigate car-size potholes and the other half in the country, sometimes on dirt roads. Functionally speaking, do you think the 16's will be a better bet for these conditions. What about the handling of 16" vs 17"? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,116 Posts
You can quite comfortably put 225mm tires on 7" wheels. P.S., contact area on wider tires is not bigger, just differently shaped, and narrower tires generally give better steering response at the cost of lateral G's. With good tires and proper air pressure you're not going to be hurt by the taller sidewalls. Get the 16s.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,274 Posts
You also live in NYC? I agree with Mac, get the 16's. I had 17's on my car for a bit, but as I mentioned in another thread, I got tired of bubbling a sidewall every time I hit a pothole. Went to 16's, and never looked back. FWIW, you can mount 225's on 16's if you want that extra lateral grip.

Now, as far as car control goes...I don't know about Mac, but my experience is as follows: when I took the car to Watkins Glen, Lime Rock and Pocono last year, I ran on 16x7.5 rims with 225/50-16 tires. Grip was fine, but the one thing I noticed was that when you really load the car up with lateral G's, it tends to get a bit squirrelly...that was particularly noticeable in Turn 1 at Pocono, when you're going 95-100 MPH. :shock: I then went to NHIS in October, and Justin (JROO-VW) was kind enough to lend me his 17x8.5 rims with 235/40-17 tires. The difference (to me) was night and day -- the reduction in sidewall height made for a rock-solid feel in the turns, I never felt like the car was going to get away from me.

Hope that helps...

Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,116 Posts
How much pressure were you running in those 16s? Mine on the Subaru are a *little* squirly, and they were especially so before I figured out how much air they needed, but they're on 6.5" wheels. The 225/50/16's I had mounted on 16x8" wheels were absolutely rock solid when nicely aired up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I guess I am leaning towards the 16's. Any tire suggestions for a good balance between noise, tread life, wet and dry traction, summer only? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,202 Posts
znalg said:
I guess I am leaning towards the 16's. Any tire suggestions for a good balance between noise, tread life, wet and dry traction, summer only? Thanks.
16" Dunlop SP9000s! :bow:
But mine are 205/55-16 :oops: :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,274 Posts
Macabre said:
How much pressure were you running in those 16s?
About 41-42 lbs cold (max allowed is 44 lbs). Then again, the tires I have on have relatively soft sidewalls to begin with: Toyo FZ-4's.

znalg said:
I guess I am leaning towards the 16's. Any tire suggestions for a good balance between noise, tread life, wet and dry traction, summer only? Thanks.
I just took a quick look on the Tire Rack site, and in both 205/55-16 and 225/50-16, the Kumho KH11 is getting really good ratings, as well as being the best "bang-for-the-buck" tire in the Grand Touring category, which I assume is appropriate if you're not going to be taking corners like Mario Andretti all the time... ;)

Tire Rack link: Kumho KH11

Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,116 Posts
AJChenMPH said:
Macabre said:
How much pressure were you running in those 16s?
About 41-42 lbs cold (max allowed is 44 lbs). Then again, the tires I have on have relatively soft sidewalls to begin with: Toyo FZ-4's.
What tires were on the 17s you were comparing to?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
well i also live and drive in NYC all the time... as long as you're careful 17s are fine.

i wouldn't do 18s... since they would be too extreme. 17s give a nice compromise for handling... 18s great for looks... 16s great for daily driving.

I love my Michelin Pilot Sport A/S and would recommend them to anyone as a daily driver and for longer trips... comfortable and nice thread pattern for all types of weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
16's.
Cheaper to buy.
More forgiving to abrupt/excessive steering inputs.
More rim protection.
More likely to reach optimum operating temp on passat.
Less unsprung weight.
Grassroots Racing had a great article a few yrs back on the tendency to put wide flat rubber on street cars.
Informative and well written.
Several Showroom Stock racers drive better on the track with higher aspect ratios than their production siblings.
There are plenty of stiff 50 and 55 series tires to choose from.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Great. It is done. I ordered 16" BBS RX wheels and 225/50ZR-16 Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3's. They've already been delivered and, I will pick them up tomorrow! Thank you everybody for your advice and thoughts. And, thanks to Clay at Tirerack. I hope to have some good reports within a few days...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
ya keep us posted. im very interested in your input on your new 16's and tires.

i have the stock glx 16's on my ride with the horrible continental touring on them.

i am definatly in the market for some 225 50's 16's/

Does anyone know what the exact size is for the 2003 glx 16 rims are? so i can better determine what tires to go with?

thanks a bunch B5'rs :)

Ganx14
2003 glx v6 30v
:bow: :weirdo: :crazy: :bow:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
No Pics taken yet but, it's a beautiful setup. My VW service adviser wanted to steal them. I've only got about 150 miles on them so far so, not that much experience. But, they are quiet, look great, smooth, rock solid in terms of steering response and on center stability. They do seem to track road imperfections a bit but, not enough to be annoying. Now I look forward to tightening up and lowering the suspension. I'm considering coil-overs but, don't know how much that will toughen up the ride. Also thinking of a rear anti-roll bar and tie-rods. As far as pics, I actually don't know how to post pics on this site yet. Anyway, I feel pretty good about the 16" wheels instead of larger ones. I don't sweat the potholes in NYC and I figure, if I get coilovers, the ride may be a bit smoother with the smaller wheels/higher profile tires. They do look great. It makes me wonder how much of the current trend towards 18-21+ inch wheels is about style over function?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Sorry, no pics. I can safely say the wheels look a lot nicer on the car than on the Tirerack web site. I'm still happy with the setup. I probably could have gone with the 17"'s as well but, I really don't worry much about potholes, curbs, etc. It's a good every day rig. Still looking forward to the suspension changes and chip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,741 Posts
AJChenMPH said:
Macabre said:
What tires were on the 17s you were comparing to?
Damn, sorry -- only saw this just now.

Yoko ES100's in 235/40-17.

Andy
Run short 16's if you want a balance of both. :) 215/45/16 Falken Azenis would fit nicely.

Edit: er, sorry, that was a hijack meant for Andy. Don't even consider 215/45/16's for a normal street car. :p
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top