E320 Tire Question

I'm considering ordering a 2004 E320 4Matic with the Airmatic suspension. In order to get that suspension I'll need to order the Appearance Package,
which means that the car will come with 17 inch wheels and 245/45 W rated low profile tires.
I've assumed that I'll want to switch tires for winter driving.
I understand that in order for the car to function properly, the rolling diameter, i.e., the diameter of the wheel plus tire, needs to remain constant.
That means that I'll need smaller wheels to go with snow tires that would not be expected to be low profile or, if such a thing exists, low profile snow tires. I'd be surprised if low profile snow tires performed as well as the traditional kind since tall and skinny tends to work best as a shape for snow tires.
At any rate, I'd appreciate hearing from others who have faced this situation and what you've done in response.
-- Rich
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Since you're thoughtfully specifying this car, you should inquire exactly HOW this 4-matic actually works. A friend owns a ML and found its AWD to be OK for city street slush but poor in deep snow. His ML's AWD / traction control simply brakes a spinning wheel. So his ML just dug itself deeper and deeper into deep snow as the wheels alternated their spinning. He had to winch it out - needless to say he's no longer impressed with the ML and will soon replace it.
The car you describe is pretty complicated - lots to go wrong - so consider if all this "stuff" is essential to your application.
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4 Matic works pretty well. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are stuck in snow you will need to disable ESP in order to get better traction. I don't know if this is an option on the ML.
h
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If you want to see about winter tires for this car, go to www.tirerack.com, search for various brands of winter tires in 245/45-17 size, then go read the surveys and reviews for each tire they have. People input their driving experiences there, and winter tires are well covered. 16 and 17" wheels are very common now so you should be able to find good winter tires in both sizes.
TireRack also has a page where you could look for wheels for your car, see how thery look on your model/color, and they will select the proper tire size for you. They can ship you wheels/tires, mounted and all.
Anything smaller than 16" will just not look right on your car.
Changing to the 16" wheel/rim diameter is no problem so long as you keep within a few percent of you original overall diameter as you say. If you get new wheels, be sure the offset is right for your car - nearly all wheel merchants know these offsets etc. You will find lots of 16" original MB rims for sale on eBay. Folks sell them there when they upgrade to 17's and higher.
I just bought a set of new wheels for our e320 from http://www.thewheelexchange.com and found them very knowlegeable about Mercedes and got a good price.
Scott D

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