Tire Size Debate for the W124

Hello everyone,
Got a good issue to hear some opinions on... the tire size that should be used on the stock 15x6.5 stock wheels of almost all W124 chassis cars
(whether 14 hole 80's charm, or the 8-hole beaut of the later models) (and W202 C-Class). From the factory, everything but the 500E/E500 and Sportline/Sport equipped models came with 195/65/15's. Obviously the only two things that CAN be changed (while retaining the same wheel) are the width and aspect ratio. The most popular change I've noticed is to go with 205/55/15's... but I've heard many different opinions...
Some say the lower aspect ratio increases the steering response (which it does), while others note this also causes the speedometer to be off a bit, and changes the RPM-to-MPH ratio (which ultimately limits your top speed, and decreases efficiency).
Some say the wider tread will increase traction (which is does) but others say the tire will "swim" on the wheel because it's too wide for the given rim size.
And the biggest thing I've heard against both the above changes is -- Mercedes didn't do it that way, would they really fudge up that bad? After all, the Sportline package of the early 90's did include 15x7 wheels to accompany the 205mm wide tires... and Merc never had another tire but the 195/65 as OE.
Who has anything to add? The next time I go to the tire shop, I don't want to think twice before telling the owner what I'm interested in today... plus, I think there's a load of tire knowledge in general to be had on this subject.
Thanks in advance, -Mike
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If you disregard tire brand this is how I see it : Wider tire : slightly better steering response, better grip on fine roads, linear increase in tire noice, more "wandering" on bad roads, aquaplaning... Lower tire (profile) : key factor for steering response (the lower the quicker), slight increase in tire noice, a lot more road noice, not very comfortable on bad roads.
The above reasons is why my E420 won't have 235/45-17 when its time for "summertires" again. Regardless, it's really up to everyone what they prefer on their car.

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Mike \"Rotor\" Nowak wrote:

That might have been true for the US - here in Europe it was different (talking about the sedans with normal wheelbase only): - 200D, E200 Diesel and 200 had 185/65 R 15 on 6 J x 15 H 2 - 400E from September 1993 on and E420 had 215/55 ZR 16 on 7 J x 16 H - (As mentioned by you 500E and E500 were different, had 225/55 ZR 16 on 8 J 16 H 2) - E60 AMG same as 500E/E500
Looking at other W124 body styles show more variations - I leave them out here.

That is NOT true, see above.
Juergen
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Whoops! I never thought about the euro-market. You're totally correct. I was referring to sedans offered in the USA only. Though one thing you noted does perk my interest -- did US versions of the 400E/E420 come with 16x7 wheels at any time? If so, were they the 8-hole style? I'm looking for some 16 inch 8-holers that will fit my 300D, and the only thing I can find is the AT Italia 16x7.5 reproductions... if there are 16x7 8-holers out there, I'd be happy!
Thanks, Mike

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Mike \"Rotor\" Nowak wrote:

I do not _know_, but I _think_ so with the W124 E420.

All W124 E420s _I_ know do have the 8-hole rims.

I _think_ so - see this US ebay auction: <http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item $39094178&categoryc35> These IMHO are the ex-factory wheels which I know from the European market (215/55 ZR 16 on 7 J x 16 H 2).
Danny? Bill?
Juergen
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I have 245/35R17's on my 95 124.
Benefits: Larger wheel and thinner tire looks nicer/sportier. Gives me (psychological) confidence to make sharper turns at quicker speeds without of losing control
Disadvantages: Loses the luxorious smoothness of a "Mercedes-Benz". You will feel the slightest imperfections on the road. More expensive, not AS convenient to find. In my situation, this overall diameter is a bit larger than the standard 16's that came with it, so every once in a while if I have a full car I can hear the tires rub against the inside top of the well if I hit a bump too fast on the freeway.
As far as a wrong MPH reading for this particular change, it's hardly noticable (I think it's something like it'll tell you you're going 58 when you're going 60).
Overall, going to a 17" wheel is just for looks with the trade-off of smoothness.
JQ

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