Your best bet will probably to buy new wheels from TireRack, one of the
replica places or on eBay. If you buy used wheels you will pay almost
as much as new and run the risk that the wheels are not true which makes
I know you do not want to buy from the US due to the tax structure in
CA, but surely there are similar places that you can go up there and get
a tire/wheel combo for around US$1000 (whatever that converts to these
days). The biggest advantages in my mind is you know that you will get
straight wheels that will come prebalanced and should have a warranty.
Thanks for your advice... I checked out TireRack.com but they only have one
model available in a staggered 17 x 8 / 17 x 9 size.
I'm willing to chance getting a used set and get them refurbished locally.
Does anyone have anything they want to part with?
Just an additional bit of info. You should realize that the staggered
size (wider rear ties/wheels) does *not* provide additional performance
as one might otherwise imagine. Yes, if you have a 1000HP dragster
engine you'll need a wider tire to get that power to the ground, but for
road cars it's all about handling around corners and the modest ~300 hp
our engines make will not be spinning the tires through 3 gears.
Putting wider rubber on the rear of a balanced car like a BMW only
accentuates the over steer that is inherent in these cars. In most
cases, going with the widest tire that can be fit in at all 4 corners is
a better bet.
I have a set of 17 x 8 and 17 x 9 now with 235 and 255/40/17 tires, but the
wheels are in bad shape... i am used to the car as is and don't know if I
can go with 17 x 8 all round... kinda wimpy on the rear after having the 9"!
I can get a set of replica 17x8 BMW lookalike fairly cheap, but was not sure
about having the 8" all round.......
Fred, I agree so long as your comments are directed at the 540. HOWEVER, I
put a set of M5 staggered rims/tyres on my 540 and the handling was VASTLY
improved. Nothing to do with spinning the tyres, just a great "glued to the
My M5 WILL spin the tyres though 4 gears, and under hard driving the DSC
will come on in 5th too, (depending on road conditions), but I could be
Fred, I think you meant to say UNDERSTEER and not OVERSTEER. In spite
of the car's weight balance, RWD BMWs tend to have inherent understeer
(as a good point). As you probably know, it has to do with slip
angles. Staggered wheels will generally increase understeer but you
can control the inherent amount by careful choice of tires.
I have both kinds in 17-inch wheels with OEM-recommended tire sizes
with my E39 540 and I must agree with Tech27 - the staggered set feels
much better overall because the car feels much more planted. Take a
couple of test drives Fred; and you'll know what we mean.
The equal-width set feels lighter but does not inspire as much
confidence as the staggered set. I suspect much has to do with the
added understeer and my choice of tires as well as the reduced amount
of lean. I just dial in a bit more steering effort or let out a bit of
throttle depending on conditions and the car feels very much in my
control while retaining a very hefty but powerful feel. With the
non-staggered set, the car feels less engaging and you feel you are
just letting the tires do the driving - you don't feel as connected.
What is definitely compromised by a staggered set is traction in the
wet or even worse, icy roads. I also can't say if I am going any
faster in a staggered set (under dry conditions) but it does feel
unquestionably nicer - but I pick my tires very carefully. Some tires
do not work well in staggered configuration.
BTW, if you use very wide tires in front you will lose steering feel
and the steering wheel will also no longer self-return as you round the
corner - you'll have to crank it yourself. IME, cars with very wide
front tires have crappy steering feedback. On some road surfaces the
car will also tramline very badly. IMO, it is better to stagger if you
want wide tires.
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