I need new tires for my 1999 9-3 5-door coupe. I drive the car
gently, but I like a sporty feel for exit ramps/sharp curves, etc.
I'd like more low-end torque - the car feels a bit slow to get going
(automatic transmission). Would it be a bad idea for me to switch
from 195/60r15s to 195/55r15s as a way of getting a sportier ride with
tires that are slightly easier to turn and lighter? This way I
wouldn't have to go to larger wheels or upgrade my breaks. Should I
be concerned that the smaller tires have a lower load rating (85) than
the OEM tires (87)?
I'm assuming that the smaller tires would only make things easier on
the transmission and suspension - not throw it all out of whack. I'm
also guessing that any decrease in gas milage while cruising at
highway speeds (due to higher tire-rpms) would be offeset by having an
easier time in stop-and-go traffic (I live in New York City).
I am obsessing over nothing? I know the difference in total diameter
is only about .75 inches (2cm). Or will I end up squealing all over
the nighborhood and become know as the guy with the skimpy tires?
The amount of tread in contact with the road should be all but identical
so they won't be any easier to turn.
Is your power assisted steering not working btw ?
If you're looking at the change in tyre diameter to give a performance
boost by effectively adjusting the final drive ratio I rather think you're
going to be disappointed.
I think he was confused by your use of the "easier to turn" statement.
Realistically a 2cm difference in diameter will have no perceptible effect
on performance, all it'll do is throw off your speedo/odo a tad. Your speedo
would be way off before the car felt significantly quicker.
I'm puzzled why you feel you need less turning effort on the wheel.
A bit of 'feedback' is considered a good thing by sporty drivers. If the
steering is 'over assisted' you can get into real trouble fast since you won't
have a 'feel' for the road.
The closest match would be 205/50/16, then the diameter would only be
reduced by 0.36cm. (see tire calculator). But you will need 16" wheels.
However, this is the normal route if you want to fit lower profiles.
Yes, Saab wheels are expensive and non-original after market wheels
don't look the part for a Saab. However, you could look out for special
offers at Saab dealers, even part exchange your existing wheels.
No changes to brakes. The overall diameter is almost the same if you get
205/50/16. The tires are up to you, whatever you can find that suits
your wallet. Maybe you can haggle with the dealer, who knows? You will
get a slightly sharper handling, but in most cases it will just look
cooler (pimp my ride).
I would leave it as is. When I drove a new 9-3 automatic I found it
very lethargic compared to my 9000 (both 2.0l LPT). However, I felt the
automatic was very much geared for city driving, smoothness AND for fuel
economy. If I wanted it to perform faster I had to really press my foot
to the floor most of the time.
Does your auto box have a sport mode? Have you tried using it?
Please remove _removeme_ to reply.
Work: http://www.somis.dundee.ac.uk /
Automatics are definitely lame. I sold a manual Honda and got this
9-3 because my girlfriend couldn't drive a manual (barely drives an
automatic). She also felt like the Honda was a tin can contending
with all the SUVs on the road here in NY. I want her to drive more so
I don't have to drive everywhere all the time.
I'm just not used to the sluggish starts from stop lights I guess
(though it's fun to be able to keep up with 80 mph traffic for a
I tried sport mode and honestly couldn't tell any difference.
Yopu are generallizing Charles, based on your experience with LPTs. I
own 2 '98 FPTs (a 900SE 5 speed and a 900S automagic) and neither of
them are lethargic in the least. The SE came with 16" wheels and
205/50-16 tires yet the s model came with the skimpy 195/60-15s. The
ride is certainly softer over the potholes on the taller profile tires,
but the turn in is obviously hampered.
Performance is not *always* an engine factor...
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