From digest.v6.n886 Wed Jul 16 16:10:49 1997
From: Ed McClure <emcclure_at_dcr.net>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 18:56:33 -0400
Subject: E-30 323i wheel size
I also have a 85 323i. It also had 195/60 x14 wheel. I also have the
3:45 rear, with the overdrive 5-speed. I went with 15x7, and have tried
two different sizes, 205/50 & 205/55. It looks great with 16's on it
too. However, I will discuss that later.
First, the 205/50 are about the same tire height as the 195/60 x14's,
but they don't fill the wheelwell very well. Because of the lower aspect
ratio it maintains the same acceleration as you stock set up. I have
even lower the car approx. an inch, with sport (liner rated) springs.
The wheelwell still have alot space. They are just o.k.
I then tried the 205/55, and have been real pleased with that tire
size. It offers a little better ride, fills the wheelwells, and looks
alot better. It does change the rear diff gear ratio though, the car is
not quite as quick, (taller tire to turn), it actually changes the gears
I use on slow corners on the track. What used to be a so -so third gear
turn, is now a screaming (sometimes redline, rev limiter) second gear
corner, on the track. If you have not increased your horsepower alot, I
recommend the 205/55's, besides this is the same size that came on the
E-30 M3. BMW is usually right, for a reason. I have also seen 225/50
x15's, and I am going to try them on my next tire change, at least for
my track tires.
Next, but what about 16 inch rims. Depending upon your suspension, how
low is your car, 16's work well, and really look great. Alpina wheels
are 16's with 205/50's and look great. However, I must make some
comments regarding going to 16 inch wheels. First the wheels and tires
cost more. Next, and this is the most important. it takes more
horsepower to turn thoses tires, and you could actually could lose speed
potenial by going too BIG! If you have the stock 150 hp's like myself,
you will be over-all happier with the 15's. If your car is crankin' 190
to 220 horsepower, you may very well like the 16's. As tire sizes go in
the front 205/50 is about it. The 16x7 is about as widest the offset
will allow (without getting custom offsets), without rubbing the inside
shock tower, But there are some 16x8's available for the rears, which
works well with 225/50. thats alot of rubber on the road. for this type
of car. Also, with 16x8's or the wider tires, in order not to get inside
wheelwell rub, alot of people roll the inner lip of the fender.
Hope this give you a overview of your options of sizes
available for your 85 323i.
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Ed McClure <emcclure_at_dcr.net>