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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First, I searched and didn't find any threads discussing this although I'm sure it has been discussed many times over.

I have an AW '04 330i with sport package and running the stock staggered wheel setup and am looking to change things up. I definitely want to run a square setup so I can rotate the tires and have narrowed it down to two options.

My first option is to pick up a set of 4 style 68 rear wheels (17x8.5), get them powder coated in gunmetal and run 245/40-17 at all 4 corners.

My other option is to pick up 4 ZCP front wheels and run 19x8 (et 47) wheels all around with 235/35-19 rubber.

Side note: I really like the look of the style 68 wheels and think the gunmetal finish would look good against my white car, but I have always loved the look of the ZCP (and BBS LM in general) so I'm torn. Price may end up deciding this one as the ZCP will be about double what I can get a set of refinished 68s for.

Anyway, the reason for my post is I am wondering what type of handling differences I can expect switching to 19x8 at all 4 corners or switching to the 17x8.5 vs. running the staggered setup I have now? Really only going to be doing spirited street driving, if I do any auto crossing it will probably be on my staggered setup that I'm taking off. My presumption is that other than the stiffness of the 19s I won't really notice much change on the street, but I know that hundreds of people on this site have done something similar so I thought I'd get some feedback.

Edit: these would only be for a summer setup, I plan to run dedicated winter wheels and tires when it gets cold.
 

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My first suggestion is not to get 19's. 19's are universally a pain in the ass (literally) and you will run into rim/tire damage a lot more easier. In the streets of NYC I'm able to get away with 18's but it's still a major hassle.

Getting the bigger wheels you will notice a loss of acceleration and a lot harsher ride. You might think handling is better because the tires are wider, less sidewall so the tires driver better on the road but it won't.

Personally look into some 18's or 17's with a nice low offset such as 35-40 so they're flush with the fenders so they will look good and run 245 on the 17's or 235 on the 18's
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the input. I kind of had the same feeling about the 19s and ride quality. Even with the 19s, it still might be a more compliant ride than my previous DD though. The tires on the 19s really would actually be narrower in the rear and slightly wider in the front though, which is why I was wondering if there would be any perceptible differences in handling. The shorter sidewalls will definitely decrease tire roll, but even with the 17s that is already pretty minimal so I wouldn't expect a huge difference in feel....certainly not the same as going from a set of 60 or 55 sidewalls down to 35.

As far as finding some low offset rims, I'm really only looking at OEM options. I tend to keep my cars for a long time and I've had bad luck with locating aftermarket rims down the road when something bad happens. Do you know what the lowest offset 8.5" wheel that will fit in the front without rubbing or rolling the fenders? I'm assuming the front controls over the rears as far as fitment. Or if you know the lowest offset number for a different width I can figure it out for any wheel width....
 

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I have style 197 wheels on my car. Offset is perfect but they weigh about 23-24 pounds each being 18's.

Keep in mind, the heavier the wheel the more unsprung weight you have that the car has to "muscle through" to get the car moving and turning properly. It's like trying to run with a rope attached to you with a cinder block at the end of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have style 197 wheels on my car. Offset is perfect but they weigh about 23-24 pounds each being 18's.

Keep in mind, the heavier the wheel the more unsprung weight you have that the car has to "muscle through" to get the car moving and turning properly. It's like trying to run with a rope attached to you with a cinder block at the end of it.
are you running the 8" or 8.5"? Or staggered?

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Discussion Starter #6
Just found some pics of another member running 197s on his car and I'm guessing you're running staggered as it doesn't look like the 8.5 would fit up front.

That would mean I could only run the 8" rims as I want to keep a square setup.

Let me know if I'm wrong.

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Discussion Starter #7
ok, going to revise my question. If I stick with 17 or 18" rims and go with 8" wide rims at all 4 corners will I notice in handling differences from my stock staggered setup now? Let's assume weight difference is minimal...
 

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Going wider

Keep in mind that extra rubber will influence all of the suspension in your car sometimes in a very unintended way. Maybe you read my post .

I think as long as you don't go wider than a 245 tire in the front you will be OK with the FCABs and RTABs but it may not let the car slip as much and throw more weight onto one side of the suspension mid corner and will actually corner worse. I found that when I went with wider tires from stock but stayed with a staggered setup (225/45/18 255/40/18 >> 235/40/18 265/35/18) the grip was quite a bit different and while the car was faster on the track, it definitely needed other improvement to feel as nice as it was stock. When I went from that to a full square the difference was insane and the car felt like utter garbage. I'm happy now but it's been almost a full year and a half and thousands of dollars of misery.

If you want to save you money I would stay with the 17" size with the cheapest tire width and get Michelin PSS's

EDIT: By cheapest tire width I meant go online and see what the cost will be for buying 245's vs. 235's and see if it will be worth it. Sometimes a tire will be a lot more common and thus massively cheaper even though the sizes are quite similar.

I am realizing that I think a little bit more tire slip is more fun on a DD because you reach the limits at a more sane speed and the breakaway is more progressive. With my current setup of 265/35 all around depending on how I have my tire pressures set the breakaway can be quite silent and abrupt and it is nerve wracking when you don't expect it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good info. I'll definitely be running 235 or 245 rubber. I'm basically looking at running 8.5 at all corners or dropping down to 8" which is still stock on non sport packages. I'm hoping there will be little to no extra wear on the suspension parts as a result. Will likely be getting the pilots as well since I've only heard fantastic things about them and the price isn't too bad. What kind of mileage do you get out of a set of rears?

Also, does anyone know if I can run a 8.5" wheel with a 44 offset? Concerned about rubbing the fender up front as I think it will sit 10mm closer. Tire rack wheel options make me think it will be ok as it doesn't mention needing to roll fenders until you get down to a 38 offset, but when I go the very imprecise method of holding a ruler to my stock setup, I'm not convinced there is room.

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Hi All. Late in the convo but I am wondering the same as I would like to upgrade my 330i wheels. I was thinking of 18x8 all around but not sure if I would get rubbing on the fenders. Stock spring height. Doing this as I ordered a zhp kit and want to dress up the wheel look. What are you guys running??
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Stick close to the stock 8" stock offset and you should be fine. I think it's like 47.
I haven't found a whole lot of OEM options I like in an 8" width that are in my price range.

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Thank you for replying. I found a couple of options at 18x8 fronts and was thinking to order another pair for the rear. Spoke to a BMW mech and he thinks it should fit (front rim on the rear). These are after market.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You can use this website to check different wheels to see what the stock sizes and offsets are to get an idea of what fits.

http://www.bmwstylewheels.com/3/E46

And use this website to figure out what will fit in the car after you have figured out how close to the shock and fender you can get based on what is available stock or knowledge of what fits. As in, I know 8.5" style 68 wheels fit up front which gives me an idea of how close to the fender I can get.

http://www.1010tires.com/Tools/Wheel-Offset-Calculator#Results
 
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