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MotorCityMadman
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys. I need help figuring out if I should stick with the standard 15" wheel size or upgrade to 16".

I think the perfect size for the Cooper is the 15". To me the 16" and up starts to make it look "toyish." However, I am wondering about the performance boost in steering and handling of the 16" vs. the 15". Is there enough to be gained with the 16" over the 15" in order to justify the purchase not on looks, but on driving attributes?

So far, what I've gleaned from the forum has been that the 15" give more of a "throw-about" feel and the 16" give more of a "planted" feel. Is this correct? What would be any other pro's and con's of both versus each other?

I want to make sure I make the right choice on wheel size!

Thanks a bundle guys! Look forward to your responces!
 

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Obsessive Not Compulsive
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413 Posts
Tough choice, but I think you are on the right track about not going too large on the wheels.
Although I like the overall package looks of the S with the 17" R85 8-spoke wheels, it does have a bit of a cartoon car appearance. (think of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
I think the Coopers look just fine with 15" wheels, especially the R81 7-hole wheels which have a lot of character to them. These are the wheels I have and quite like them.
Have recently purchased a set of the 16" R84 X-lite wheels and have yet to receive.
I wanted an extra set of wheels to run separate summer and winter set-ups.
I am a little concerned that the 16" wheels and wider tires will make the car less tossable, but am hoping that the extra grip available will be a benefit.
I do recall a test drive of an S with the 17" wheels and it seemed to have unlimited grip for sticking in the corners.
Have you thought about two sets of wheels and tires? That way you don't have to decide - use the 15" for winter with the narrow tires for good grip on snow/ice and then mount the 16" when the summer comes and hang on in the corners! :)
 

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MotorCityMadman
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3,793 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responces guys! Keep 'em coming!

So then the vehicle gets less tossable, but "stickier" in the corners with the larger wheels, eh? Jeez, I'd like both please! :p

By tossable, are you guys saying that the car skids a little on hot corners with the 15"s when it would normally stick with the 16"s and up???

Again, thanks for the responces! I want to get this right!

BTW, no, I don't want to get two sets of wheels. OK, I would, but the misses wouldn't approve. RAHAHAHA!!! :mad: :bad:
 

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MotorCityMadman
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3,793 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alright, so I've basically decided to go with the 15" wheels and add the SS+. That should give me the best of both worlds! Hahaha! :p

Gotta love being able to ponder over the exact make-up of your vehicle. When I bought my RSX years ago, it was basically leather and auto, yes or no?!

Done.

I like this much better.
 

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350 Posts
The 15" pepper-grinder style wheels are the lightest stock wheels available, lighter than many high performance aftermarket wheels. This gives you better acceleration, braking, gas mileage, suspension perfomance, and ride comfort. I chose the SS non-plus suspension, and I think the ride is firm, secure, and comfortable. Plus, you're less likely scratch a 15" wheel on the kerb than a 16 or 17" wheel.

It's like choosing a girl with perky B- or C-cups instead of DDs. Appearance may not be quite so spectacular, but they're more practical over the long term, and actual performance is usually better. :D
 

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MotorCityMadman
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3,793 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey thanks guys! Good to get some excellent feedback!

That's basically what I've come to figure out; that the 15"s with a tight suspension give great handling, lighter in weight, and keeps the "throw-ability" of the smaller wheel versus a larger one. Everyone on this forum that says they have 15"s and SS+ have nothing but praise for it so that must be the trick! :)

And yeah, I will be going with the "pepper-grinder" (R81?) wheels for my MINI. So I am happy to hear that they are light-weight. You've saved me another long search for answers. Hahaha! :p
 

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Another Happy Owner
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204 Posts
you'll get a lot of road feed back from thinner tires too and you'll actually lose a small amount of power with larger rims.

id say 16" are good as long as you have 50 series tires. sorry i dont have the specs to see what kind of tires you get.

IMO 50 series tires are probably the safest bet if you're going to be driving it hard. i have 17" on mine and i think it looks cool.
;)
 

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cristo
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2,887 Posts
why choose? i have both....stock 7 holes with stock contis for mid Nov-Mid March, and
Bridgestone 205/50/16 S-03's on SSR GT1's (light sturdy and "forged") for the fun
two thirds of the year!
 

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MotorCityMadman
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3,793 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
cristo said:
why choose? i have both....stock 7 holes with stock contis for mid Nov-Mid March, and
Bridgestone 205/50/16 S-03's on SSR GT1's (light sturdy and "forged") for the fun
two thirds of the year!

Yeah, if I had a little more operating $$$ and you could convince the better-half that a second set of wheels and tires were a logical investment over, let's say, retirementt, rent, or groceries (hey! I can eat mac-and-cheese everyday!), then we've got something here! Hee-Hee! :p
 

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I have 15" on my 53reg mini one (just standard supension) and the ride is soft and smooth but not as fun. I test drove a new mini one (standard suspension) with 16" on and it was more fun to drive more gripping and planted as you say. I've gone for the 17" R90 replicas for looks and I couldn't just buy an extra inch! Haven't put them on yet but I know the handling will improve!
 

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MotorCityMadman
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3,793 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I love MINI said:
I have 15" on my 53reg mini one (just standard supension) and the ride is soft and smooth but not as fun. I test drove a new mini one (standard suspension) with 16" on and it was more fun to drive more gripping and planted as you say. I've gone for the 17" R90 replicas for looks and I couldn't just buy an extra inch! Haven't put them on yet but I know the handling will improve!

Yeah, the handling will improve, but I don't want to lose most of the tossability of the car. Although my 328is is pretty much planted in the pavement, the best memories I have of driving it were the times, forced or not, of it slightly out-of-control sliding around corners or turns. I want to make sure my MINI isn't as secure as the BMW. Hope that all makes sense. :p
 

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By the way, you're aware that a front-engined, front-wheel-drive car will not drive at all like a rear-wheel drive BMW? Understeer is the issue here, and unless you're very deft with the parking brake, there will be no drifting... However, unless you lose your footing entirely, you'll be through the turn faster, and at higher Gs, than almost any other car short of a Ferrari. Good enough for me!
 

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MotorCityMadman
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3,793 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Clutch Cargo said:
By the way, you're aware that a front-engined, front-wheel-drive car will not drive at all like a rear-wheel drive BMW? Understeer is the issue here, and unless you're very deft with the parking brake, there will be no drifting... However, unless you lose your footing entirely, you'll be through the turn faster, and at higher Gs, than almost any other car short of a Ferrari. Good enough for me!
Of course. I realize that the MINI will not have the same attributes of the RWD BMW. As a matter of fact, I vowed never to get another FWD auto in my life until I found out how MINI eliminated virtually all torque steer and how well they have captured the "drive." And I definitely don't want to be "drifting" through every turn, but I do like to keep some of that loose feeling, a feeling I don't have (and not supposed to) 90% of the time in the BMW.

Yep, the MINI has taken the slalom #2 fastest in modern auto history :eek: , tied with the Porsche 911 for #2. Think it was Car & Driver...and they didn't mention who #1 was since they said it was some obscure, low-production vehicle that no one remembers. All this for $17,000 U.S.!!!
 

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Sitting on a park bench..
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1,183 Posts
6.5 vs 7?

sort of related, I'm looking for wheels to go w/ my 185/65/R15 Nokians. I see R15x6.5 and R15x7, can someone explain the difference? Will I run into a problem trying to mount my Nokians on either?

TIA
 

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Obsessive Not Compulsive
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413 Posts
Aqualung, most tire manufacturer's compatability charts suggest that a 185/65R15 tire be mounted on a maximum 6.5" wheel, so I would not consider any 7" wide wheel. :)
 

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Sitting on a park bench..
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1,183 Posts
MINNOW said:
Aqualung, most tire manufacturer's compatability charts suggest that a 185/65R15 tire be mounted on a maximum 6.5" wheel, so I would not consider any 7" wide wheel. :)
whew! glad I asked, thanks!

Can I ask one more question? I just doublechecked some wheels I'm looking at and they're the MINI R81 which is 15x5.5, so it would seem these are ok, as you say 6.5 is the maximum. Thanks again.
 
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