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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

Just got myself a low mileage 2004 series 3 M Sport. The ride is a bit of a shock coming from my previous Skoda Superb. It has the original 18 inch wheels Avon ZZ5 and just wondered if changing to 16'' wheels would soften the ride a bit. I know it would affect the handling but I am not that interested in flinging it around corners at high speed. It is a lovely car and I could get used to the ride I think - really goes to show the really bad state of UK roads in general. At speed on motorways the ride is not at all bad. But on country roads in Kent it can be a real bone shaker.

Grateful for any advice.

Many thanks

Kind regards

Jez
 

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Changing the size will do nothing. You will find a difference in the ride as M models have lower, stiffened suspension. You may also have run flat tyres fitted, which will feel like a huge difference. If they are run flats, swap then over for normal tyres and you'll feel the difference immediately.

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Changing the size will do nothing. You will find a difference in the ride as M models have lower, stiffened suspension. You may also have run flat tyres fitted, which will feel like a huge difference. If they are run flats, swap then over for normal tyres and you'll feel the difference immediately.

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This is the complete opposite of my experience. I’ve recently swapped from stock 18” wheels to my 16” winters on my E39 sport and the ride is noticeably smoother due to the increased side wall on the tyres.

The e39 stock 18’s ride better than the e46. I know as I’ve had both, but changing to smaller wheels with tyres with a taller side wall will give you smoother ride.
 

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This is the complete opposite of my experience. I’ve recently swapped from stock 18” wheels to my 16” winters on my E39 sport and the ride is noticeably smoother due to the increased side wall on the tyres.

The e39 stock 18’s ride better than the e46. I know as I’ve had both, but changing to smaller wheels with tyres with a taller side wall will give you smoother ride.
Yeah true, but then you have chunky tyres, which I get may not bother some, but I prefer larger wheels (18-20") personally.

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Interesting that you feel the ride is so hard. My comparison is coming from a 2001 golf GTI where i would get destroyed after going over anything not smooth. It was horrible. Now i have an m-sport, admittedly it is a 2014 i guess tech has moved on, with the standard suspension it comes with which a lot of people say is a much firmer ride than the non-M models, but i find it very comfortable in comparison to my Golf! This is on 18" alloys, and normal tyres, not the run-flats. If you go down to 16"s it should noticeably feel much nicer for you. I have driven another 3 series with 19" and low profile tyres and that is very harsh indeed.
 

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This is the complete opposite of my experience. I’ve recently swapped from stock 18” wheels to my 16” winters on my E39 sport and the ride is noticeably smoother due to the increased side wall on the tyres.

The e39 stock 18’s ride better than the e46. I know as I’ve had both, but changing to smaller wheels with tyres with a taller side wall will give you smoother ride.
+1. On my F10, moving from 18" runflat summer tyres to 17" runflat winter tyres made for a noticeably softer ride, albeit at the expense of a small loss of steering/handling precision. My recommendation to the OP would be to visit realoem.com, put in your VIN and see what wheel sizes would fit, then go for one with a smaller rim/higher profile. Given that going down 1" in an F10 makes an appreciable difference, I can only imagine going down 2" would make an even larger difference.
 

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I've just swapped my "form over function" 20" alloys on my 2011 E91 to my 18s - Luxury!

Changing from runflat to non runflat is approx equal increase in comfort to going down a wheel size.

Tyre manufacturer/noise rating also makes a big difference, especially on the motorway - I've changed the rear tyres on my 18s to Goodyear Asymmetric 3 based on the rated noise level (69db) and they make a huge difference in comfort just by being that much quieter, even though I still have relatively noisy (73db) tyres on the front (looking forward to changing those to Goodyear too)

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great advice and many thanks. I think I'll stick with the 18'' for a while. Going round a roundabout like you're on rails is quite a novel experience. Also they do look really cool (am I really that shallow!)
Cheers Jez
 
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