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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there folks!

Like many others no doubt, its that time of the year where the temperature in the UK drops a little, so I'm contemplating winter tyres for my car. I'm weighing up if to purchase some winter tyres and wheels for my 2016 F25 BMW X3 mSport 2L Diesel. My way of thinking is that the xDrive system with winter tyres should allow the wife reassurance when it comes to snow, ice and slush this coming winter. My logic is, xDrive + winter tyres = a very grippy car! Not to mention the rubber reacts better in temperatures lower the 7 degrees.

This said, I've been advised by my local BMW parts dept & Master Technician, that even though there is set available for my vin number that there is no need to alter the standard setup as the xDrive system is very intelligent and the car should get us out of a pickle come the bad weather even with the Pirelli summer tyres which are stock on the car anyway.

I'd love to know peoples thoughts on this and if people have ventured down the route of fitting winter wheels/tyres previously? I have a best mate who swears by winter tyres on BMW's, however this was on his rear wheel drive 3 series.

The only option available for my car are the V-Spoke 304 17" alloy wheels with the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tyre (225/60/R17 99H). No steel wheels are available.

The other thing I can't quite get my head around is that my stock alloys are the 20" 310 type alloys running Pirelli P-Zeros front - 245/40/R20 and 275/35/R20 on the rear. If I were to purchase the option available to me from BMW parts, would going down 3 sizes in wheel diameter harm the setup of the car?

Also with my stock 310 type alloys being diamond cut and polished, taking these off the car in the winter months may be beneficial to prevent salt/grit damage, hence why I've ruled out buying all season tyres for my 20" wheels.

Appreciate any feedback! Many thanks.
 

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"would going down 3 sizes in wheel diameter harm the setup of the car? "
You'll certainly notice a difference. The extra rubber in the 17s will give a smoother ride but the steering response will be a little duller.
Winter tyres on the 17s will grip better than the summer tyres.

When I was running a Mercedes with 20 inch wheels (that I actually didn't want, but I still bought the car) I purchased a set of 18s with Bridgestone weather control tyres.
Very happy with the ride and grip. And the 20s sat in the garage over winter. You're right in that the diamond finish is rather fragile.
Currently got diamond cut 19s on my xDrive 4 series. Thinking about getting a winter set. But I should sell the Merc 18s now in the garage first. Pity they don't fit :)
 

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Funny enough I (well the dealer actually as they store the set that’s off the car) just swapped to my winter wheels today which use those exact tyres (albeit 16” versions) you reference as available to you. Can’t comment on the size differences but in the rain, snow, slush and general winter temp’s those Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D are excellent. I used to live near a slope which was the only way out the area and these tyres just sailed up it no hassle. Not a hope on summers.

Near as dammit same tyre demo Winter Tyres ver Summer at Tamworth snow dome
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"would going down 3 sizes in wheel diameter harm the setup of the car? "
You'll certainly notice a difference. The extra rubber in the 17s will give a smoother ride but the steering response will be a little duller.
Winter tyres on the 17s will grip better than the summer tyres.

When I was running a Mercedes with 20 inch wheels (that I actually didn't want, but I still bought the car) I purchased a set of 18s with Bridgestone weather control tyres.
Very happy with the ride and grip. And the 20s sat in the garage over winter. You're right in that the diamond finish is rather fragile.
Currently got diamond cut 19s on my xDrive 4 series. Thinking about getting a winter set. But I should sell the Merc 18s now in the garage first. Pity they don't fit :)
Cheers for the reply!

I’m not too bothered about the steering response etc, just want the car to stop and steer correctly for the wife when out in the cold conditions. We don’t tend to get heavy snow in the UK but what we do get is icy slushy roads where winter tyres would be a lot better than the wide P-Zeros that are on now. Also when it does snow, it tends to snow on top of ice and slush. We’ve all been there and seen it where when it snows on the M’way lane 3 is always left empty as snow has fallen onto slushy Tarmac and the Traffic Officers/Police always seem to just drive on through it in their big X5’s At speed. This I’m assuming as they have good quality winter rubber shoes on. My only concern is if the smaller diameter wheel (17”) will put mechanical pressures or wear and tear on the xDrive system as the car is setup and manufactured to work on my stock 20” wheels. BMW assure me, albeit the parts team, that the 17” wheels will fit my car and will go over the brakes. They also come complete with the tyre pressure sensors etc in the new wheels as a complete set. So basically other than the 3” size difference in wheel diameter, they will fit. I’m just panicking that the transfer case or diff may wear with smaller size wheels on? Thanks for all the responses.
 

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No problem with the xdrive running smaller wheels - the point of the official set of winter wheels is that the overall wheel diameter (and hence circumference of the tyre) is the same as your summer set. Ie what you lose in wheel size, you gain in tyre sidewall size. Hence the rolling circumference is unchanged and your speedo will still be accurate. You can see the sizes that are allowable if you look at the tyre pressure chart on your driver's door.

The main thing to be very careful about with x drive is to ensure that the front and rear wheels have the same rolling circumference. On a staggered set up, the wider rears have a lower profile to ensure this (incidentally that's why you need to use * marked tyres to ensure this as tyre sizing is generally nominal rather than precise). On a square set up it's actually much more straightforward as they tyres are all the same width and aspect so there is less risk of error.

Most of the official winter sets drop a size or two and go square. So for example, my X5 runs 19" staggered summers, but 18" square winters. And likewise my 6 Series also runs 18" square for the winter.

X drive will help you get going in snow - but won't enable you to stop or steer, which as you rightly surmise is entirely down the rubber. To give you some idea, I would absolutely and every time, take a RWD car with winter tyres over a AWD/4WD car on summers when the conditions get rough.

Finally, having got the part numbers, check ebay and Facebook market place before you splash out with the main dealer. The second hand market for winters is very keen - £400-600 might well sort you out a nice official BMW set with reasonable amount of wear left in the tyres. Note however that winter tyres start to lose effectiveness at 4mm of tread, so normally once they get under 4 you tend to just run them out over the summer and then whack a new set on for the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Brilliant this. Cheers for all the replies. I even thought about sourcing 18” rather than going as low as 17” not that I’m too bothered about running for a few cold months on 17” however if I opted to get 18” then these probably would be staggered like my stock 20” ones with obviously a lower profile rear. Whereas the 17” suggested by BMW like mentioned above will be square.
 

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Ok, I've got an Xdrive G31 not an X3. My experience is as follows. The car is shod with 20" P Zero 4 as standard, good tyres in my opinion. Last January we experienced a proper cold spell that lasted 10 days with deep powdery snow on day one. I commute 80 miles a day, I simply got in the car and drove. The conditions were atrocious with -6 to -10, the roads inc a good stretch the M1 hadn't been gritted either. Obviously one drives to the conditions, the Xdrive worked brilliantly with no traction issues. Steering and braking on packed snow or ice come with a caveat, do it slow, well in advance and gently regardless of what rubber the car wears. I was gob smacked how well my summer tyres performed, several cars that first morning took off road excursions in front of me!
Depending where you live and what your local conditions are like should determine what you do.
I guess for absolute peace of mind and the certainly of better control winters are the way to go. In fact I'm having a set of Sottozeros tomorrow as a straight swap as all four summers have had it. Just remind your Mrs that whilst she might have all the grip in the world the idiot behind or flying towards her round a bend might not!
Font Gas Audio equipment Snow Technology
 

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Winter tyres are absolutely the way to go

but there are several options as well as the “all season” option

all season tyres would avoid you having to change tyres or swap wheels

all season tyres will give you almost all the advantages of winter tyres and only detract slightly from the summer tyre performance

the winter tyre option could be staggered or square and the good option would be to put them on a second set of wheels to avoid having to change tyres and damage your good wheels…..

if you go down to 17 or 18 inch wheels and buy some “cheap” alloys you can limit the cost
 

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IMHO...Video says it all does`nt it.
Over the years ive used Dunlop & Continental winters on a 2wd E46 330d. As im tight i always dropped lucky on some part worns which they bring in from Germany etc. Usually i saved £200+ on 6mm tyres so id get 2 winters from them. Continentals were really great & lasted ages(even did a summer on them). If you do big miles & you HAVE TO get to work then its a no brainer. Having said that. as Cibacron said the other car that smashes your pride & joy to bits is probably fitted with some jinjuMcFlip ditch finders!!!! Seriously, if you can afford to fit them...do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I like the idea of all season tyres tbh, my Dad had the Michelin CrossClimate rubber on his Skoda Octavia Scout and he rates them highly. He used to go to clay pigeon shooting grounds around the UK at weekendS down farm tracks, over fields and muddy green lanes and never got stuck. Also in the snow they were epic! That said I don’t fancy them on my stock 20” alloys with them being diamond cut and polished. Like mentioned previously, I think the best thing for them is to keep them stored over the salty/gritty road months and source another set of wheels and if I’m doing that, I may as well purchase winter tyres for that set. The decision now is whether I go for 17” or 18” with winter shoes on them? Pic of my 20” alloys attached.
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Vehicle Car
 

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No affiliation or interest, but I'd be following this sort of thing and pouncing on something appropriate as the most economic way of getting it sorted:

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
No affiliation or interest, but I'd be following this sort of thing and pouncing on something appropriate as the most economic way of getting it sorted:

Brilliant. Thanks for this link. They look perfect albeit I read they have 4.55mm of tread depth left and as I understand it winter tyres aren’t as effective the closer they get to 4mm? I stand to be corrected though. Also, my F25 has tyre pressure monitoring. Fitting after market winter wheels/tyres albeit genuine BMW ones, will this affect that or will the wheels come with the sensors etc? Always learning 👍🏻
 

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Yep, you're quite correct - they start to decline from 4mm, and by 3mm really you just run them out over the summer. So get as much over 4mm as you can.

The link's not a recommendation but rather an illustration of an avenue to explore - ie keep an eye out on ebay and facebook market place. People buy the cars, have them for 3 years or whatever and then get left with a set of wheels and tyres in the garage that they need to shift. They're bulky so no one likes shipping them so it's usually buyer collects which further depresses the market. It can be an extremely economic way of picking up wheels and tyres - especially winter sets and smaller less blingy summer sets where people have 'upgraded' and got left with the originals.

For example from my own recent experience:
My other half has an F20 120i. Full set of literally brand new 16" official BMW winter wheels and Continental tyres including centre caps and TPMS valves from a main dealer who had had them in stock for a couple of years cost me £400 all in from ebay. List price was about £1600. Award for romantic present of the year: priceless.
My X5 I bought the official 18" winter wheel set with 6mm * marked Continentals from a vehicle breaker for £450 including delivery. Again from ebay. List price wrong side of £2k.

I also bought a set of 18" F15 X5 alloys and 6mm * marked continentals for the X5 for about £300 from facebook's market place (long story, but the staggered 19s originally on my car were becoming a pain to source *marked non run flats for so I thought sod it, I'll drop to 18s and have a much broader and cheaper range of * marked tyres).
 

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And to your question about TMPS (which I forgot to address above) - yes, you'll need TPMS valves for it to work otherwise it will bleat at you. So that will narrow your search a bit but doesn't make it impossible. You can usually tell from the photos if there are TMPS valves installed as they're quite distinctive.

Also get creative in your searching - not everyone on ebay/fb is a petrol head. So searching for "F25 winter wheels" is the obvious start, but once you know what they look like, make sure you search for "BMW X3 wheels", and "BMW X3 winter" and other permutations. You'll have to wade through a fair amount of crap but there's sometimes gold dust in there where people don't fully understand what they're selling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And to your question about TMPS (which I forgot to address above) - yes, you'll need TPMS valves for it to work otherwise it will bleat at you. So that will narrow your search a bit but doesn't make it impossible. You can usually tell from the photos if there are TMPS valves installed as they're quite distinctive.

Also get creative in your searching - not everyone on ebay/fb is a petrol head. So searching for "F25 winter wheels" is the obvious start, but once you know what they look like, make sure you search for "BMW X3 wheels", and "BMW X3 winter" and other permutations. You'll have to wade through a fair amount of crap but there's sometimes gold dust in there where people don't fully understand what they're selling.
Brilliant. Very knowledgeable. Thanks for that.
 
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