Has anyone tried 16" wheels on their A3 e-tron?

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SirChargesAlot

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2024
Messages
64
Location
Bay Area CA
Hi everyone!

My A3e came with the premium 18" wheels which I find to be way too big for a car this size. The area in which I live has lots of very dangerous potholes and poorly maintained roads in general, so the ride is rough!

Has anyone tried downsizing from an 18" to a 17" or even a 16" wheel for the A3e? I tend to downsize my wheels for better road compliance on all my cars so I'm sure the results will be pleasant, but am wondering what others have done that they are happy with.

Cheers.
 
I believe the base model came with 17 inch wheels - that is an easy downsize. The 18 inchers where part of the Sport Package and Premier model. So 17s from any A3 MY 2016 17 18 should have same offset and clear the Calipers. Audi Wheels from earlier wheels A3 or A4 likely would fit but need to confirm offset. Going to a 16 inch wheel would need advice from someone more aware of the fit. A dealer or quality Wheel &Tire shop. Wheel for a MQB platform VW MY 2016 17 18 should fit. I plan to fit 17s from old 2014 VW Jetta TDI with Snows for winter.
 
17" wheels is a good compromise of ride and handling. However, I did get a blowout on the freeway from a large pothole. Don't know if a 16" would have survived it either.
 
Hi everyone!

My A3e came with the premium 18" wheels which I find to be way too big for a car this size. The area in which I live has lots of very dangerous potholes and poorly maintained roads in general, so the ride is rough!

Has anyone tried downsizing from an 18" to a 17" or even a 16" wheel for the A3e? I tend to downsize my wheels for better road compliance on all my cars so I'm sure the results will be pleasant, but am wondering what others have done that they are happy with.

Cheers.
My 2016 A3e came with 17" wheels (ContiProContact - 225/45 R 17 / 91H ). I can't comment as to how they compare to 18" wheels, but I can at least confirm availability of the 17" for this car. And as Jacks replied, probably any A3 wheel from 2016-2018 should fit the A3e.

PS: I noted another post expressing concern about the factory ContiPro breaking traction when attempting to accelerate quickly off the line. Mine does this as I'm sure they all do. I'm guessing that in order to maximize economy, a low-rolling resistance tire is used, which can't quite handle the off the line low end torque from the electric motor. I mention this because if your 18" does this, the 17" won't be any better, at least with the Contis.
 
Hi everyone!

My A3e came with the premium 18" wheels which I find to be way too big for a car this size. The area in which I live has lots of very dangerous potholes and poorly maintained roads in general, so the ride is rough!

Has anyone tried downsizing from an 18" to a 17" or even a 16" wheel for the A3e? I tend to downsize my wheels for better road compliance on all my cars so I'm sure the results will be pleasant, but am wondering what others have done that they are happy with.

Cheers.
Our 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron Premium Plus came with 225/45 ZR17 standard. We are happy with this size, though a 50 R16 might have been nicer for pothole comfort.
 
I've run 16" wheels on our A3 e-tron (2016), which came with 225-40-18 tires, which lasted maybe 40K km before blowing a belt.

Have used both stock-diameter 205-55-16 (common on the VW Mk7 Golf - same MQB car, basically) and slightly taller 205-60-16. Both ran fine. I'm far more about comfort than performance these days, so these smaller rimmed wheel/tire combos were very nice. Currently on 225-50-17 (10% more sidewall and 3% greater circumference than stock 225-45-17 so the speedometer actually reads accurately) Michelin CrossClimate2 and I'm at least equally pleased with those.
 
I have a set of 16s with michelin X ice winter tires. I much prefer the 18s and will upgrade to higher performance tires when they wear out (michelin pilot all season 4 or conti extreme contact).. yea yea there is a small increase in EV range but I'm not hung up about that. The car has a ICE and I'm happy to run it especially in the winter.
 
17" wheels is a good compromise of ride and handling. However, I did get a blowout on the freeway from a large pothole. Don't know if a 16" would have survived it either.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the 17" wheels @bruuster ! I'll take what I can get, if 16s fit, I'll go that small for the protection/comfort.

I believe the base model came with 17 inch wheels - that is an easy downsize. The 18 inchers where part of the Sport Package and Premier model. So 17s from any A3 MY 2016 17 18 should have same offset and clear the Calipers. Audi Wheels from earlier wheels A3 or A4 likely would fit but need to confirm offset. Going to a 16 inch wheel would need advice from someone more aware of the fit. A dealer or quality Wheel &Tire shop. Wheel for a MQB platform VW MY 2016 17 18 should fit. I plan to fit 17s from old 2014 VW Jetta TDI with Snows for winter.

Hey @Jacks A3 ET , you're right, I was able to find the following information about the OEM 17" wheels that Audi offered on this car:

17" A3 e-tron turbines
17x7.5, et 51, bolt pattern 5x112, 26.5lbs
Part#: 8V0 601 025 CD

I've run 16" wheels on our A3 e-tron (2016), which came with 225-40-18 tires, which lasted maybe 40K km before blowing a belt.

Have used both stock-diameter 205-55-16 (common on the VW Mk7 Golf - same MQB car, basically) and slightly taller 205-60-16. Both ran fine. I'm far more about comfort than performance these days, so these smaller rimmed wheel/tire combos were very nice. Currently on 225-50-17 (10% more sidewall and 3% greater circumference than stock 225-45-17 so the speedometer actually reads accurately) Michelin CrossClimate2 and I'm at least equally pleased with those.

Hey @Nuje that's very good news to my ears. Thanks for confirming that you've found that 16" does indeed fit over the front brake calipers. Of the two different tire sizes, did you prefer the 205/55 or the 205/60? Any issues with rubbing at full lock in parking lots and such?

Would you say your ride quality of equal to or slightly worse than 16s now that you are on 17s?

I'm all about comfort these days as well, although one could argue that smaller wheels and more tire increases performance in rough terrain. The road conditions have gotten so bad here, I have to slow down to unsafe speeds to avoid busting my tires/wheels up. I think one of the main problems is how heavy these wheels are, so when they hit something, they send so much force up the suspension into the cabin...

Do you have pictures of your A3e running 16s? Any shares would be appreciated.

I have a set of 16s with michelin X ice winter tires. I much prefer the 18s and will upgrade to higher performance tires when they wear out (michelin pilot all season 4 or conti extreme contact).. yea yea there is a small increase in EV range but I'm not hung up about that. The car has a ICE and I'm happy to run it especially in the winter.

@cmc , oh very nice! would you please share some pictures of the 16s on your A3e if you have some handy? Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
 
Hi there sorry no pictures of the A3 with winter rims.. They are Sparcos. Will not be mounting them again until perhaps November. I also have a Mk 7 GTI with the same 18s and same factory Contis. Due to the lower weight the GTI is considerably more sporty and fun in the curves, thus my goal is to improve the handling of the A3 with stickier tires, not go in the other direction.
 
... Due to the lower weight the GTI is considerably more sporty and fun in the curves, ...
The "Base Weight" of the Etron is 3,600+ pounds. I don't know what the load index is/was for the factory tires, but absent knowing that, I'd make sure any new tires are at least a Load index of 84 (1102 lb, 500kg), or maybe even 86 (1168, 530). Also, make sure any aftermarket or GTi takeoff rims are up to the weight of the Etron.

My camping buddy had a one-ton truck rim fail (single fracture straight in from the bead). The aftermarket rim was rated at only 3,500lb at 60 psi. He was of necessity running load index 129 (4,000+ lb) rated tires at 80 psi and had no idea his rims were the weak link. I run the same 34x18 inch tires with 4,500 lb rated rims. I spent last summer in the rig in Alaska and wondered how any of these short sidewall 18-20 inch sedan rims survive up there. I guess they don't.
 
I hear you. Our 2018 A3 e-tron came with the 18” inch wheels and Conti Pro Contacts. I was concerned about pot holes too. But, when it came time to replace the tires, I switched to Conti Pure Contacts. They greatly improved the ride. I recently bought a TTRS that came with 20” wheels. Really put the 18” wheels into perspective. 20” is ridiculous. I’m getting 18” wheels for the TTRS. Can’t go smaller because of caliper clearance. If you can find 16” wheels that clear the calipers, should be fine. Just make sure you get a tire profile that minimizes speedo error. Use “willtheyfit.com”
 
Keep in mind, too, that a tire that is ~3% larger circumference (like the 225-50-17 instead of stock 225-45-17) will actually make your speedometer read accurately. Cars come from the factory like that so there's a comfortable cushion to keep people from going back on the manufacturer and saying "hey - I got a speeding ticket even though my car said was going the speed limit" (or so the internet surmises).:)

The flip side is that odometer DOES read / record accurately with stock tire sizes. So, if you're seeing accurate speed from the speedo, you're odometer is missing roughly 30km every 1000km.

2024.06.17.001957.jpg
 
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the thread so far. I bit the bullet and ordered a new set of 16" wheels/tires from Tirerack. The wheels weren't in stock yet, but should be in a few weeks. At which point, they will mount the tires and ship it off.

I plan on swapping the wheels here at home and driving straight to an alignment shop. The last pothole really threw things off again. I need an unlimited alignment plan for the potholes in the bay area.

The wheels I ordered are the 16"x7" BBS SR in Anthracite wrapped in Bridgestone Driveguard Plus tires. I know it's silly to put on run flats as they add stiffness to the tire sidewall and are less comfortable than their non run flat counterparts, but I felt for my safety and convenience, I would take a gamble on them. They were on closeout sale for $100 each so I figured it wouldn't be the end of the world if I absolutely hated them.

My hope is that downsizing the wheel 2" will more than cover the added stiffness of the run flat and still provide noticeable relief over potholes and such. I'll definitely report back with my experiences once I've had a bit of time on them.

Oh and I should mention they weigh only 19lbs, which next to the 18" OEM weight about 28lbs, should help with fuel economy, even though I did add weight on the tire side with the run flats...

Preview:
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Hey all!

I received the new wheels and tires. First things first, the OEM 18" wheel with regular tire mounted weighs 51.7lbs! The 16" BBS wheels with the usually heavier run flat tire is weighing in at 42.2lbs. We are talking about a 9.5lbs reduction of rotational mass from each corner. That's a total of 38lbs of rotational mass.

I had some trouble sleeping last night so I got up extra early to mount the new wheels on the A3e and I'm very pleased with the aesthetics. Then, I took her for a drive to run some errands. The first thing I noticed, is how little effort the car had to put in to get going, shaving off 38lbs of rotational mass has made a very clear and obvious difference. I live up a pretty steep and long hill, I have to climb about 700ft to get to my house from the highway and the difference was again, very noticeable, she climbs up the hill with a lot less effort. I tend to try and keep the power gauge at around 25% for economy and climbing up the hill with that much was a slow affair. Well, I'm happy to report that the car zips up at least a few mph quicker at the same 25% power.

I had some concern about the run flat decision I had made as they are known to be stiffer than regular tires, but all that was erased within a few seconds of driving. The car is much more compliant over the horrible bay area roads and is also significantly more quiet as a result. This is how this car should feel in my humble opinion. The steering has lightened up which puts less stress on the steering components in slow speed full lock situations which I do a lot of to get the car where it needs to be parked.

Additionally, the suspension seems to be slightly more focused as it's no longer pushing back on the larger and heavier wheels. I couldn't be happier with the decision I made. The 16" wheels had no issues clearing the front brake calipers with a safe amount of room and driving this car has become so much more comfortable. I'm a happy camper.

I will post a picture when I get the chance. Personally, I think driving this car with 18" wheels is a mistake that can cause a lot of extra and unnecessary wear and tear to your ride. Obviously, everyone has their preferences and I respect them for it, hopefully someone here disagrees with me because now I have a set of OEM 18s available for sale with a good amount of tread left, I'll likely go to vortex and craigslist to post up the wheels but let me know if anyone here has any interest in them.

I'll make sure to come back for more feedback after some time passes to make sure you get a longer term opinion as well. Cheers.
 
I run a set of 16" wheels and snow tires for winter.

I got the wheels as new-old-stock off ebay ($356.50 total for all four including shipping and then I had four 215/55-16 Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 mounted. These were, IIRC, a wheel originally for an earlier A3 from before 2010.

I had the dealer put them on before taking delivery on a snowy day in December of 2017. Here's a picture I took that night.


8264.jpg
 
btw another thing to be thankful for is that the TPMS system doesn't require physical sensors to be installed in the wheels. I previously had a BMW (E92) and the thought of having to replace TPMS sensors after 5 yrs or so (and multiply that by 2 for the winter set) was a deal breaker when I was done with that car together with the awful awful run flat tires. My first BMW and most likely the last... The build quality I found was also not up to the Audi's standard.
 
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