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Replace 19" BMW 535i GT Wheels with 18" Wheels

I am interested in buying a BMW 535i Grand Turismo with the sport package.

Without the sport package the GT comes with the following wheels/tires:

18 x 8 light cast alloy with 245/50 run-flat all-season tires (front and rear)

With the sport package the GT comes with 19" (or 20" optional) wheels/tires that are different on the front and rear:

19 x 8.5 light alloy with 245/45 run-flat all-season performance tires (front)

19 x 9.5 light alloy with 275/40 run-flat all-season performance tires (rear)

I rotate my tires every 5000 miles on my current vehicle and this helps me extend the life of the tires and saves me a little money over the years. I would like to do this on my new car. With the tires that come on the sport package I would be unable to do this.

I think I have found a dealer that would allow me to swap the 19" wheels/tires on a GT with the sport package with the 18" wheels from a GT without the sport package. The 19" wheels/tires are about $1000 more than the 18" wheels/tires. I believe that I can make up in tire purchases over the next 8-10 years I plan to own the car and would have more tire options with the 18" wheels (as per a local tire dealership owner).

Questions: If I did this, would I be making a mistake? In particular, would this have a significant effect on the handling of the vehicle? Would I be saving a little money at the expense of road handling safety?

Thanks for your input.

It would handle somewhere between a non-sport and a sport, so I wouldn’t think there’d be a problem. The larger BMW wheels are also know to be easily damaged by curbs and potholes, so you might be saving some additional money there. I’d do it.

If the sport package also includes beefier brakes, the 18" wheels may not clear the calipers. You may want to check this out to be sure.


I have the same problem you will have on my MR2. The fronts are smaller than the rears. I have the tire shop take the tires off the rims, and then swap sides and remount. That evens up the wear by changing which side of the car they’re on.

I do find it somewhat amusing that someone who is willing to drop $60k on a car would be overly concerned with the cost of tires. Anyway the cost of set of tires for a 535i GT with the sports package would be roughly $1000-$1100 or so. Whilst a set of tires for the base model runs about $900-$1000. You likely won’t make up the difference in the lifespan of the car, as it would take 9 or 10 sets of tires plus the cost of the tire rotations to make up the difference assuming all the tires have similar lifespan. Keep in mind both the 18 and 19 inch tires are of the high performance variety and you’ll be doing well to get much more that 30k miles a set.

It seems to me that you’ll save the most money forgoing the sport package in the first place. You’ll give up a little grip with base model, but the only “functional” part of the sports package seems to be the upsized tires, the rest is mainly interior trim and some minor styling tweaks.

Check with the dealer about the suspension on the two cars. If spring rates and struts are different then the car suspension is “tuned” for the tires that come from the factory. Changing the tire set up can affect the performance of the car, most likely for the worse.

If you are planning any winter driving with this car, save your money on tire rotations and buy winter tires for the car. Rotate the tires by going from summer to winter tires as per season. The tires that come on the car are summer tires and will be awful in the snow.

Otherwise if you have different tires front and rear just keep the car aligned and don’t rotate the tires. That way they will wear evenly on the axle where they are mounted. Rotating tires tires doesn’t make them last much longer, it just makes them all wear out at the same time so you buy a set of 4 replacements.

Yes, this is a mistake.

First, BMW’s are noted for their use of camber to improve handling - which in turn results in a tendency to wear tires unevenly. You can’t get around this by rotating tires.

Second, one of the parts of getting the sport package is to get the good handling tires - and not using them is going to compromise the handling. Can’t get around that as well.

So it seems your strategy doesn’t make sense.

The depreciation during the first 6 months of ownership will FAR exceed the cost of your tires over the LIFE of the car…

Putting the big meats on the back lets them post dazzling numbers during magazine road tests. In the real world, on public roads, you will never notice the difference, except at the tire store, but we have already covered that…

Independent from the tire question I would advise you to test drive a model with and without sport suspension. Many people believe the sports package is a valuable add-on. I disagree. It makes the ride bumpy and harsh. If you look for any kind of luxurious and smooth ride quality you’d be better of forgoing the sports package to begin with. When purchasing a used 5 series recently I went to great lengths avoiding the sports package. But then I bought a BMW because of its refinement and not because I want to go particularly fast or look the part.

But that was not the question you posted. I just thought I’d voice my unneeded opinion.

Well i guess that would be a mistake because changing the based model of bmw wheels will decrease your handling capability. You will be sacrificing a little grip. A car with that HP should be always in 19" wheels. That’s my opinion.