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19 sport wheels vs Aero - Ride Quality?

I know there’s many comparisons for looks between 19s vs Aeros.

I care more about ride quality / comfort.

I currently have a 21 M3 with 19 sport wheels.

Recently rented a 21 M3 with Aeros and the ride quality seemed much better - softer on bumpy roads and handling was still very good , I would say just as good as 19s.

Want to hear what ppl have to say about this - anyone go from 19s to Aeros for ride quality ?
 

tm1v2

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Oct 18, 2021
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More tire sidewall is always going to ride smoother. If you stay with the same tire model then performance should stay just about the same.

However in this case I suspect you're also feeling the difference between two different tire models. What tires do you have on your 19" wheels? The 18" aero wheels usually come with Michelin MXM4 which are a smooth-riding, low-grip, low-performance tire focused on efficiency and tread life. They have soft sidewalls and will definitely smooth out the ride vs most performance-minded tires, at the expense of handling, grip, and road feel.

Soft sidewall tires like snow tires or eco-minded MXM4 will accentuate the extra sidewall, but good performance street tires will have stiff sidewalls and still feel very responsive in 245/45R18 or 235/45R18 (the recommended tire sizes for a Model 3 on stock-sized 18x8.5" wheels). With stiff sidewalls they won't ride quite as smooth as something like the MXM4, but any tire will still be smoother with extra sidewall.

If you're after a smoother ride then switching to 18x8.5" wheels makes sense, you will get a smoother ride and cheaper tires with no downside.

If you have somewhat stiff performance-y tires on right now you can also switch to a smoother riding tire, but that will probably come with a performance downgrade, which you may or may not feel or care about in the driving you do.


Reference: I've used smaller diameter wheels on 3 cars now, including my 2021 M3P. In two cases I switched to smaller wheels permanently, the third was as winter wheels with snow tires. In two cases I dropped 2" of wheel diameter, the third I only dropped 1". I've also changed tires many times without changing wheels of course, between same-category and different-category tires.
 
I've had both - no measurable difference in the ride quality aspect, and I've had both with the same tires (Michelin MXM4). I've test driven a friend's M3P with 20's, and there's a noticeable ride quality difference there - combination of larger wheel diameter, stickier tire with stiffer sidewalls, and the performance suspension.

The Model 3's suspension is on the stiffer end of the spectrum in general, and it tends to be bouncy as well. Both of the Model 3s I've had ride more plush compared to my Corvette, but I'm sure a person coming from a Lexus LS460 would argue otherwise.
 
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tm1v2

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Oct 18, 2021
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I'll also add that Tesla has reportedly made the Model 3 suspension softer over the years (without any formal announcement / spec change). I can't confirm that firsthand, it's been too long since I've driven an older Model 3, but it's plausible that if your Model 3 is an early 2021 and the one you rented is late 2021, maybe the rental has a slightly softer suspension.

Changing wheels and tires will NOT change the feel of the suspension of course, the car will still have the same basic feeling going down the road, just with more edge taken off from taller or softer tires.

Lastly, was the rental the same trim level as your Model 3? A single motor RWD car is going to ride a little different, there is less weight up front, and I believe Tesla fits a slightly less stiff suspension to match the lower weight. I never tested a 2021 SR+ (RWD), but if I had to guess, I would guess it rides slightly smoother than a dual motor AWD car.
 
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Lastly, was the rental the same trim level as your Model 3? A single motor RWD car is going to ride a little different, there is less weight up front, and I believe Tesla fits a slightly less stiff suspension to match the lower weight. I never tested a 2021 SR+ (RWD), but if I had to guess, I would guess it rides slightly smoother than a dual motor AWD car.
My experience was the opposite, but I believe there may be other factors at play.

My 2019 SR+ was louder and clunkier feeling/sounding going over bumps, while my 2020 LR AWD feels/sounds more solid going over bumps and is quieter in general.
 

tm1v2

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Oct 18, 2021
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My experience was the opposite, but I believe there may be other factors at play.

My 2019 SR+ was louder and clunkier feeling/sounding going over bumps, while my 2020 LR AWD feels/sounds more solid going over bumps and is quieter in general.
Tesla's constant evolutionary changes to these cars makes this sort of comparison difficult. Not to mention the inconsistent build quality which significantly affects NVH in some cases. I'm guessing single vs dual motor had little to do with those 2019 vs 2020 NVH differences. Just a guess of course!
 
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I know there’s many comparisons for looks between 19s vs Aeros.

I care more about ride quality / comfort.

I currently have a 21 M3 with 19 sport wheels.

Recently rented a 21 M3 with Aeros and the ride quality seemed much better - softer on bumpy roads and handling was still very good , I would say just as good as 19s.

Want to hear what ppl have to say about this - anyone go from 19s to Aeros for ride quality ?

Major variable that can affect comfort:

  1. The suppleness of the given tire model. Even at the same size one tire may be more comfy than another
  2. Tire pressure. Running at 38psi may feel noticeable more comfy than 42psi
  3. Aspect Ratio. A tire with more sidewall, all else equal, will offer more compliance. But all is not always equal!
All of that is to say, if you are trying to get particular about this, just switching from 19s to 18s may get you no improvement in ride quality if you also happened to move to a more aggressive tire with stiffer sidewalls, or maybe the car you rode in had lower tire pressures. etc
 
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I know there’s many comparisons for looks between 19s vs Aeros.

I care more about ride quality / comfort.

I currently have a 21 M3 with 19 sport wheels.

Recently rented a 21 M3 with Aeros and the ride quality seemed much better - softer on bumpy roads and handling was still very good , I would say just as good as 19s.

Want to hear what ppl have to say about this - anyone go from 19s to Aeros for ride quality ?
My opinion is If you like the look there is no downside. Your car is smoother, faster and more efficient with smaller lighter rims. The main thing with larger rims is clearance for larger brakes and appearance. I don't see larger rims having any benefit even on the track.

I did the same thing with my S3 for awhile but in the end I couldn't live with the look of the car with smaller rims. So I just sucked it up and dealt with the terrible ride on my commute.

Interesting article on F1 tire sizes being increased New 18-inch tyres will make F1 cars up to 2sec slower - Allison · RaceFans
 
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The 18" aero wheels usually come with Michelin MXM4 which are a smooth-riding, low-grip, low-performance tire focused on efficiency and tread life. They have soft sidewalls
Wouldn't efficiency-focused tires have stiff sidewalls, because soft sidewalls consume energy as they squish and unsquish as they rotate?

Of course, the tires on 18" wheels have more sidewall than those on 19" wheels.
 

tm1v2

Active Member
Oct 18, 2021
1,590
1,239
USA
Wouldn't efficiency-focused tires have stiff sidewalls, because soft sidewalls consume energy as they squish and unsquish as they rotate?

Of course, the tires on 18" wheels have more sidewall than those on 19" wheels.
I can't argue with the theory, but they sure felt like squishier sidewalls to me than summer performance tires, comparing in 245/45R19 on 19x8.5" Model S wheels. They were also just very numb and low-grip. Even my wife, who was the one who wanted to try them, ended up feeling like they were too low performing. She doesn't feel the need for <= 300 TW summer tires like me but the MXM4 went too far in the opposite direction for her. She does drive aggressively at times...

The MXM4 were not as squishy as, say, ice & snow tires. I never use snow tires on the S but I have in 235/45 on other cars and I feel reasonably confident they were squishier. As you'd expect.
 
I can't argue with the theory, but they sure felt like squishier sidewalls to me than summer performance tires, comparing in 245/45R19 on 19x8.5" Model S wheels. They were also just very numb and low-grip. Even my wife, who was the one who wanted to try them, ended up feeling like they were too low performing. She doesn't feel the need for <= 300 TW summer tires like me but the MXM4 went too far in the opposite direction for her. She does drive aggressively at times...

The MXM4 were not as squishy as, say, ice & snow tires. I never use snow tires on the S but I have in 235/45 on other cars and I feel reasonably confident they were squishier. As you'd expect.
I think the OP already has an M3 with sport wheels. He could get more of an aggressive tire if he wants it to be more for performance. But the smaller rim will definitely be a smoother ride. Just because they put economy tires on the 18's doesn't mean you have to. So far they don't feel to bad to me even when I drive aggressive. I've only had it for a few weeks though. I usually run a Continental Extreme contact DWS they're a good mix of performance and longevity.
 
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