The wheel game… yeah right. Or how the game gets out of hand.
Wheels are a funny thing. There are so many options. You come across your make on Google or at a show with some set of wheels and you think o0(that looks incredible; I want to try that). Or perhaps you see a set of wheels on a different make, search for your own, and then find that it hasn’t been tried and you want to be the first.
Wheels set a car apart from others like few other modifications. Wheels are a visual and performance modification which define a car, by look, by stance, by grip on the road and performance.
But it is easy to get carried away. For the most part OEM wheels are not flattering. Off the top of my head, other than the the Audi R8 wheels and certain Porsche wheels and maybe the VW GTI options there are just not that many that look great as an OEM set up.
From a performance perspective the A3 doesn’t need any larger than 18″ wheels. I’ve been considering returning to this set up. 19″ is showy and looks great on a stanced car or bagged car but the ride leaves a bit to be desired. On coilovers the 18″ wheels look pretty great. Depending on the tire size these wheel drop the car low but still allow for some real tire meat for a daily driver. The 19″ wheels fill out the wheel well much better and allow for some close stretching to find that fitment at the wheel well lip, but the smaller tires make for a real stiff ride in comparison.
I started with a favorite wheel of the last couple of years – the MRR HR2 19″ which I purchased from someone who had them on his show car. Trouble is that they had some scuffs and I really wanted to have them resurfaced. The worse thing you can do as an enthusiast with little discipline and a good eye for deals is actually go out looking for the deals. So while I looked for another set of wheels to run while I resurfaced the MRR HR2 I came across some Avant Garde M550 at an incredible price. But the offset was an aggressive +35 and not an easy fitment for the A3.
I love a challenge. So of course I went for them and soon realized that the 225 tire was not going to work and I would need to drop to a 215 sized tire. This leaves a very stretched look, desirable for some fitment designs, but in my personal opinion not my favorite look. Not to mention all of the added work which goes into making this kind of fitment, well, fit.
And then I came across another set of new MRR HR2. Why did I purchase them? I really have no idea. I was going to coat the damaged set in a custom color, since it seems that has rarely been done – and I still think that these wheels are one of my favorite show wheels. I just really like the design and the A3 takes to the five spoke wheel really well.
But now I have three sets of wheels, two sets of tires, and two sets of TPMS. Did I mention that no one in this economy is buying wheels these days?
Yes I am laughing at myself.