Snow tires for a 2001 BMW 325 Sport
October 21, 2005 9:00 AM   Subscribe

A couple of questions on snow tires for BMWs...

Like many others who lived in Boston last winter, I started thinking about getting snow tires in mid-August. I have a 2001 BMW 325 Sport. Two questions:

1. Any specific tire recommendations for this make/model?

2. My boss used to have a 5-series, still has the snow tires, and told me I could have them if they would fit. I'm not certain about the model number of the car or tires, but I could find both out if necessary. Is it even possible that these tires could work on my car?

And yes, I've seen this thread, but I didn't feel it came close enough to answering the question, thanks.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Depends on the type of 5 series your boss had, but I don't think the tires will fit, as your car (with the sport package) has 17 inch tires while his probably had 16 inch tires. Now if he still has the wheels as well, there's a chance but again, depends on the year of his car.

I had Nokian Hakkapeliitta 2 winter tires on a former Audi of mine and they were really fantastic. They're a bit pricey, but if you search around you may find a deal.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 9:05 AM on October 21, 2005

Try Tire Rack. They have a good selection of winter rubber and complete information to help you make a selection.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2005

It really depends on what you anticipate the conditions to be like. If you're concerned about performance on ice, Bridgestone Blizzaks are still unbeatable (much better than the Michelin X-Ice). Bridgestone makes a new ice tire called the REVO1, which is (supposedly) even better on ice, but sacrifices even more in handling on dry roads. If you're more concerned about snow and slush, I'd recommend the Nokian Hakkapelliita RSi or the Toyo Observe GO2.

Blizzaks have a special "squishy" layer on them that works better the colder it gets (but don't keep using them once more than half that layer is gone). The trade-off is that they're not very good high-speed tires. If you're concerned about traction over speed, and expect a lot of ice, Blizzaks are best. If you live in the burbs or the city where roads are frequently plowed, and you're concerned about sticking to slushy roads, get the Nokians.

It helps to generalize the nature of the weather in the different locales of tire manufacturers--there home market tends to dictate their design guidelines. In general, Japanese tire companies (Bridgestone, Toyo, Yokohama) tend to emphasize stop-and-go performance on ice, European manufacturers (Michelin, Pirelli) design for cold but dry roads (with a minor consideration given to brief snow storms), and Scandinavian manufacturers (Nokian) try to balance snow and ice performance equally.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:43 AM on October 21, 2005

Nokian is the manufacturer that most of the hardcore winter drivers rave about. Blizzaks are a solid second.

Used to be that if you bought your Blizzaks from an authorized dealer, you'd get free changeovers for 4 years. Dunno if they still have this policy. If not, it's probably worth it just to buy the winter tires mounted and change them over yourself. Should take you 20 minutes to do it safely.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:51 AM on October 21, 2005

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta is an amazingly good tire.
posted by tumble at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2005

Finnish magazine Tekniikan Maailma tested new studded and unstudded winter tires this year. They tested ice, snow, dry asphalt and wet asphalt grip and handling.

The best unstudded tires were Continental Conti Vikingcontact 3, Gislaved SoftFrost 3 and Nokian Hakkapeliitta RSi, with the Nokian being better in more slippery conditions but slightly worse in dry conditions than the other two.

Studded tires are generally speaking vastly better on ice, somewhat better on snow and, but noisy on dry roads. The best studded tires were the Michelin X-Ice North with Continental Winterviking 2, Gislaved Nord Frost 3, Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4 and Uniroyal MS Plus Nordic following close behind, with Gislaved noted to be very quiet.
posted by lazy-ville at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2005

And while Bridgestone's Noranza stud tires scored rather well, their Blizzak WS-50s placed last of the unstudded tires, with extremely poor performance on all surfaces.
posted by lazy-ville at 10:47 AM on October 21, 2005

There's probably a name for this problem...

Watch out for the effect that the snow tires will have on your speedometer. Since the snow tires are probably slightly (or not so slightly) bigger than your regular tires (due to deeper tread), the additional circumference distorts the indicated speed down. I got several speeding tickets on my hand-me-down snow-tired VW Rabbit until I figured out that the speedo was indicating 10% low.
posted by intermod at 3:37 PM on October 21, 2005

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