Thoughts on this winter/cold weather setup - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums

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Old 23rd February 2012, 14:10   #1
JoeFromPA
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Thoughts on this winter/cold weather setup

Hi all,

I live in a part of PA where winter can fluctuate a great deal - probably 2/3 years, I'll only ever need to drive on light snow - 1-2". However, from November-March (5 months) it is regularly down to freezing temps. So mostly it's either dry roads, wet roads, or lightly slushly roads. Rarely any genuinely snow-packed or icy roads for more than 2-3 days a year. Once every few years, we get pretty regular snow all season and while the roads are well plowed and salted, I'll be driving on or through several inches.

So in essence, I need to run a setup 5 months of the year that can handle freezing temps, slush, and light snow. When considering the beast is a 4000 pound RWD car w/ LSD & DSC, this says to me "all-season tire" (maybe witha pair of tire socks in the trunk to slip on in case of emergency).

So this is what I'm considering:

1. From tirerack, Rial Salerno 17x8 wheels & michelin pilot sport all season plus in 245/45/17 - $1400 shipped (roughly)

2. From tirerack, ASA AR1 18x9 wheels & michelin pilot all season plus in 255/40/18 - $1700 shipped (roughly)

3. BavAuto or similar, Beyern Mesh 18x8.5 wheels & kumho ecsta ASX in 245/40/18 - $1700 shipped (roughly)

My thinking is that a square setup is going to be best, michelin pilot sport all-seasons ride quite well, perform well, but have good longevity and modest capability in the snow. I won't mind having them on 5 months of the year, and I'll be able to reliably drive around in mild winter weather.

Any thoughts or suggestions? I'm wondering especially how the m5 handles mild winter weather with all-seasons on and responsible driving. I would RUN to get snow tires - but I have so little snow driving and yet have to be prepared 5 months a year.

Similarly, nearly 1/2 the rear I'll be running these wheels - so I want them to actually "fit" the car visually and ride nicely.

Feedback welcome.

Joe

P.s. For the sake of argument, this is my only car. When I have time to prep, I'd take my wife's subaru which is shod in all-seasons and does great. She's driving a ~3400-3500 pound car on 225/45/17 all-seasons and it does well. Heck, my 2850 pound FWD car running the same 225/45/17 all seasons does acceptably well.

Last edited by JoeFromPA; 23rd February 2012 at 14:11.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 14:19   #2
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If you get actual snow, all seasons aren't going to cut it. This is a lot different than an AWD car. I can't drive my car up my driveway (very slight slope) with all seasons in the snow. DSC isn't going to do jack when you start heading sideways and you intend to be going straight.

Of course my wheels are the source of constant ridicule, but I have a 3 sets, staggered 17" with "summer" tires, square 16" wheels with skinny all seasons for spring and fall and square 16" wheels with snow tires for November - February. I went with 16" wheels because they clear my brakes, but you get the idea.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 14:27   #3
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What's it like driving with skinny all-seasons on this chassis and level of power? (knowing you have alot more power than most, but still relevant)

I'm re-considering running a set of performance snows - I'm just afraid of the sacrifices they'll make.

One thing I actually find re-assuring is that the original 1997 540i 6-speed came from the factory with 235/45/17 in a square setup. Considering the tire advancements of the last 15 years, I'm willing to guess the M5 at least drives nicely with 245 wide tires considering it's still the same chassis and a not totally dis-similar level of torque. And an LSD.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 14:28   #4
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P.s. Rao, remember: tires are just oil made solid.....just saying....
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Old 23rd February 2012, 14:33   #5
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Snow tires suck when it is not snowing, there is no way around it. When it is snowing they are great. My car is very manageable, but I'm not a real racer .

For reference, my Legacy has all seasons on it and it does fine in the snow (although I drove it about 500 miles total last year )

I'm the wrong guy to ask about the difference in feel between a set of 235 tires and a set of 245s.

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P.s. Rao, remember: tires are just oil made solid.....just saying....

Last edited by rao; 23rd February 2012 at 14:34.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 15:25   #6
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You just described the perfect conditions for a winter tire I hated. Mich Alpin sucked when the snow got thick, but in all your conditions would have been excellent. Where I live we have thick snow most of the time, they were poor in that condition. In the condition you describe I would have rated them excellent. On the dry at winter temps you will get as good performance as you get from your summers in the summer.
The big thing a bout winter tires is they are designed for the temp.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 16:47   #7
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I'd either get a set of dedicated snow tires or park the car. All-season= no season.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 17:29   #8
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I have driven the Beast on both high performance all season (Bridgestone Potenza 960AS) and studless snow (Bridgestone Blizzark WS70) in the winter, and the difference is night and day. Anytime below 40F, the AS gets near the edge of its traction. On snow or in slush conditions, there's no comparison. The AS slips and slides even at 10mph when cornering whereas the snow tires plows through and stops quicker than any cars out there (to be fair, I only saw livery vehicles and SUVs out on snowy days). I may have gotten away with performance winter instead of studless snow, but ultimately I decided the risk for accident in inclement weather is greater than degradation of dry road steering response for 1/3 of the year (Dec to Mar). For completeness, I was running stock staggered setup on AS and OE 17" setup for snow.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 17:39   #9
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Mikey - That's a ridiculous sentiment shared by many but thats hard to hold in my type of climate. I spend 5 months on very cold roads with either dry or damp conditions, of which a few days have snow on them. As far as I know, a good all-season still outperforms a performance snow tire on dry or damp roads in 25-30 degree weather (which is what i have). So the bulk of my driving, and my driving time, might be safest with an all-season in the winter.

I'm not saying an all-season is absolutely the right answer - but they do have a place.

Also, my priorities aren't aligned to park a $20k car 5 months a year so I can instead put another car through the winter. I'm looking to drive the $20k through a relatively dry/unsnowy but cold winter without sacrificing the characteristics of that $20k car by putting on tires that ride poorly - but maybe it'll ride just great with a set of michelin pilot alpin 2s as one person stated.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 17:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerule View Post
I have driven the Beast on both high performance all season (Bridgestone Potenza 960AS) and studless snow (Bridgestone Blizzark WS70) in the winter, and the difference is night and day. Anytime below 40F, the AS gets near the edge of its traction. On snow or in slush conditions, there's no comparison. The AS slips and slides even at 10mph when cornering whereas the snow tires plows through and stops quicker than any cars out there (to be fair, I only saw livery vehicles and SUVs out on snowy days). I may have gotten away with performance winter instead of studless snow, but ultimately I decided the risk for accident in inclement weather is greater than degradation of dry road steering response for 1/3 of the year (Dec to Mar). For completeness, I was running stock staggered setup on AS and OE 17" setup for snow.
Thanks, that's really helpful. I've been driving on all-seasons for years and find them completely functional on my AWD and FWD cars (including driven fairly hard on dry roads in the winter). But the M5 is a very different proposition, and not one I want to risk...
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