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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I;m waiting for my delivery of a white S GT and am trying to decide on wheels and tires. The stockers are 18" Dunlop 215-45 18 and I am planning on michelin Pilot 3 A/S in 215/45-18 but am conflicted over wheels. We have sort of narrowed it down to OZ Ultraleggera bright silver, 18 x 8 ET 48mm and OZ Formula HLT Grigio Corsa (matte grey) in 18 x 7.5, ET 47 mm.

Does anybody have any experience with either of these? What are your opinions? I found a couple photos of these wheels on white cars (I think the photos are of 19" but close enough to get an impression).

With the 215/45 be stretched on an 8" wide wheel. I am not a big fan of the stretched look.

We were interested in the Enkei TSP6 in gunmetal, 18 x 8, ET 45mm but tirerack says they won't fit. Anybody have these?

Thanks.
Ed
 

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well typical tire size that's on the speed3 are a 18x7.5 Dunlop 225/40. You could go 8' on a 225/40 and be fine. But if you stay with a 215 you will be stretched just a tiny. if i was you is stick with 225 or maybe go up to a 235. But as far as the wheels go Id go with the Ultraleggra. Cause that the type of wheel i want just in the race gold which will cost me $401 each
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.
 

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Tirerack is always super-conservative with their fitments so that they can guarantee OEM-like reliability. From looking under a Gen 3 I'm sure an 18x9 will fit if not 9.5. There's a good chunk of room for tire too.

Unless you're die-hard going for fuel economy I would put 235/40/18 on the 8" wheel. The slightly shorter sidewall will improve the effective drive ratio as well, I would expect no drop in mpg's.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have learned some things on this board. I have been doing a lot of searching. I did not know that the Speed3 had different tire clearances than the Mazda 3. Know this lets me balance some of the fitments I have found here. I don't know if the 2014 Mazda 3 has the same as the previous generation.

I know my '14 3s GT will have 215/45-18 tires. I want to replace the factory 18" wheels and tires with better pieces. I am not a big fan of stretched tires.

I also see some suggestion of going to a 225/45 in place of the 215/45. Is this a safe bet with a 18x8 ET 48 and 18 x 7.5 ET 47? I plan to lower with some eibach spring.

I found a few photos and posts that confused me. One (black car)had 18 x 8 with 215/45 RE-11 and they were not stretched. Another Mazda 3 (silver car) had 18x8 with Conti DWS 215-45 and they did stretch some. Is it the difference in tire brands that make stretch or am I missing something. i assume an 18 x 7.5 would not poke most any 215/45. Is that a safe assumption? A third photo (red car, Speed 3, I think) showed an 18 x 8 wheel with 235/40 DWS. From what I have read, this seems pretty large but perhaps the fenders were rolled or camber was set pretty negative. I've even seen references to mounting 245/40-18.

I have a lot to learn.

My goal is just to get some good looking wheels, better tires and lower a bit. I like the near flush look but would probably not roll fenders, maybe. LOL

Thanks for looking at all my questions.
 

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If you know the OEM wheel offset, that'd help alot along with a measurement from the tire to the fender, both front and rear.

Edit: I vote for the Ultraleggeras, but I'm a bit partial to them already....:D
 

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Hi, I;m waiting for my delivery of a white S GT and am trying to decide on wheels and tires. The stockers are 18" Dunlop 215-45 18 and I am planning on michelin Pilot 3 A/S in 215/45-18 but am conflicted over wheels. We have sort of narrowed it down to OZ Ultraleggera bright silver, 18 x 8 ET 48mm and OZ Formula HLT Grigio Corsa (matte grey) in 18 x 7.5, ET 47 mm.

Does anybody have any experience with either of these? What are your opinions? I found a couple photos of these wheels on white cars (I think the photos are of 19" but close enough to get an impression).

With the 215/45 be stretched on an 8" wide wheel. I am not a big fan of the stretched look.

We were interested in the Enkei TSP6 in gunmetal, 18 x 8, ET 45mm but tirerack says they won't fit. Anybody have these?

Thanks.
Ed
I have a 2014 Mazda 3 I SV w/ OZ Ultraleggera (black painted), 18 x 8 ET 48mm and Bridgestone RE-11 215/45/18.

Getting 8" wide wheels has made steering side to side a lot harder. Turning the wheel into a turn used to be easy. But I noticed that I really have to turn into the turn in order to get what I want. I would warn you that getting 8" tires will result in more under-steer. I'd say about 30% more understeer.

I'd also say that you should go as light as possible. I feel like my car is slower now, slightly, even though my wheel combo (44lbs) is the same as the stock 16" steelies+stock tires (44lbs). So idk why my car would feel slower to accelerate. I would recommend Michelin Pilot Super Sports because they are super light for their class.

OZ Ultraleggera bright silver, 18 x 8 ET 48mm would basically be as close to flush with fenders without tires rubbing on fender. If I were to slam my car, my tires would clear the fenders by 1-2 mm. Backs would be fine, but fronts wouldn't be able to turn more than 30 degrees.

My tires are 215/45/18, and they are not stretched. According to Tirerack.com, 8" wide tires is within the recommended width for 215 wide tires (although it is at the top limit). If I were you, I'd go with 225 tires though.

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I hope this helps you in making the right decision and not regretting later on. I regret not getting lighter wheels :( But I'm very happy with the wheels though :)
 

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I have a 2014 Mazda 3 I SV w/ OZ Ultraleggera (black painted), 18 x 8 ET 48mm and Bridgestone RE-11 215/45/18.

Getting 8" wide wheels has made steering side to side a lot harder. Turning the wheel into a turn used to be easy. But I noticed that I really have to turn into the turn in order to get what I want. I would warn you that getting 8" tires will result in more under-steer. I'd say about 30% more understeer.
If you have the same contact patch and the same size tire and the same offset, I don't understand why steering would be harder or you would have more understeer. I think most of the change is going from 16" wheels to low profile 18" wheels and not the fact that you have 8" wheels. Perhaps the power assist is set up differently for the i models than the s models and each suspension is optimized for the OEM configuration. Perhaps @color0 or some other wheel guru here could comment. By the way, the OZ Ultraleggera design is becoming one of my favorites even though I might prefer a contrasting silver to the black on this car. You guys have me seriously considering a wheel upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
JoJo,
Thanks for the input. I put together a spreadsheet for the higher rated 215/45 and 225/45 18" tires. I calculated the section with for 7.5 and 8.0 wide rims. I attached it in 3 formats but all are the same data.
 

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If you have the same contact patch and the same size tire and the same offset, I don't understand why steering would be harder or you would have more understeer. I think most of the change is going from 16" wheels to low profile 18" wheels and not the fact that you have 8" wheels. Perhaps the power assist is set up differently for the i models than the s models and each suspension is optimized for the OEM configuration. Perhaps @color0 or some other wheel guru here could comment. By the way, the OZ Ultraleggera design is becoming one of my favorites even though I might prefer a contrasting silver to the black on this car. You guys have me seriously considering a wheel upgrade.
There's no one effect causing steering effort but a couple factors pile up.

1) Sticky tires: all else equal, sticky tires will require more effort to turn them. You'd notice this in parking lots.
2) Lower (wider) offsets: actually reduces the force you need to deflect the tread, but moves it away from the steering axis so the torque you need to apply to the steering wheel usually goes up.
3) Wider tires: wider contact patch needs more force to deform it.

That said, I doubt that the difference in feel for @Jojoyoking is caused by anything other than the tire. RE-11's are a sticky bastard compared to whatever junk Mazda throws on the 18" stockers. Try them in 285/30/18 and suddenly the steering feels almost as heavy as a (non-M) BMW.
 
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There's no one effect causing steering effort but a couple factors pile up.

1) Sticky tires: all else equal, sticky tires will require more effort to turn them. You'd notice this in parking lots.
2) Lower (wider) offsets: actually reduces the force you need to deflect the tread, but moves it away from the steering axis so the torque you need to apply to the steering wheel usually goes up.
3) Wider tires: wider contact patch needs more force to deform it.

That said, I doubt that the difference in feel for @Jojoyoking is caused by anything other than the tire. RE-11's are a sticky bastard compared to whatever junk Mazda throws on the 18" stockers. Try them in 285/30/18 and suddenly the steering feels almost as heavy as a (non-M) BMW.

@color0 I've had lots of experience with stickier tires and have not noticed that much of a steering change. I've even gone to racing tires that only lasted 8,000 miles and not noticed much of a steering change. That's why I thought the steering and suspension geometry might be different between the i models and the s models. There is a ride difference between the models so that would suggest there is a difference. Since it is electronic steering, they could use the same components but it could be programmed differently. It would be interesting to talk to a Mazda engineer to determine if there is a difference. Remember, this guy went from 16's to 18's and not just from stock tires to RE-11's. But then again, this is not my area of expertise...
 

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I see I've mis-written something again lol...

16" vs 18" matters only in the timeframe between the sidewall deflecting and the tread being moved relative to the ground. It barely factors into the overall perception of "steering effort" but more so into "precision". Steering geometry differences affect, but in production cars, won't dictate how sensitive a car is to added width or added stickiness. The steering axis is the steering axis and they're all more or less in the same place for every passenger car on the road.

It'd be a terrible business case for Mazda to have to differentiate the cars' subframes on the factory line, you already know that.

Width is the big player in changing steering effort. Stickier tires do affect it a bit, try on a car without power steering. But width and offset way more important.
 
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I see I've mis-written something again lol...

16" vs 18" matters only in the timeframe between the sidewall deflecting and the tread being moved relative to the ground. It barely factors into the overall perception of "steering effort" but more so into "precision". Steering geometry differences affect, but in production cars, won't dictate how sensitive a car is to added width or added stickiness. The steering axis is the steering axis and they're all more or less in the same place for every passenger car on the road.

It'd be a terrible business case for Mazda to have to differentiate the cars' subframes on the factory line, you already know that.

Width is the big player in changing steering effort. Stickier tires do affect it a bit, try on a car without power steering. But width and offset way more important.
I see that you also have Bridgestone RE-11's, but in 285/30/18 o_O"

Did your steering get tougher too?
 

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Width is the big player[/B] in changing steering effort. Stickier tires do affect it a bit, try on a car without power steering. But width and offset way more important.

@color0 But his tire width is exactly the same as on s models. If there was no factory differentiation, then it shouldn't be that much different. Remember the power steering is electronically controlled. It is just a setting in the computer and not something different they would have to install at the factory. That's the logic that led me here...

That said, your argument makes sense but doesn't explain the difference he is seeing, again, because the tire width he is using is stock. One other thought, could there be an air pressure issue here? Perhaps the tires are underinflated?
 

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Wider wheels with same tire will put more tread on the ground, much like a wider tire. I also think Jojo is exaggerating a little bit because the Gen3 steering effort is zilch compared to my car, and though I haven't driven his in person I'm going to guess there's no way 215-225 RE-11 produce more resistance than 285. My steering is tougher than stock but by no means tough. That distinction goes to the MR2 I drove a while back with sticky tires and no power steering.
 

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Wider wheels with same tire will put more tread on the ground, much like a wider tire. I also think Jojo is exaggerating a little bit because the Gen3 steering effort is zilch compared to my car, and though I haven't driven his in person I'm going to guess there's no way 215-225 RE-11 produce more resistance than 285. My steering is tougher than stock but by no means tough. That distinction goes to the MR2 I drove a while back with sticky tires and no power steering.
While I agree with you about Jojo, I had a lot of mathematics and physics in college and the 14% increase in rim width would only calculate to be about 1/10th of an inch in tread width on the ground. That's only a 1% increase in tread width. It is just hard for me to believe that a 1% increase in tread width would cause any perceptible change in steering effort. Since you've had experience with ultrawide tires and think the steering effort is not that greatly increased, that only verifies the conclusion. If Jojo is telling the truth, then it must be something else. I really don't know beyond that. Since the steering effort is a computer controlled event and just programming (and that I know), I would conjecture that the i models may be programmed differently than the s models, but I don't know that as a fact. It would still be built exactly the same on the line. The tires could also be underinflated. There may be other reasons as well which is why I brought you into the discussion.

In any event, great discussion as I always seem to learn something from your posts.
 

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While I agree with you about Jojo, I had a lot of mathematics and physics in college and the 14% increase in rim width would only calculate to be about 1/10th of an inch in tread width on the ground. That's only a 1% increase in tread width. It is just hard for me to believe that a 1% increase in tread width would cause any perceptible change in steering effort. Since you've had experience with ultrawide tires and think the steering effort is not that greatly increased, that only verifies the conclusion. If Jojo is telling the truth, then it must be something else. I really don't know beyond that. Since the steering effort is a computer controlled event and just programming (and that I know), I would conjecture that the i models may be programmed differently than the s models, but I don't know that as a fact. It would still be built exactly the same on the line. The tires could also be underinflated. There may be other reasons as well which is why I brought you into the discussion.

In any event, great discussion as I always seem to learn something from your posts.
Stock wheels on I SV = 16x6.5 wheels
I upgraded to 18x8 wheels. That's a 1.5 inch increase in wheel width.

My tires are always inflated to the manufacturer's recommended 36 PSI (cold) on the side door in the early morning.
 

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Wider wheels with same tire will put more tread on the ground, much like a wider tire. I also think Jojo is exaggerating a little bit because the Gen3 steering effort is zilch compared to my car, and though I haven't driven his in person I'm going to guess there's no way 215-225 RE-11 produce more resistance than 285. My steering is tougher than stock but by no means tough. That distinction goes to the MR2 I drove a while back with sticky tires and no power steering.
I said it's about 30% harder to turn in. It's not as bad as you guys are making out to be.

30% = slightly harder to turn in. Just enough to make a noticeable difference. It's still easy to turn though. -.-
 

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Stock wheels on I SV = 16x6.5 wheels
I upgraded to 18x8 wheels. That's a 1.5 inch increase in wheel width.

My tires are always inflated to the manufacturer's recommended 36 PSI (cold) on the side door in the early morning.
The s models are 7" which is a 1" increase. I really think the s models are programmed to compensate for the wider tires since the steering effort is controlled by computer and not the suspension/steering structure. I've put much wider wheels on cars and not had anywhere near a 30% increase -- that is huge. It sounds like you may be overstating it considerably. Here's a test -- pick up a 50 pound weight and then 65 pounds. That's a 30% increase and it is huge.
 
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