Rubber-Wrapped Wagon Wheels - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

2014 BMW i3: Rubber-Wrapped Wagon Wheels

April 20, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Our 2014 BMW i3, has some crazy tires: 155/60 up front, 175/55 at the rear. That's a throwback to OG Beetle-skinny, but now wrapped around 20-inch wheels. Think of them like a modern wagon wheel or a big, fat BMX tire.

2014 BMW i3

You'd think with only about 6 inches of front rubber rubbing the road, the i3 would be a skittish thing, and you'd be partially right! It's easy to overdrive the front tires just by flicking the wheel a hair too quickly. The stability system is keenly aware of this behavior and responds with heavy braking, both regenerative and physical.

So learning the limits of these glorified stroller tires is crucial to having fun in the i3, but surprisingly that's really their only downside. They don't catch grooves or hunt around. They don't crash over potholes. They don't make a lot of noise. They're just kind of there, cutting a narrow path and keeping the car off the ground.

Bonus: they're only about $150 each. In a time when virtually every car is over-tired with annoyingly grippy, stupid-wide, way-too-expensive tires that perform great on a skidpad (our i3 pulled a whopping 0.73g) but aren't any fun, these things are a revelation.

Now if only BMW would let me shut all the nannies off and have some fun...

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 4,105 miles

2014 BMW i3

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2014 BMW i3 Research