We are looking ahead to winter and this vehicle specific blog post takes an in-depth look at winter driving in a BMW 5-series.
As with most BMW’s the rear wheel drive nature of this vehicle makes it a challenge to control during the winter months. However fitting the right winter tyre, or wheel and tyre combination can transform this vehicle which is why our partner, Tyremen, has the 5 series packages as one of their best-selling winter solutions. Click here to see what’s on offer.
Our recommendations for safe winter driving varies depending on the age of the vehicle. We’ll start with the E60/E61 models (2003-2009). Base models generally come on tyre size 225/55R16 and by simply changing from summer to winter tyres in this size you will vastly improve the vehicles winter performance. The best 2 winter tyres in this size are either the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S or the Continental TS830 P.
Some of the 520 & 525’s may come on 17″ wheels as standard, usually with 225/50R17 tyres. With these vehicles you have a choice of going for winter tyres only, or you could also drop down to 16″ wheels & tyres if you prefer. Generally one of the main advantages of reducing wheel size is that you benefit from a narrower tyre which improves winter performance. Since both 16″ & 17″ wheels would be fitted with a tyre with section width of 225 then there is no real advantage here. 16″ wheels and tyres would be cheaper than 17″ packages so there is a saving to be had of around £270 on a set of equivalent products.
Larger engine versions such as 530 & 535 can be fitted with 17″, 18″ and in some case 19″. If fitted with 17″ then you can’t reduce wheel size any further because of the size of the brakes on these vehicles. Something to note is that BMW may also use the tyre size 245/45R17, this is the same overall size as 225/50R17. If fitting winter tyres to 17″ rims then we’d recommend using the 225 size, even if 245’s are fitted at the moment. The narrowness of the 225 really does help when it comes to driving in harsher conditions, even improves fuel economy!
Vehicles fitted with 18” could have 245/40R18 on both the front and rear, this would give the options of going for just tyres or a 17” package. In 245/40R18 again either the Wintrac Xtreme or the TS830 P would be the ones to go for. Some vehicles have a larger wheel on the rear with 275/35R18’s, if this is the case then the rear is too wide to really be effective. Sourcing a winter tyre in this size would be especially difficult and it would be better to consider a 17” package really. This is also the case with 19” wheels, the rears are far too wide to work in the winter. A 17” would have no problem fitting and would be much more effective. The vehicle would take on a different look, but we’re talking about winter driving so you need to consider practicality.
Just a note about run-flats, Tyremen offer 17” winter runflats which are suitable for 5-series by Dunlop. Many customers that own vehicles fitted with run-flats move away from them for winter which helps to keep the cost down. If you want to do this then consider buying a repair kit in case of a puncture and make sure your road side assistance is up to date.
Moving onto the new 5-series F10/F11 2010 onwards, things are slightly different here. The new models no longer come on 16” as standard, base models are fitted with 17” and rim sizes go all the way up to 20”. The wheel spec is a different too, so unfortunately if you move from an old model to a new one then you may well need a new winter set up, as always our advice would be to try and sell any winter tyres or wheels along with the vehicle sale.
If you vehicle came on 17” wheels then you can opt for just tyres or wheels and tyres, tyre size is slightly bigger now; 225/55R17 which can be run-flat or standard. Or partner keeps Vredestein, Goodyear, Dunlop & Continental in standard winter and Dunlop runflats , all of which are great cold weather tyres. Tyremen also offer a 17” wheel and tyre package for new 5-series which are very popular indeed. Steel wheels are not made for the F10/F11 so you need to look at alloys and Tyremen import the Alutec Design-E which is a perfect fit and takes the original bolts.
This package is suitable for all new 5 series, even if fitted with larger wheels than this as standard, this package is one of Tyremen’s best sellers. The same wheel is also available in 18” so drivers that want the keep the look of the larger wheel can get this from this option. The only issue with the 18” package is that you need a 245/45R18 tyre which is a rather expensive size and does make the package about £250 more than the 17″ option. Also the 17” package will be more effective because of the narrower tyre that is used!
We’ll just finish off by discussing the 5 series GT (Gran Turismo), if you are lucky enough to own one of these vehicles then a specific 18” wheel & tyre package is available. This uses the same 18” wheel used on the regular 5 series but with a different tyre size (245/50R18). Tyremen offer Continental winter for use on these packages which can be purchased in standard or runflat version.
We hope this is of use, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with our partner, Tyremen who have many years of winter wheel and tyre experience. Ring 0845 807 808 for more info.
Have you ran a 5 Series on winter tyres? Would you like to leave a comment for other 5 Series owners? Please do so below, your thoughts are just as helpful as ours.
The Winter Tyre Reviews Team