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I'm plaaning a "loop" of Australia in an Audi A3 quattro, which I estimate at about 15,000 kilometers total. The majority will be on sealed roads but I expect the more interesting aspects of the drive to be on unsealed roads, likely 100-200km off the sealed highway. I appreciate a 4WD is probably the 'ideal' vehicle but I'm not interested in buying one specifically for this trip.

In the past, I've done long multi-thousand km trips and thought that I just needed road tyres. However a couple of times I've nearly been stuck just travelling a small distance offroad. If there has been heavy rainfall (common in Northern Australia), a soil with a lot of clay looks like regular dirt but gets very slippery & muddy. I figure an off-road tyre may offer better puncture resistance as well.

So I'm seeking an off-road tyre for a 2011 A3 quattro. The current rim is a 17 inch. I figure I will need to drop to a 16-inch rim to find a more off-road tyre i.e. a tyre profile like 215/65R16.

So (I believe) my questions are essentially:

  • What 16-inch rim will replace the Audi 17-inch and keep the same offset?
  • What off-road tyre sizes will generally fit the above rim? I imagine that manufacturers aim for specific sizes for offroad tyres (happy to have specific tyres nominated)

Update:

Trying to answer my question by working backwards, a Michelin LTX Force can be had at 215/65R16. A 215 tyre width would dictate a rim width of either 7 or 7.5 inches according to https://www.tyresizecalculator.com/charts/tire-width-for-a-wheel-rim-size-chart. So for that tyre, a 16inch rim of 7/7.5 inch width with the same offset and pattern would fit.

  • Are you asking for advice on what kind of rim/tire to buy? Or what sizes/types you'd need to suit the off-roading? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 10 '19 at 1:00
  • I've updated to some specific questions. Got a bit carried away with the preamble. – timbo Jan 10 '19 at 1:06
  • I'm afraid this is looking more and more like a shopping question, which would be off-topic. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 10 '19 at 1:18
  • I'm tryiing to avoid a shopping question of course. I need to determine what offroad tire sizes are available in order to determine what wheel rim spec i can fit. I suppose I can just go and ask a vendor/tyre fitter. – timbo Jan 10 '19 at 1:22
  • The Audi Quattro won several rallies on varied surfaces - check out what they used... – Solar Mike Jan 10 '19 at 7:57
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A 2011 A3 is on the 8P platform, for a 16" rim it should be 6.5Jx16 ET50 and the tire size is 205/55R16, a 215/65R16 tire is going to add 2" to the total diameter (vs the standard 225/45R17 tires that will be on the existing 17" rims, 2.5" extra over the 205/55R16) which is quite a lot and I'd be very concerned about it fouling on the arches, particularly on the sort of terrain you describe. And of course it will throw the speedometer and odometer accuracy out in the process.

You don't mention the variant you have but the 16" should be fine for pretty much all of them barring the 3.2FSI or the S3 (16" won't fit over the brakes on those - you have to be 17" and up)

PS: When shopping for rims you'll want to consider the strength of the wheels as well - budget alloys may seem attractive from a cost perspective but could soon be a false economy if they can't take the hits. If cost is a concern steel wheels might be a better bet.

  • Great answer! Gives me some good info on rim and appropriate tire size. Your comment about steel wheels re strength is very pertinent. This video from a rally school mentions that entry level rally drivers use steel wheels - youtube.com/watch?v=_gIVD1mzM9I And it seems that Stock level rallycross drivers will simply use snow tires - medium.com/@JimRowland/…. So my current thinking is: snow tires on steel rims. – timbo Jan 10 '19 at 23:54

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