NEED YOUR OPINION: New wheel & winter tire setup

NEED YOUR OPINION: New wheel & winter tire setup

Tesla doesn't have a winter driving wheel & tire setup for P85+ owners. They say the standard 19" winter kit "will work great" (but then why insist that Plus buyers get 21" staggered wheels??), but I don't believe it. If anything, I do not want to go narrower in the rear, so I've been doing some research trying to find a good 19" setup that would work for the Model S that isn't OEM.

First, the OEM specs for the P+:
Front: 21" x 8.5" with 245/35R21 Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires
Rear: 21" x 9" with 265/35R21 Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires
5x120 with a 40mm offset & 65mm center bore

My proposed winter configuration:
Front: 19" x 8.5" BBS CH-R wheels with 245/45 Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II tires
Rear: 19" x 9.5" BBS CH-R wheels with 275/40 Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II tires

Tire specs:


Fitment estimates:


Now, my questions for you all:
1) Does this look OK fitment-wise? To my rather untrained eye, all the numbers look OK. The only place I think there's any risk at all is the fender clearance, and that seems reasonable on both.

2) Should I go with 19" for winter use, or 20" knowing that more sidewall does do better in snow?

3) If that 19" setup looks OK, what color wheel do you think would look best with a gray Model S? Here's a photo of my car:

And here are the colors the BBS CH-R comes in (silver, titanium, and black):

I think any of them might look OK, but which do you think might look the best?


carolinagobo | 17 settembre 2013


jat | 17 settembre 2013

I think you might have trouble with clearance in the rear with 19x9.5 -- I have 20x9 CH-Rs and there is barely a finger's width between the rim and the suspension. You should have .25" less room than I do, and it will be .25" closer to the hub (and the suspension angles away slightly, so it will be closer at the rim). My guess is you are probably ok, but if you do have any issue that is where it will be.

Regarding the color, mine are polished silver and I like then (my car is silver not gray) -- the titanium will be slightly lighter than the gray 21s you have now.

Here are pictures of my care with CH-R 20x9s all around, with 265/35ZR20 g-Force Rivals:

If you want any particular pictures of them, I will have them back on the car Friday morning when I go back to the track for an HPDE.

BTW, what website are those diagrams from?

cfOH | 17 settembre 2013

Thanks for the response. I like how the CH-Rs look on your MS!

What offset do you have on your 20" CH-Rs? BBS offers a range of offsets and I'll need to do the calculations to see if you have more or less suspension clearance than I expect to.

I used the wheel calculator here:

jat | 17 settembre 2013

Mine were 29mm offset, so at 35mm offset, .5" wider, and the suspension closer at the rim of a 19" wheel compared to a 20" wheel, you will have about .5" less clearance to the suspension than I have in the rear. It's kind of hard to measure that without it up on a lift and then the suspension will move (so that is me reaching over the tire and feeling blindly), but my guess is that is not a lot less than the clearance I have.

jat | 17 settembre 2013

Oh, and that's assuming the suspension geometry isn't changed on the P+ -- if it is, then you should be fine, but I assume since 9" rims fit fine they didn't change it.

cfOH | 17 settembre 2013

John, Does this photo show the point that you're talking about near the top? I'll have to check on my car tomorrow to see if it's similar on the P+.

cfOH | 17 settembre 2013
jat | 17 settembre 2013

I don't see the photo, but this is as good as I know of for where it was tight - the suspension at the top of the tire in the rear.

jat | 17 settembre 2013

Ah, that picture is the front -- since you are sticking with 8.5" wheels there, that isn't a problem (and in fact you have more clearance by using a smaller offset).

cfOH | 17 settembre 2013

John: Nah, I screwed up and posted a front image when I meant to post a rear. Anyway, the calculator says this setup is only 1mm closer to the suspension than the 21" 21x9 wheels that are OEM for the P+. But that doesn't guarantee anything since this is also a smaller rim size.

Ugh. If returning 4 wheels and tires wasn't such a pain in the butt, I'd just get a set and see.

jat | 17 settembre 2013

If the wheels you want are at a local retailer, you could have them test-fit the wheels before mounting the tires.

howardb33 | 19 settembre 2013


I am glad you are in Cinci with me!!! (in case I need personal consult)

Your questions and answers are highly valued to all Tesla owners.

howard red p85+

cfOH | 19 settembre 2013

So I'm backing away from 19" wheels and looking at 20" options due to the suspension clearance in the rear. Will post more details if/when I finalize something that works.

Gizmotoy | 19 settembre 2013

"They say the standard 19" winter kit "will work great" (but then why insist that Plus buyers get 21" staggered wheels??), but I don't believe it. If anything, I do not want to go narrower in the rear"

Based on my ten Cincinnati winters (UC Garage off MLK?), you're in for a decision. Traditional wisdom says that narrower is exactly what you want in the winter. That said, depending upon where exactly you are, as long as you're not up towards Dayton winters in Cincinnati are usually just wet with a few little snows thrown in.

You'd probably be OK staying wide, especially when you're only mating up performance winter tires instead of full winters. Given the length of winter back there, I wouldn't blame you. Then again, given RWD and all the hills, I'd be pretty tempted to take Tesla's advice and go narrow.

jat | 19 settembre 2013

When I put on the 20x9 CH-Rs tonight, I will try and get pictures of the clearance on the rear to help you decide.

cfOH | 19 settembre 2013

After more investigating, the 19" BBS probably won't clear the suspension, so I'm looking at some 20x9 Vossen CV3 with 245/40 front and 265/40 rear in the Pirellis. Fitment theoretically looks pretty good...waiting on pricing.

xradr | 19 settembre 2013

@ jat, cfOH,

Was thinking about the BBS CH-R 20's in black. Looking forward to any additional info you can provide. Thank much for all your work/pioneering!

jat | 19 settembre 2013

@xradr - you can see the pictures of my 20x9 CH-Rs above, and if you poke around my G+ albums you can see pictures of the clearance at the front (which is pretty tight).

jat | 20 settembre 2013

@cfOH - actually, I think you might be ok with the 19x9.5 CH-Rs -- I couldn't get any decent pictures, but it looks like about 3/4" to the suspension. In addition, the suspension part that is closest is the rubber boot around the air suspension, so it can move if the tire deforms enough to touch it.

cfOH | 20 settembre 2013

John: I've been talked out of going with 275 in the rear for winter tires, so I don't need 9.5" wheels...9" will suffice. But thanks for checking. My big challenge is combining a set of wheels with proper offsets with tires that have appropriate and matching sidewall ratios.

cfOH | 20 settembre 2013

Oh, John, one question: Is the 20x9 fit tight in the front because you put 265/35 tires on the front, or because of the width of the wheel itself?

The Vossens I'm looking at only come in 20x9, but I'm hoping 245/40 tires will provide enough room to avoid rubbing on the fender liners.

jat | 20 settembre 2013

Both - the 20x9 wheel is wider which increases the section width of the tire, but primarily the issue is the tread width of the tire. My calculations were all based on the distances from the center of the hub to the inside and outside edges of the tread, and they worked out pretty much exactly as expected. The outside diameter of 245/40R20 is exactly the same as stock, which means the wider tread width will get close. I think you will be ok, but the fronts might rub inside the fenderwell when you are at full lock, but personally I am fine with that as that will only happen when you are moving slowly, like turning into a parking space.