Originally Posted by ZippyNH
Look at the rim and tire weights...
The 16's are usually quite a bit lighter, and that translates into better turn in ( not sure if that is the correct term, but heavy rims act like gyroscopes, and resist getting turned, so lighter rims feel more nimble), and better acceleration. Ride and a bit of handling, not much in handling IMO, are the trade-offs.
As a note this thread could have been posted in Tires and wheels forum not suspension. Did the OP want me to move it there?
Better (more crisp) turn in has to do with the stiffness of the sidewall as a function of a lower profile such as 40 or 45 series or due to the construction of the tire's sidewall with stiffer materials such as kevlar. Lower profile tires as found on the 17" MINIs will handle better in turns as a result since the sidewalls don't flex much.
However the comfort of a lower profile tire is firm to harsh on anything but smooth roads. So potholes are especially bad on larger rims with stiff lower profile tires. Often there can be damage to wheels, tires and suspension and this could risk mushrooming of the top of the front towers due to transmitted force.
Before any MINI owner changes tires or wheels you can consider first what you want to do with the car. What do you need the wheels and tires to do?
Street driving only? Urban or commuting?
Good smooth roads or bad roads with lots of potholes?
You want a comfortable ride or better cornering?
You want looks over other things or you want higher mpg?
You want good braking and acceleration or you drive speed limit always?
You want something you use on the track or at driving school or street use?
You want something to use in all seasons and some light snow?
You want the tire to last a long time or you don't mind changing yearly?
You know what you budget for tires and wheels are.
You know if you want to keep the stock suspension or lower it.
Enkei PF01 Bright silver painted finish
15x7" 12.2 lbs et +35mm, $216 each uses 195/60-15
16x7" 14 lbs et +43mm $234 each uses 195/55-16 or 205/50-16
17x7 15.8 lbs et +38mm $243 each uses 205/45-17 or 215/45-17
Stock wheel sizes
15x.5.5" et +45mm about 12 to 15 lbs uses 175/65-15
16x6.5" et +48mm about 17 to 20 lbs uses 195/55-16
17x7" et +48mm about 20-25 lbs each uses 205/45-17
18x7" et+52mm about 20-25 lbs each uses 205/40-18
Note bigger diameter wheels are needed to fit over larger JCW brakes.
As you can see there are many choices.
Usually I start with the tires not the wheels. Since PF01 come in many diameters with close weights (all less than the basic MINI wheels in most cases) and prices, other than looks they are similar and not the limiting factor.
The tires are important because they will function to provide you everything you want in terms of handling, comfort, noise, treadwear, braking, etc.
If you live in a warm place and do not see any snow or temperatures below 40 degrees then a Summer tire would be fine but wear a little faster than an All Season tire of the same class. If you live where temps are often 35 or less or you see any light snow then an all season tire is best. If you have lots of snow you need winter snow tires/wheels to be safe unless you have some really short commute.
For the OP, You have an 03 MCS with stock 17" wheels and runflats? What is your budget for everything and are you keeping your stock suspension (you did some upgrades with WMW)? You live in the east, any need for All season tires vs snow tires?
You mentioned the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 tires but those only come as small as 205/45-17 so no dice with 16" wheels. Those are Max Summer tires $87 each 280 treadwear. Good on price but might wear fast.
For a little more on price and to fit both 16" and 17" wheels consider Continental ExtremeContact DW treadwear 340.
The offset of the wheel is how much the wheel position lies in the wheel well in relation to the suspension parts on the inside and the outer wheel arch trim above the tire which are common places to rub or bind. Each wheel has an offset with larger numbers meaning the wheel sits farther to the inside of the wheel well and smaller numbers meaning the wheel sits farther to the outside. If you use stock suspension then the smaller numbers are not generally a problem except the wheel looks like it is sticking out a bit more than stock.
For the Enkei PF01 the 16" wheel size is very close to stock in fitment (5mm wider than stock), and for the 17" it will be a little more to the outside vs stock about 10mm or 0.4" which is fine.
The biggest difference between the 16 and 17" wheels are the tire sizes. 195/55-16 is mostly for runflats so for non runflats owners use 205/50-16 for best tire selection or even 205/55-16 which is a little taller than stock but OK with stock suspension. Both are comfortable sizes for general street use and work fine.
For 17" wheels you cannot easily use any 50 or 55 series tire and will be looking at mostly 45 series tires which are not as comfortable but OK when using non runflats.
If you need a good all round tire for any weather with longer wear in both 16" and 17" sizes then consider-
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