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View Full Version : Abarth 16" wheels versus 17" wheels



Armchair Bronco
08-14-2013, 10:34 PM
Hi there,

First post on the site! I'm gearing up to pull the trigger on a Nero (black) Abarth, but I'm having a tough time deciding what size tires to get. Please weigh in with any opinions, pro or con, about either 17" or 16" rims / tires.

My Situation

I live in a suburb of Seattle, WA so I need something that ALWAYS works well in the rain. During the winter, I like to ski and every few years there is a HUGE ice + snow storm where I live, so in the winter I'd like something that will give me a chance to get around in the Abarth in snow and ice.

The 17" rims come with summer ties, so if I get the 17" rims I'll also need some winter tires. The dealer said I'd get the best results by having a dedicated set of 16" snow tires (he said the smaller tires will be more grippy in snow), but this seems like an expensive option. Can I get reasonably good results if I use 17" winter tires, then switch to summer tires from say April through September?

Other Pros & Cons

17" - more expensive option, about $1,300 more
17" - sportier and better trackhandling
17" - stiffer, bumpier ride in the city or on rough roads

The 16's are cheaper and have a smoother ride, but the rim + tire combination isn't nearly as mean looking as the 17's.

Joeremi
08-15-2013, 12:00 AM
I started a thread about 16's in Abarth General Discussion a few days ago. It doesn't relate to your weather conditions, but I picked up my Nero Cabrio with 16-inch wheels today, and I disagree that they look inferior to the 17's. You may be right about the 17's being "meaner", but I like the smaller-rim/taller-tire look of the 16's. Thay have a vintage racing vibe that I think fits the Abarth's "nod to the past" design well.

Fiat500USA
08-15-2013, 12:27 AM
Welcome to the forum! Tough choice. I live in the north east, so I understand about the weather. What I do on the Audi I drive during the winter is switch the summer tire/wheel combination to a 15 inch set of alloys with aggressive snow tires. I don't like the ideas of garages mounting and dismounting tires off of my rims because there is always a chance they mess up and scratch a rim. If you order a car with 17 inch wheels, you can probably get a set of used set of 16 inch wheels to throw some snow tires on or check Tire Rack for winter tire/wheel combos.

When the 17 inch wheels were $1000, it was a good deal for a set of forged rims with P-Zero Neros. Now that the price on the 17s went up, you may find a set of aftermarket 17 inch wheels you like better, so you could buy a car with 16 inch wheels and put the $1300 you save towards an aftermarket set of 17s. You may even have some money left over to apply towards 16 inch snow tires.

Take a look at what's available to help you decide. Either way I recommend having just a set of wheels you use for the winter with aggressive snows on them. Can't beat a good snow tires on all four wheels.


Here is a picture of the 16 inch wheels. Actually pretty nice looking.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-YPJccD9Ev-A/T1Bq39f89DI/AAAAAAAALBM/gYSawK4RMJA/s640/Fiat500USA.com-Fiat_500_Abarth-Press_Event%2520133.JPG

Armchair Bronco
08-15-2013, 02:34 AM
Thanks for the feedback. It's a tough choice because I really prefer the look of the 17's (both the rims and the tire profile) but I also recognize the importance of having great winter tires (and the 16's fit this bill better). Maybe I should just do what the dealer suggested and get a set of both 16's and 17's. if I can score a set of 16" Abarth rims I would be golden.

Are the factory rims available for purchase from Fiat? I have yet to see any aftermarket 16" rims that look even half as nice as the stock Fiat Abarth ones.

hownowcb
08-15-2013, 12:37 PM
I chose the dark 17" wheel/tire combo for my grigo Abarth, but living in Minnesota, I've always had a set of dedicated rims for winter tires. No risk of damaging either the rims or tires from repeatedly mounting/demounting the tires from season to season. Plus, you can swap tires yourself whenever the mood suits you, or have a tire shop do it for you. If you've bought any wheels or tires from a place like Discount Tires, for example, they typically swap mounted tires for me for free!

I got these rims in 16" for my winter tires: http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/WheelCloseUpServlet?target=wheelCloseUp&wheelMake=ciao&wheelModel=Vernazza&wheelFinish=Matte+Graphite+Silver&partnum=CV56535498MG

Most of the time, I actually think they look even better on my grigio Abarth than the Abarth 17" rims do! (Then I gently slap myself.) They're available in the correct bolt pattern and offset for our Fiats, too. I don't know the prices for original 16" Abarth rims, but suspect they're more expensive than these aftermarket ones. I think either one would look good on your Abarth.

I chose Michelin X-ice 2's in 205/50 x 16, and was insanely happy with their performance last winter. An added benefit: the 16" Michelins and the stock 17" Pirellis both read 100% accurately on my speedometer!

Haring
08-15-2013, 12:42 PM
OP mentions the other option was doing a winter on the 17's. Has anyone done this? I was going to look into all season tires since I have the wheel warranty.

TorbenDK
09-12-2016, 09:53 AM
What is the partnumber on the 16" Abarth Alloy ??
The local Fiat dealer can't find it.

pr0d1gy9
09-12-2016, 10:59 AM
Personally I would go with the 16's right now that way you can swap on winter tires soon since summer is just about over. This also allows you to take your time choosing a 17" rim that you think will fit the bill.

Robert Nixon
09-12-2016, 09:41 PM
I think everyone is missing the EASY solution!

Buy another FIAT with snow tires!

You're welcome!

(just kidding! I think it comes down to availability of summer/snow tires in the 16 or 17 inch sizes, which gives you more options, and what price range you are looking for in tires. I haven't checked lately, but I think there are more tire options in 17 inch, so that might be the way to go all around. If you find a real cheap set of wheels of any size on the forum or some "take-offs" from our sponsors like Madness, that might be the cheapest way to get a 2nd set of wheels)

Cezary
10-22-2016, 03:10 AM
I have my Abarth on 17" and wouldn't go an inch smaller. Think its much better looking and drives much better. I live in Ireland and we usually don't get any snow during the winter. Just rain, a lot. But, when it snows, there are no snow plows or gritters, people are not used to driving on ice and snow here and panic.

What I would suggest is to go with 17" and buy cheapest rims for standard 500, steel 15" I think? Get a nice narrow winter tyre and you'll be sorted. Traction on narrower tyre in the snow and ice is much better. .

That's what I do with my Audi when I come home for holidays. 18" with 235/35/18 tyre for summer and set of steel 15" with 185/65/15 for winter.

Andre5
10-22-2016, 12:38 PM
23994
These are my 16" Premium wheels. Downsized from the factory 17s and have no regrets.23995

Trunkout
10-22-2016, 01:47 PM
I think 16s in our already too big Abarth wheel wells look small.
17s look just about perfect. And you can't have my white 17s...especially now that they are NOT an option!

Fiat500USA
10-22-2016, 10:47 PM
http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=23994&stc=1
These are my 16" Premium wheels. Downsized from the factory 17s and have no regrets.http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=23995&stc=1

Those are gorgeous wheels.

Andre5
10-23-2016, 01:23 AM
Those are gorgeous wheels.

Thanks! Don't see them too often. OEM Premium wheels on 2015(?) and newer Abarths. It took me about 6 months searching on craigslist, multiple Fiat forums and finally ebay. They'll look even better once I get my Abarth lowered. The improvement in ride quality alone made it worthwhile for me.

jdigjudy
11-02-2016, 06:00 PM
I have to say that while I like the look of the 17" wheels and low profile tires, driving it on the freeways and city streets is not very comfortable - with the stock Pirellis, it follows every groove in the road (and they are noisy tires).
However, on the track, this wheel/tire combination is an absolute blast.
Of course, with 11k miles on the tires, a belt is showing - so - it's probably sensible to get smaller wheels and bigger cushier tires for the street and save the blasters for the track.
Just my 2 cents - wish I had bought it with the smaller wheels since 95% of the driving I do is on the street (unfortunately!).

ice445
11-07-2016, 11:34 PM
The ride quality on the 17's is definitely questionable, but I just can't get over how good they look. I live in Toledo, which has some of the most terrible roads in the country, and I'm just going to live with it...lol

I will however look for a set of those Premium 16's as I do like them as well, and I would like having a second set for winter tires.

rustbucket
11-08-2016, 02:41 PM
The improvement in ride quality alone made it worthwhile for me.

Imho these are the best looking of all the Abarth wheels and considering some of the third worlds roads I sometimes drive on, it would be a better choice than the 17"s. My guess is the lower aspect ratio of the tires on the 17"s (40 vs 45 on the 16" wheels) has a lot to do with rougher ride.

You've helped me decide on wheel choice when I get around to getting an Abarth. When I had my '13 Sport in for service recently, I looked at a new '16 Abarth (I've had the Abarth itch for quite some time) with these wheels (WGE is the factory code iirc), Rhino color, and Nero trim headlights- car was absolutely stunning to look at. Had the stock Nero cloth seats which I prefer to leather and the Comfort/ Convenience group ... the heated seats and satellite radio have spoiled me in my Sport. Great price ($5K off sticker + extra $500 off from FiatUSA- under $20k before TT+L) ... I seriously thought about coming home with it but I didn't think asking for forgiveness later from the finance director (aka wife) would work this time. Plan is to get an Abarth before I retire and after retiring, try my hand at some autocross. If another wheel size is better for that, it's an easy change.

Andre5
11-08-2016, 10:56 PM
Imho these are the best looking of all the Abarth wheels and considering some of the third worlds roads I sometimes drive on, it would be a better choice than the 17"s. My guess is the lower aspect ratio of the tires on the 17"s (40 vs 45 on the 16" wheels) has a lot to do with rougher ride.

You've helped me decide on wheel choice when I get around to getting an Abarth. When I had my '13 Sport in for service recently, I looked at a new '16 Abarth (I've had the Abarth itch for quite some time) with these wheels (WGE is the factory code iirc), Rhino color, and Nero trim headlights- car was absolutely stunning to look at. Had the stock Nero cloth seats which I prefer to leather and the Comfort/ Convenience group ... the heated seats and satellite radio have spoiled me in my Sport. Great price ($5K off sticker + extra $500 off from FiatUSA- under $20k before TT+L) ... I seriously thought about coming home with it but I didn't think asking for forgiveness later from the finance director (aka wife) would work this time. Plan is to get an Abarth before I retire and after retiring, try my hand at some autocross. If another wheel size is better for that, it's an easy change.

Sounds like a nice set up. Glad I could help you out a visual example. Good luck with getting the purchase order approved ;)