For Audi enthusiasts

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7 July 2013

Funny thing about Audi’s rotor wheels. They’re a handsome wheel design, but they’ve become a bit overly ubiquitous in their use within the Audi lineup. There are the deep dish style on cars like the RS 5 and titanium-faced variants on nearly everything else. On the TT S line competition these stalwarts come in a matte black finish, which makes for a fresh take on a common theme. As a result, the stock wheels on our TT have garnered plenty of attention, but there’s always the temptation to try something different.

Choosing the Wheels
Of course there’s no shortage of wheel designs and fitments out there for the Audi owner looking for an upgrade.  A quick perusal of our TT Mk2 forum showed a wide range and we’ve highlighted many of those in our project car section, like HRE modular wheels on our Project TTS-SF series. In contrast with that series, our S line competition is a bit more factory in its theme so we decided to go for something more OE+ by finding a factory application.

While factory in our taste, we also wanted to install something new and that hadn’t been done before. Given our car’s Samoa Orange paint was launched on the R8 GT, we figured wheels from that limited edition supercar would be an exotic and rare addition.

4 Season Audi TT S line competition: Wheels & Tires

We’ve seen a number of TT models in Ingolstadt, parked in executive spaces and wearing R8 front wheels all round. We knew this sort of wheel fitment had been done before and we were able to confirm with a contact at quattro GmbH that the wheels would in fact fit though with the reminder that this setup is not approved by the factory.

Why aren’t they approved from the factory? The fitment is slightly different. Our stock 19-inch TT wheels were 9-inches wide with an offset of ET52. The R8 front wheels are only 8.5-inches wide but the offset is 10mm further out at ET42. Overall, we predicted the wheels would poke out slightly further than the stock fitment and we were warned they’d likely rub in the rear where a bumper attachment point sits.

We decided we could live with that and ordered up four matte titanium R8 GT wheels (now also R8 V10 plus wheels) from our local Audi dealer along with matching titanium center caps and lug caps since our S line competition came with black equivalents. We also ordered a set of factory wheel locks and some bling valve stem caps while we were at it.

4 Season Audi TT S line competition: Wheels & Tires

Here’s a rundown of what we purchased, along with retail pricing current at the time of this writing.

420-601-025-AP, R8 GT Wheel – qty. 4, MSRP $969.00 ea.
4B0-601-170-A-7ZJ Center Cap – qty. 4, MSRP $52.60 ea.
321-601-173-A-Z37 Wheel Bolt Cap – qty. 20, MSRP $1.40 ea.
4F0-071-455, Audi Wheel Locks  – qty. 1, MSRP $74.00 ea.
4L0-071-215, Audi Valve Stem Caps – qty. 1, MSRP $41.00 ea.

4 Season Audi TT S line competition: Wheels & Tires

Choosing the Tires
Given we’d retained the same diameter wheel, we could have swapped over our stock Toyo summer tires. However, the expected rubbing side-effect of our more aggressively positioned R8 GT wheels had us thinking we’d retain the stock wheels and tires for any possible track days or driver schools we might attend. Instead we opted to pick up a second set of tires and for that we turned to Michelin.

Michelin is a longtime supplier to Audi’s Le Mans efforts and this year the tire’ company’s tech raised eyebrows with a trick new intermediate slick tire. That tire fitted to the R18 e-tron quattro was able to perform well in multiple conditions, like instances when weather at the track varied. It might be raining hard on the Mulsanne straight and sunny in the Ford Chicane. In this situation, Audi Sport went for the Michelin with a wide degree of applications.

Since we were making a big investment in wheels, we decided to go with a flexible tire that could see duty through this summer and into the winter of our Pennsylvania climate. Turns out Michelin also has a new all season application in the Pilot Sport A/S 3. We decided to give them a try and stuck with the same factory tire size of 255-35-19.

Like the slick intermediates used in Le Mans, Michelin boasts that these new Pilots are ideal for both wet and dry weather alike. In fact, Michelin claims the setup has more dry grip than competitive max performance summer tires. They also say the tires boast the shortest wet and dry braking of leading competitors in the ultra-high performance all-season category. Finally, they’re claimed to work in cold weather, which will be important once winter sets in.

4 Season Audi TT S line competition: Wheels & Tires

Thus far the Pilot Sport A/S 3 has been on our TT for about a month. Our impressions suggest the tires exhibit improved wet weather handling with no compromising of dry weather handling.

As suggested by our contact at quattro GmbH, the tires do rub slightly. This only comes at considerable compression of the rear suspension. We’ve not dropped the car, but the factory suspension on the TT is already quite low and this does result in brief rubbing on the road. The rubbing is increased if the car is carrying more weight or being driven rather aggressively, though the sounds also seem to be diminishing slightly as the corners of the tires are more worn. We’ve been watching the outer corners of the tires around the tread and perceive no visible damage as a result of the rubbing. As it turns out, it is a nuisance but thus far we’ve perceived no additional side effects.

4 Season Audi TT S line competition: Wheels & Tires

As for looks, we’re enamored. These are R8 GT wheels after all, so would be handsome on anything. That said, the more aggressive offset fills out the fenders in a more visually satisfying way while the matte titanium finish of the wheel makes for improved looks… at least to our eye.

Our TT has also made its first car show debut since installing the tires. It was displayed at Cult Classic in Pennsylvania last week. Most liked the look of the wheels though we were surprised how few knew what they were and how many who did thought they were replicas because R8 GT wheels aren’t exactly plentiful on Ebay or Craigslist. That said, these wheels are available at your Audi dealer at a fairly reasonable price and make a most unique and excellent visual upgrade to an Audi TT.

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