Wheels are getting absolutely massive as the years go buy, especially among performance cars and SUVs. Higher levels of performance, along with more and more weight, means that cars need bigger brakes and wider tires. To accommodate both of those, wheels must get bigger and bigger. And bigger. However, we may have reached the end of wheel growth. Or at least Audi design boss Marc Lichte seems to think so.
At the 2019 LA Auto Show, Audi unveiled its latest performance SUV, the RS Q8, and it sits on massive 23-inch wheels. Admittedly, those wheels are optional but still. Twenty-threes? That’s crazy. Though, Lichte seems to think anything bigger than that is unnecessary.
“Package wise, I would say this is definitely close to the limit,” Lichte told Motor Authority about the size of the Audi RS Q8’s wheels. He claims that anything larger than 23-inches “make no sense”, due to the smaller footprint of upcoming electric cars.
As cars become electrified, tires need to get a narrower for better rolling resistance. Also, EVs have regenerative braking, which means they need less physical stopping power, thus smaller brakes. Smaller brakes and narrower tires add up to equal smaller wheels. So moving forward, we likely own’t see anymore 23-inch wheels. At least not on any Audis.
Lichte did say that he likes massive wheels, as all car designers do, and that’s something he’s mentioned in the past. In fact, he claims that big wheels are some of the first things automotive designers draw, even when just sketching for fun. So he likes the fact that the Audi RS Q8 made it to production with mega rims. Though, those mega rims have reached their limit.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of enormous wheels. Anything over 20-inches seems absurd to me, unless they’re on some ridiculously large SUV. But even I admit that the Audi RS Q8 looks pretty awesome with its mighty wheels.