When it comes to buying big, luxury performance cars, more often than not car manufacturers try and advertise as big of wheels as they possibly can. Big wheels are attractive, stylish and big selling points for a lot of customers. However, when it comes to actual performance, do bigger wheels actually help? In this new video from Auto Bild, we get to find out on the Audi RS6 Avant.
In this test, the team at Auto Bild took the all-new Audi RS6 Avant to the track with a set of 21″ wheels and 22″ wheels, to see how the car performed with each. First, it was a straight-line acceleration test to 100 km/h (62 mph), 200 km/h (124 mph) and 250 km/h (155 mph). That was followed by some hot laps around a track, to see if the bigger tires helped with cornering speed.
For some context, the 21″ wheels dropped the curb weight of the RS6 Avant from 2,138 kg (4,713 lbs) to 2,112 kg (4,656 lbs). So that’s a 26 kg (57 lb) weight difference between the two. The 21″ wheels were also fitted with Pirelli P Zero tires and the 22″ wheels with Hankook Ventus S1 Evo tires. Both tires are very grippy summer tires, so we’re gonna not going to assume an advantage for either.
During the acceleration test, the smaller 21″ wheels outperformed the 22″ wheels. From 0-100 km/h, the Audi RS6 Avant did it in 3.3 seconds, versus 3.4 seconds with the 22″ wheels, so a tenth faster. That lead increased to two tenths at 200 km/h, as the RS6 did it in 11.7 seconds with 21″ wheels and 11.9 seconds with the 22″s. To 250 km/h, the RS6 did the sprint in 20.2 seconds with 21″ wheels and 20.8 seconds with 22″ wheels. So a lead of six tenths. That’s actually quite significant.
However, during the circuit test, it was the 22″ wheels that outperformed the 21″ wheels. The Audi RS6 Avant set lap times of 1:35.85 with the 22″ wheels on Hankooks and 1:36.37 with the 21″ wheels on Pirellis. So it was almost a full second faster on the bigger wheels.
Again, we’re not going to claim a tire advantage one way or another but it does make sense that the larger wheel performed better on track. Being larger in diameter, it also gets a wider tire and provides better lateral grip, thus allowing faster cornering speeds.
This is actually a great test, as it proves which wheel choice you should get, should you be fortunate enough to buy an Audi RS6 Avant. If you want your RS6 to be a comfy highway cruiser, the 21″ wheel option is probably better for you; it’s lighter, so the car will be faster, and the added sidewall of the tire will allow it to be more comfortable. However, if you want your RS6 to be a bit sharper, handling-wise, go for the more stylish 22″ wheels; they’ll look a bit cooler and provide better lateral grip.