How much bigger can wheels get? Audi design boss has answers
Are we reaching the limit?
If 80s Sci-fi Hollywood movies are anything to go by, cars shouldn't still be driving on roads by now. Instead, they should've either hovered over the surface or fly past everything.
And yet, in reality we're still stuck with wheels. But now, they're getting bigger by the minute. The biggest ones money can buy right now are 23-inches. But that might be the limit, claims a man who should know.
In a conversation with Motor Authority, Audi Design Boss Marc Lichte declared wheels bigger than 23 inches "make no sense" and "package wise, I would say this is definitely close to the limit". He further enunciated on the possibility of these 23-inch wheels to stick around for the next four to five years.
According to him, electric cars will either be of the same size or become smaller in the future. The reason being the packaging. All-electric vehicles comprise of smaller components which allow for larger interiors. Although this might directly translate to a football ground-akin interior space, this could also lead to a future where we may have smaller, non-SUV type cars.
While the future is still….erm years away, let's get back to the present. More specifically, the recent unveiling of the Audi RS Q8 with 23ers. Though car enthusiasts have criticized it for compromising ride comfort, Litche was happy to see it make it to production on the RS Q8. He mentioned that designers always sketch cars with big wheels. Fabricating this sketch is when big wheels lose their viability for reasons such as cost, driveability, and practicality.
At present, Audi offers all non-RS models with wheels 1-inch smaller to their RS derivatives. A typical example is an A6 model. The largest set of wheels available with the standard A6 are 21-inches, but with the RS6 Avant, the range starts from 21-inches with options extending to 22-inches.
While the thought of seeing a 24/25/26-inch wheel in an Audi brochure may seem quite progressive, the Americans might already be ready with it. In a recent media encounter, GM's design chief, Michael Simcoe, stated that we should get prepared for 26-inch wheels. And if you're wondering about those wheels looking enormous and absurd on a car, Simcoe's reasoning was "The wheel style will be styled to suit the vehicle itself, so pretty much anything goes". Hmmm… as convincing as the moon landing.
And if you want something a fraction of that GM's upcoming massive wheel size, but that can still be driven, take a look at this.