How much bigger can wheels get? Audi design boss has answers

Are we reaching the limit?

1y ago

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.

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Comments (11)

  • Big wheels look just awful most of the time and from a practical standpoint they are always worse.

      1 year ago
  • What are thoseeee!!!!

      1 year ago
    • If you're talking about the header image then, the it's the initial envisioned sketch

      ...... of the...Q8.

        1 year ago
  • Meanwhile I'm still running on 17's! And they were the factory upgrade from 16's!! lol

    Although, my daily does come with 19's as stock. But it was first introduced with 18's. I would gladly stick with 18's but since the trim level came with forged 19's, I decided to keep them. They weigh a bit lighter than the original stock 18's that it first came with...

    personally I think these massive wheels are counter intuitive. Cars always ride better and perform better with a decent amount of side wall. I think the max would be 18's.

    SUV's are silly for running around on 22's with these tiny little disc brakes. How in God's name are you going to stop all that mass when your brakes look like they came off the entry budget sedan??

      1 year ago
  • Being honest, the bigger the rims, the less tire profile you have, and that affects at how you can go up sidewalks to enter garages, drive on dirt roads or withstand a unexpected speed bump, the less "cushion" you have available to play with the more careful you´ll have to drive to don´t damage your tires.

    Low profile tires should be a showcar thing only, In daily driving they have little to no advantages over high profiles

      1 year ago
  • 22s ..23s ... are we talking for wheels or TVs

      1 year ago