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Would it be a mistake to go up one size on the wheels and down one size on the tire profile?
I'm sure it would make for a bit rougher ride, but would it improve handling on a mostly street driven and occasionally track driven Elise? I gotta admit it would look good, but I wouldn't do it if it threw the handling off. It would give one a lot more wheel choices.
I've noticed BMW offers that option on their M3.
 

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Lotus is already increasing the wheel size over the current model for the Federal version. The tires are pretty darned low-profile as it is...so I doubt you will see a handling benefit that you would notice on the street.

On the other hand, you will probably notice a lot more bumps in the road, especially if you don't spend the ton of money required to keep the wheels lightweight.

And start looking for these tire sizes: 225/40-18, and anything narrower than 205 in a 17" tire...
 

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Bigger wheels = more weight

More rotational mass = slower acceleration

(even) lower profile tyres = more sudden breakaway (less margin) on the edge

The 16/17" combo on the S2 is already for 'marketing' reasons. The Lotus engineers wanted to keep the 15/16" setup from the S1 as it's a better setup.

The S1 was actually even originally designed to use 14/15" wheels as that was 'optimal' from a handling and weight perspective, but this was getting too tight for the brake size and marketing decisions changed that.

I'd think very hard and long about fitting bigger wheels (unless you want it for the "bling bling" factor! :D )

Keeping the diameter, but going to a somewhat wider setup (eg. 7J front, 8J rear) to accomodate (semi)slicks is an option though. For real slicks you probably get a wider choice in tyres by going back to a 15/16" setup.

Make sure you uprate the suspension in this case though as the standard setup gets overwhelmed by the additional grip, making it unsettled in long fast corners.

Bye, Arno.
 

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But the BMW is an entirely different proposition from the Elise.

The wheel/tire package on the elise will be pretty agressive for a stock fitment as it is.

Chris
 

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You're buying a car from LOTUS, not Toyota, Ford, etc. You must keep this in mind. There are very few car companies out there that are so dedicated to making a car HANDLE. If larger diameter wheels made a better Elise, then it would have them. I think it'll be difficult, maybe impossible, to improve performance over what Lotus offers. Their two variants - the street version and track version - will be highly optimized for those environments.
 
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