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Audi Once Made a Wheel That Stuck out Past the Tire

Several years ago, Audi did the unthinkable: they debuted a vehicle with wheels that stick out past the tire. And not slightly past the tire, but a few noticeable millimeters past the tire. The vehicle in question is above, although Audi actually used this wheel design on a few wheels — and it’s laughably bad design that should never be repeated.

Here’s the rundown: the first car to use this design was the “B5 S4,” which came out in the late 1990s. Audi wanted a high-performance wheel design for a high-performance car, so they created this basic look — and then, when the next-generation S4 came out in 2004, Audi doubled down, increased the wheel size and really made sure people associated this look with the Audi “S” models.

Only, there was a problem. Specifically, the wheel design had the spokes stick out past the tire — and the (obvious) problem there came with parallel parking: if you hugged the curb a little too closely, your wheel would scrape on the curb, even if your tire hadn’t yet hit the curb. Curbing your wheels is already a challenging issue, but the B5 and B6 S4 models made it especially easy to do — and the same was true of the 2002-2003 Audi S6 Avant and the S8 from the period, too.

These days, if you happen upon one of these cars on the road that’s still wearing its stock wheels, you’re almost guaranteed to see curb damage — and not on the rim of the wheel, like in so many cars, but instead on the spoke itself, which makes things look rather unsightly. If you’ve ever wondered why this damage is so common on these wheels, that’s your reason — they simply stick out too far. Find an Audi S4 for sale

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  1. Honda alloys (and even their plastic wheelcovers) stuck out beyond the tires all through the 90’s and 2000’s.

  2. Chev Equinox/Pontiac Torrent et al had this design in the late noughties as well. Five spoke wheels that had bulges in the spokes that stick out MASSIVELY. The tires are at least tall enough to avoid curbing, but as someone that changes tires, they are a NIGHTMARE to get tires off of.

    • I know this is really weird, but I love the way they look too! I’ve always liked that generation of Audis… (Audii?)

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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