2014 Mazda3 S Touring Tires

JiinXC

Member
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2014 Mazda3 S Touring
Im looking for a performance oriented tire for the 14 s touring hatch which runs 215/45R18 stock. I only plan on having one set of tires that I autocross in about 8 times a year and put about 15K miles on. I have separate wheels and snow tires that I put on the end of November and remove the end of March so snow is not a problem.

Between cost, wear and the fact that the car isnt really competitive in HS Im not looking for a top of the line AX tire. Basically, Im trying to maximize tire life while getting some AX friendly tendencies and I want to minimize cost.

Should I consider looking at different tire sizes from stock? 215/45R18 seems to be a lower volume size with less variety. Should I consider 225/40R18 or even 235? Pricing seems to be a little better on 225/40R18, but what are some of the drawbacks of going wider? The biggest I can think of is increasing the chance of wheel damage since the tires sidewall will be smaller.

These are the four Im looking at if I stay at 215/45R18. Does anyone have first-hand experience with any of these?

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
BFGoodrich g-Force Sprot COMP-2
Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport
Hankook Ventus V12 evo2

I haven't done my homework yet on the 225/40R18 tires yet since I'm not sure I I want to go with that size.
 
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2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed
I'd say that the best bangs for the buck are the first two selections. You are correct in that if you jump up to 225s, there are many more selections like the Conti Extreme contact (another good bang for the buck) and the Michelin Super Sports (may be the best you can get). The good thing is that any of the four should meet or exceed your expectations. I wish I could swap out my OEM all-season tires but they have only 5200 miles on them. I may do the swap when I get new wheels - either Enkeis or OZs.
 

BrianM3GS

Member
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Mazda3 Sport GS-Sky 2012
Should I consider looking at different tire sizes from stock? 215/45R18 seems to be a lower volume size with less variety. Should I consider 225/40R18 or even 235? Pricing seems to be a little better on 225/40R18, but what are some of the drawbacks of going wider? The biggest I can think of is increasing the chance of wheel damage since the tires sidewall will be smaller..
Perhaps I'm missing something here...
Yes, shorter sidewalls increase the chance of tire and wheel) damage on pothole edges (and curbs hit in autocross)... but presumably the various combinations you're considering would have nearly the same overall diameter, and thus the same sidewall height. The aspect ratio would be lower for wider tires, but the actual sidewall height would be about the same... as close as you can get with aspect ratio in 5-point steps.

215/45R18: 25.6" overall, so 3.8" (or 96 mm) high sidewalls (45% of 215 mm)

225/40R18: 25.1" overall, so 3.55" (or 90 mm) high sidewalls (40% of 225 mm)
235/40R18: 25.4" overall, so 3.7" (or 94 mm) high sidewalls (40% of 235 mm)
245/40R18: 25.7" overall, so 3.85" (or 98 mm) high sidewalls (40% of 245 mm)

245/35R18: 24.8" overall, so 3.4" (or 86 mm) high sidewalls (35% of 245 mm)​

Once you've stepped down to 40-series, small width increases give you small sidewall height increases... until the tire is too tall, and you must step down again to 35-series (but eventually you can't fit the width in, anyway).

Other disadvantages of width?
  • Depending on roll angle, suspension camber, and tire compliance, if you get too wide without sufficient sidewall the tread won't stay planted and you're not gaining any traction.
  • More tire width means more gire weight; more tire width needs more wheel width to be effective, which means more wheel weight.



By the way, I was using the Potenza S-04 Pole Position spec chart for this (just the first one linked, for convenience), and I'm impressed how many size choices there are in this range.
 
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JiinXC

Member
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2014 Mazda3 S Touring
Thanks both of you for the info. Brian, I've never looked at tires that were different than the manufacturer recommended size so aspect ratio is new to me and you explained it well. I probably still have another month with my current tires, but I'll be picking up the pole positions shortly. I can't wait to see how much better the car is with proper shoes.