Audi Q7 winter tyres & wheels

by chris sanders on 10th August 2012

Welcome to the next in my series of vehicle specific posts offering advice on improved winter driving safety from the use of winter tyres and winter wheel and tyre sets. I’ve now moved onto Audi and will start with the Q7. Winter tyres and wheels for the Q7 are a really big seller for our partner Tyremen, but why would that be? The Q7 is 4 wheel drive, shouldn’t it handle harsh winter conditions with ease?

Will according to our customers although the 4WD gets the vehicle going, when it comes to turning and breaking in the snow (both of which are fairly important manoeuvres) the Q7 struggles. I think there are probably 2 main reasons; firstly the vehicles are so heavy that inertia is forcing them to continue the way they are pointing. Also many of the Q7’s have very wide tyres and although these are great for the summer they don’t work so well in the winter, it’s a case of the narrower the better when it comes to snow performance. So owners of the Q7 often look to improve winter safety by fitting cold weather tyres and they benefit from improved handling and much shorter braking distances.

So my advice depends on the size of wheel and tyre that you have fitted currently, I’ll start with the base models that are fitted with 18” wheels and it could have either 255/55R18 or 235/60R18 tyre fitted. These are the 2 smallest & narrowest sizes that can be used on a Q7 so most customers would opt to simply swap from standard summer onto winter tyres and this does have a dramatic difference to performance when the temperature drops below 7 degrees. In these sizes there are various brands of winter tyres available however by far our best seller is the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S. Made by a small Dutch company they are regarded at being the best in the business when it comes to winter tyres. The Wintrac Xtreme S are sensibly priced, offer fantastic winter performance in all wintry conditions and they also offer 2 huge benefits; they offer exceptional mileage and can be used year round without any significant drawback. Many of our customers swap onto these before winter and never take them off and there is no issue at all with doing this.

Because the 18” winter option works so well on the Q7 many drivers that have vehicles fitted with larger wheels will reduce to this size for the winter. If you vehicle has 19” or above fitted then to do this you need to invest in a winter wheel and tyre package. Our partner Tyremen imports a wheel called the Grip from Alutec in Germany which is perfect for the job. It’s a high quality alloy wheel that comes in an application that is specific for Q7, takes the original bolts and even comes with a 5 year guarantee. Tyremen can then add the Vredestein tyres for you and the set would come fitted and balanced and ready to be swapped over. They use a 235/60R18 tyre which again goes back to the notion of the narrowest option is the best. These packages cost just over £1000 and are well worth considering if you plan on keeping the vehicle for a few years. In addition to improved performance you would also save on the cost of changing tyres onto your existing rims (about £120 per year), plus you won’t be wearing your summers out whilst these are fitted.

Most Q7’s will take an 18” wheel, the only exception is the new V12 368kw where you would need to stick to a larger size so should just consider changing tyres.

If you can’t bear seeing your vehicle on a smaller wheel and just want to swap tyres then this is still possible there is just an issue with 19”. For some reason Audi have chosen the highly unusual size of 265/50R19, it’s always essentially impossible for us to source winters in this size. Pirelli do make a tyre but availability is always very poor and because they are unusual they charge a fortune for them, you’d actually find that the 18” wheel and tyre package would be cheaper than just the 19” tyres!

Many of the Q7 come on 275/45R20, Vredestein make the Wintrac 4 Xtreme in this size so you can source a good winter tyre. And what if you opted for the 21” wheels? Are you regretting this decision yet due to the tyre prices? I know they vehicles look fantastic with these wheels on but the tyres are not something I’d want to be buying regularly. However Vredestein do actually make a winter tyre in 295/35R21, in fact it’s one of the few sizes where they have brought out the new Wintrac Nextreme.

I hope this post doesn’t sound too much like a Vredestein sales pitch? It’s just that Tyremen have been selling winter tyres for a number of years now and when it comes to these big SUV sizes none of the other manufacturers come close. Many of the more recognised brands charge a fortune for their SUV winter tyres and they simply are not as good as the Vredestein products. Our customers use then in all sorts of conditions, often taking the vehicles on ski trips and we constantly get amazing feedback of how well the vehicles work with these on.

I hope this information is of assistance, if you need to know more then don’t hesitate in getting in touch with the friendly team at Tyremen on 0845 807 808.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Murphy March 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I just wanted say thanks for an excellent and informative article, to the point but full of relevant info for me. I am seriously considering buying a Q7 Sline + and the 21″ wheels are standard. For winter I definetely need winter tyres for where I live and the options you describe gives me great confidence that there are cost effective solutions, many thanks.

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Which Tyres March 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for your comments Steve – much appreciated!

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