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Is this because of the 4-wheel drive on the ML? Or can you also stagger the wheels on an ML if you go aftermarket? I want to get new wheels for my ML, probably 19's or 20's, with a slightly wider tire than stock, but I'm wondering what effect a wider front tire will have on handling. <br>
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Thanks for all advice/opinions.<br>
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Staggered defeats the purpose of AWD and might cause your...

ESP/ASR/ABS to malfunction. AWD requires you to have the same width,size on all four corners.
 

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Other AWD has staggered setups....

I believe the X5 4.4i with sports package and X5 4.6is have staggered setups and they don't have any problems. The X5 AWD also uses electronic traction control system and ABS similar to the ML's with no problem with the staggered setups.<br> <br> I think that most people won't drive the ML55 like they would drive the E55. Also, you probably can't drive the ML55 like you would an E-class. Even with the ML55 AMG suspension, an E320/E420 with the sports package 17' wheels will handle better than the ML55.<br> <br> The X5 on the other hand is closer to it's 5-series sibling and will take advantage of the staggered setup.<br> <br> Again, who knows?
 

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Re: Staggered defeats the purpose of AWD and might cause your...

Not true. Staggered tire set-up does not defeat AWD!! First of all the reason of the staggered set-up is to put more rubber contact surface on the driving axle. In the case of the E55 having a powerful engine the stagger set-up will help channel the power to the ground during acceleration. In the case of the ML55, being an AWD vehicle, it already have two axles channeling power to the ground (plus the heavier curb weight will limit/minimize loss of traction on the rear axle). However the AWD version of the E55 (E55 4-matic) also have staggered set-up. Understand that the 4-matic AWD system will channel most of the torque to the rear axle until it detects slippage at which time it will lock the center diff to channel more torque to the front axle.<br>
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The Porsche 993 turbo is another example of powerful engined AWD vehicle with staggered set-up. What is interesting on the Porsche is that it uses only viscous center diff to control the AWD. The Porsche 993 set-up actually have the rear tires diameter slightly larger than the front tires. The set-up will mostly channel the power to the rear axle. However as the car gains speed, the difference in diameter between the front and rear tires will be amplified. This in turn will heat-up the center viscuos diff which will increase the locking between the front and rear axle. This according to the Porsche engineer increases the straight line stability of the car as the speed increases.<br>
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With AWD, usually as long as the rolling diameter between the front and rear axle is the same. Staggered set-up should not be an issue. On AWD car which uses Torsen (torque-sensing) center diff, rolling diameter between front-rear axle should be equal or you will burn/destroy the center diff.
 
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