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I went through tirerack's online wheel selector and there are a lot of options? Should I stay with 14" wheels or 15, 16"? Is there any power difference between 14, 15, 16? What about handling?

What is a good price to pay?
 

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I am a big fan of OEM replacement wheels. Having said that, I don't have OEM wheels, go figure! Here is a section of the site with lots of OEM wheels - they can be purchased cheaply, fit perfectly, and are easy to find and replace. Aftermarket wheels can be better but make sure you know the sizing/offset/width/hub bore.

Economy, stay with 14x6" and do the 5th gear swap.

Performance, get 15x6.5 and do the 5th gear swap.

5th gear swap.
http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q_how_to/multi/5th_gear_swap.htm

16" is a bit on the large side and 17" is too large for the TDI IMO and your tires will have to be super low profile and will hurt performance/handling/economy. They may also rub against the suspension, etc depending on fitment.
 
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Borbets have been very popular for our cars...

The ultimate performance wheel is probably the 15x7 enkei rpf01 they are very light and the right size for performance. Not good for economy since it'll be very wide, but if that's what you're looking, for check it out. They are also relatively cheap since they are cast, if they were forged it'd be better but they are still pretty light as is.
 
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6 for economy, 6" is the width, less resistance and fine for most people

7 for performance, you will get better grip since you can use a wider tire. The cost is that the wheel will be heavier and you more resistance, you will get less economy.
 

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hub bore is the size of the inside hub hole, not the lug nut holes but the middle hole, if it doesn't fit you need to use a spacer or drill it out to fit
 
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It's not a good idea to drill it out because it might not be 100% true. A small error will make the wheel not seat right and it will vibrate. It's easier to just find a wheel with the correct bore.
 
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If you don't care about price, get a forged wheel.

It will be stronger, it can be lighter, and give better everything...except value. So keep in mind that OEM wheels are cheap and are the best value, forged aftermarkets are the best.
 

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Is it really worth it to get a forged wheel? How much fuel do you think you could save if you did get a forged wheel?
 

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Yes, not a lot of fuel savings but I'm 100% sure there will be some fuel saved.

Lighter wheels mean better handling AND better comfort, and lighter mass and lower moment of interia give better braking and acceleration. Less energy being put into spinning the wheels give better fuel economy. I am sure that the fuel saved will be well within the margin of error, maybe 1 or 2 extra mpg city, maybe .5 mpg highway.
 

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Honestly, if you keep the car for 10 years, which is a good span for a diesel, it's worth it. A realisitc price for new wheels might be $1200 instead of $500, that's a $700 difference. Spread out over 10 years, that's only $70/year. If you don't like them then used forged wheels are always in demand.

But don't buy forged wheels for fuel economy because you will be disappointed. Buy them for better handling, comfort, and performance because you WILL notice the difference.
 

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But don't buy forged wheels for fuel economy because you will be disappointed. Buy them for better handling, comfort, and performance because you WILL notice the difference.
My friend can't tell the difference between 1080i and 480 on my tv. It's highly subjective if you'll feel it or not. But I can tell you that for 17, 18, 19, 20 inch wheels, forging makes a big difference in weight, we are talking 10-12 pounds. Some stock cast 18 inch VW wheels weight 28 pounds, that's a boat anchor! 14, 15 inch wheels, the stock VW wheels, there's a minimal weight difference.
 
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