Technical Discussion

New APEX 17×9” Track Fitment for BMW E82 1 Series

Article | 06/29/2021 by Tom Maloney

The E82 1 Series is a fantastic platform that has become increasingly popular among performance-driving enthusiasts due to its ideal size, driver engagement, and affordability. Like many BMWs, the 1 Series in stock form is plagued by understeer, which means the car does not respond to steering input as much as the driver would like due to a lack of front-end grip. As a result, the car washes out away from corner apex, veering off the intended and ideal driving/racing line. The good news is there are many ways to mitigate understeer, and one of the easiest and most effective methods adopted by racers is to increase front-end grip by installing wider front tires as part of a square wheel/tire configuration.

A square configuration uses the same wheel and tire specifications on all four corners of the vehicle, which translates to a more neutral handling experience and allows front-to-rear and left-to-right rotation for extended tire life. This is a huge benefit for enthusiasts that find themselves at the race track often, as the cost of consumables like tires, brake pads, etc., can add up quickly. More savings means more seat time!

Still, there’s a problem: the 1 Series is at a massive disadvantage over other BMW chassis that commonly use square configurations such as the E36 and E46 due to unusually tight clearances under fenders that lack much of a flare. For wider wheels and tires to fit correctly, uniquely high wheel offsets must be used. We all know there are plenty of wheel options for the aforementioned 3 Series chassis, but because 1 Series wheel specifications aren’t useful for any other BMW model, the industry has ignored this niche application. Now for the second time, APEX has decided to develop wheels optimized specifically for the 1 Series chassis – this time with an emphasis on a lightweight 17” rotatable square fitment. We’re excited to introduce our new ARC-8 17×9” ET52 wheel.


This new fitment is designed to support 245/40-17 or 255/40-17 tires at all four corners. The 52mm offset is optimized for the rear of the car as a direct fit, and like the E36 and E46 generation 3 series, the front utilizes spacers to clear the suspension. The spacer size required ranges from 12mm to 18mm depending on the tire size/model and aftermarket suspension used. These topics are covered in more detail below.

ARC-8 17×9″ ET52 – 255/40-17 Nitto NT01 – 15mm spacers – TC Kline Coilovers

Motorsport-oriented coilovers with camber plates are a requirement for this wheel and tire setup to work properly as we are using all available real estate under the front fenders. We define motorsport-oriented coilovers as coilovers with a slim silhouette equipped with short linear springs (Ex. JRZ, MCS, TC Kline, Ground Control, etc.). Aftermarket coilovers or height adjustable sleeve kits known to reduce front wheel clearance like KW V1/V2/V3/CS, Bilstein PSSS9/10, Ohlins R&T, etc. cannot be used unless the spring configuration is modified.

Please note that M3 control arms alone will not generate enough camber for this wheel and tire fitment to work. Upgraded control arms extend track width and add negative camber by kicking the bottom of the wheel and tire outward; however, they do not pull the top of the tire inward away from the front fenders, which is required to prevent rubbing under suspension compression. These tires can fit properly with camber plates installed and aligned in the -3º to -4º range (similar to what E36 and E46 chassis use). This requirement should not be considered a barrier, as negative camber plays a vital role in extracting the most performance and longevity out of your tires. These specs are desirable for track cars regardless of whether or not your wheel fitment requires it.

The rear fitment is easy and does not require any modifications; however, we recommend between -1.8º and -2.5º of camber to complement the front alignment specs.

Note that this wider fitment and offset create a larger scrub radius. Anytime you go wider than normal you’re much more likely to like rub against the plastic fender liners, especially at full lock and along the plastic grill for the intercooler. Also, it doesn’t like the little triangle of plastic, which ideally would be shaved down. This is an accepted practice in the E36 and E46 communities. No one is fast on the track with zero inner liner rubbing.

WHY 17×9”?

About ten years ago, we released a bolt-on 18×8.5” front, 18×9.5 rear staggered fitment that remains popular within the 1 Series community today, and it's been excellent for enthusiasts who prioritize rear-end grip and enjoy the look of 18” wheels. For more hardcore track enthusiasts, the downsides were the running cost of wide 18” tires, increased wheel weights (rotational mass), and the inability to rotate. For these reasons, we prefer a lightweight 17” square configuration that can support 245/40-17 and 255/40-17 tires, which are typically plenty wide for the power and weight of the 1 series.

When the 1 Series was much newer, few people were willing to add camber plates to their cars for track duty, so we were forced to compromise and offer narrower wheels than ideal (8.5” front). Now that the car is older and more affordable, more owners are willing to perform the necessary modifications to accommodate a more aggressive wheel and tire fitment. We see this type of progression with all vehicles we serve.


  • • 12mm – 18mm front spacers required depending on tire size/model & suspension type
  • • Motorsport-oriented coilovers and camber plates required
  • • Recommended alignment settings: -3º to -4º front, -1.8 to -2.5º rear
  • • Recommended tire sizes: 245/40-17 or 255/40-17


Whether you are looking to mate up a set of wheels to a current brake system or just planning for the future, understanding brake clearance is vital in making an informed wheel purchase. The ARC-8 17×9” ET52 will clear the massive 6-piston OEM Brembo BMW Performance caliper found standard on the 135i, as well as a variety of aftermarket BBK options.


You can have the perfect wheel specifications for your car, but they are of no value to you at the end of the day if there aren’t desirable tires to pair them with. Luckily in a 17” diameter, there are lots of great options to choose from no matter your experience level. We took the liberty of listing notable tire options from relevant tire categories and highlighted some of our favorites. If we missed any notable options, just let us know, and we will edit the list.

Extreme Performance Summer Tire Suggestions:

245/40-17: • Yokohama Advan A052 (200TW) – APEX staff favorite • Hankook RS-4 (200TW) – APEX staff favorite • Dunlop Direzza ZIII (200TW) • Falken Azenis RT660 (200TW) • Goodyear Supercar Eagle 3 (220TW) • Toyo Proxes R1R (200TW) • BFGoodrich G-Force Rival S 1.5 (200TW) • Continental Extremecontact Force (200TW) • Nexen N Fera SUR4G (200TW)

255/40-17: • Yokohama Advan A052 (200TW) – APEX staff favorite • Hankook RS-4 (200TW) – APEX staff favorite • Dunlop Direzza ZIII (200TW) • Falken Azenis RT660 (200TW) • Goodyear Supercar Eagle 3 (220TW) • Toyo Proxes R1R (200TW) • BFGoodrich G-Force Rival S 1.5 (200TW) • Continental Extremecontact Force (200TW) • Nankang NS-2R (180TW)

R-Compound Tire Suggestions:

245/40-17: • Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R (100TW) • Toyo Proxes R888R (100TW) • Nankang AR-1 (100TW) • Pirelli P Zero Trodeo R (60TW)

255/40-17: • Nitto NT01 (100TW) – APEX staff favorite • Nankang AR-1 (100TW) • Maxxis RC-1 (100TW) • Toyo Proxes R888R (100TW) • Toyo Proxes RA1 (100TW) • Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R (60TW)

Semi-Slick Tire Suggestions:

245/40-17: • Hoosier R7 (40TW) – APEX Staff favorite • BF Goodrich R1S (40TW) • Hoosier A7 (40TW) • Toyo Proxes RR (40TW)

255/40-17: • Toyo Proxes RR (40TW)

  • Bolt pattern: 5x120mm
  • Fitment type: Hardcore Track
  • BMW, 1 Series, E82 E88
  • Wheel design: ARC-8
  • Wheel diameter: 17"
  • Wheel line: Flow Formed Classic Line

Tom Maloney

Tom M.

Tom is a BMW Fitment Expert at APEX Wheels. Prior to joining the company in 2019, he worked for BMW of North America as Fleet Manager: Portland (OR) for the ReachNow car-sharing program, and as Warranty Administrator/Loaner Fleet Manager at BMW Portland. In addition, Tom has extensive training in BMW TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) as well as in-depth knowledge of all BMW chassis and their wheel fitment options, with and without aftermarket brake and suspension upgrades. His high-performance driving experience includes autocross events in southern Oregon and track days at PIR in his 2004 E46 330i with 17x9 ET42 APEX ARC-8 wheels. Vehicles he owned prior to indulging his passion for BMWs include a 1989 Jaguar XJ6 and a 2006 S197 Ford Mustang. Fun Fact: Tom is a huge Formula 1 fan. Have questions about wheels for your BMW? Use our contact form and ask for Tom.