Fitment guide

BMW E36 3 Series Wheel & Tire Fitment Guide

Originally published | 03/29/2023
Updated | 06/15/2024

Are you looking for the perfect wheel and tire fitment for your 1990-2000 E36? Our E36 fitment guide will help you dial in wider wheel and tire sizes for your E36 to increase performance while describing the changes to suspension, alignment, or spacers that your 3 series might need. Our fitments offer options to achieve an aggressive stance or performance oriented track setups focused on maximizing tire width and sidewall support. Concave Flow Formed wheels like the ARC-8, EC-7, and SM-10 are popular on modified E36s while our Forged VS-5RS, EC-7RS, and SM-10RS offer the ultimate in chassis-specific performance. If you’re looking unlock performance and improve the look of your 318i, 318ti, 325i, or 328i, Apex wheels are the natural choice. If you’re looking for fitment guidance for your E36 M3, head over to our BMW E36 M3 Wheel & Tire Fitment Guide.

Available Wheel Designs

Bolt Pattern

5x120mm

Center Bore

72.56mm

Lug Seat

60° Conical

Lug Thread Pitch

M12x1.5mm

OEM+ Wheel Fitment

Easy upgrades for street-driven cars

  • White BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Satin Black
  • Blue BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver

These fitments are ideal for the E36 owner who wants a no-nonsense direct bolt-on fitment. These fitments are a small step up from stock wheels and tires, and offer a small but noticeable performance improvement.

Square Setups

Recommended for most types of street and performance driving. Allows proper front-to-rear tire rotation to extend tire life & improve handling balance.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x8.5" ET40
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x8.5" ET40
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in: ARC-8, ARC-8RT

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 235/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 235/40-17
    • Direct Fit
    • Tire models that run wide may require 5mm front spacers

  • Wider Alternative:
    • Front Tire Size: 245/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 245/40-17
    • 5mm front spacers required
    • A larger spacer may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x8.5" ET35, ET38 (ARC-8), ET40
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x8.5" ET35, ET38 (ARC-8), ET40
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in: ARC-8, ARC-8RT, VS-5RS

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 225/40-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 225/40-18
    • Direct Fit

Staggered Setups

Maintains stock-like handling characteristics, tires can only be rotated left to right. Maximizes both front and rear tire width.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x8.5" ET40
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x9" ET42
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in: ARC-8, ARC-8RT

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 235/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 245/40-17
    • Direct Fit

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x8.5” ET38
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x9” ET42
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in: ARC-8
    • Front spacers may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 225/40-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 245/35-18
    • Direct Fit

Aggressive Street Wheel Fitment

Aggressive fitments focused on appearance

  • Blue BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Race Silver
  • Red BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Black

These fitments are ideal for the E36 owner who wants to fill out the wheel wells with the widest possible rubber and perfectly flush offsets with deeply concave wheel fitments. Sometimes these fitments are a direct bolt-on, but often times require small spacers, negative camber, or rolled fenders for the sake of dialing in the perfect blend of function and form.

Square Setups

Recommended for most types of street and performance driving. Allows proper front-to-rear tire rotation to extend tire life & improve handling balance.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x9" ET30
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x9" ET30
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, and VS-5RS designs.
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds.
    • 5mm front spacer required to clear certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • KW suspensions may need front 12mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 245/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 245/40-17

  • Wider Alternative:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Additional camber and rear fender rolling required especially with tire models that run wide.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x9.5" ET35
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x9.5" ET35
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, VS-5RS
    • Additional negative camber is required up front.
    • 5mm front spacer required to OEM suspension.
    • KW suspensions may need front 15mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/40-17

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x9" ET30
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x9" ET30
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, EC-7, EC-7RS, SM-10, SM-10RS and VS-5RS designs.
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds.
    • 5mm front spacer required to clear certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • KW suspensions may need front 12mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 245/35-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 245/35-18

  • Wider Alternative:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/35-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/35-18
    • Additional camber and rear fender rolling required especially with tire models that run wide.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x9.5" ET35
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x9.5" ET35
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, EC-7, EC-7RS, SM-10, and VS-5RS designs.
    • Additional negative camber is required up front.
    • 5mm front spacer required to OEM suspension.
    • KW suspensions may need front 15mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/35-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/35-18

Staggered Setups

Maintains stock-like handling characteristics, tires can only be rotated left to right. Maximizes both front and rear tire width.

  • Front: 17x9" ET30 with 235/40-17 tires // Rear: 17x9.5" ET35 with 255/40-17 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC8RT, VS-5RS
    • 245/40-17 front tires may also be used, but may require negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x9" ET30
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x9.5" ET35
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, VS-5RS
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds.
    • 5mm front spacer required to clear certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • KW suspensions may need front 12mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 235/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/40-17

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x9" ET31
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x9.5" ET43
    • Available in: EC-7
    • Additional negative camber is required up front.
    • 5mm front spacer required to OEM suspension.
    • KW suspensions may need front 15mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Maximizes rear tire size

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 245/35-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 265/35-18

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x9" ET30 or ET31
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x9.5" ET35
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, EC-7, EC-7RS, SM-10, VS-5RS designs.
    • Additional negative camber is required up front.
    • 5mm front spacer required to OEM suspension.
    • KW suspensions may need front 15mm or larger spacers and negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 245/35-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/35-18

Performance Street and Track Wheel Fitment

Wider fitments for enhanced performance

  • Blue BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Blue BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Red BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Black

These E36 wheel fitments are effective for both performance-oriented street cars and weekend track warriors. The suspension type, alignment settings, and tire brand/size can be changed accordingly to work for either scenario.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x9" ET42
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x9" ET42
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, VS-5RS designs.
    • 12mm front spacer required
    • 5mm front spacer required to clear certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • KW suspensions will need larger spacers and negative camber.

Tires

  • APEX Staff Pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 245/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 245/40-17
    • tire compounds that run wide may require additional negative front camber.

  • Wider Alternative:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Additional camber and rear fender rolling required especially with tire models that run wide.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 17x9.5" ET35
  • Rear Wheel Size: 17x9.5" ET35
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, VS-5RS designs.
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • KW suspensions will need larger spacers and negative camber.

Tires

  • Apex Staff pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/40-17
    • Additional camber and rear fender rolling required especially with tire models that run wide.

Wheels

  • Front Wheel Size: 18x9.5" ET35
  • Rear Wheel Size: 18x9.5" ET35
    • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8RT, EC-7, EC-7RS, SM-10, VS-5RS designs.
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • KW suspensions will need larger spacers and negative camber.

Tires

  • Apex Staff pick:
    • Front Tire Size: 255/35-18
    • Rear Tire Size: 255/35-18
    • Additional camber and rear fender rolling required especially with tire models that run wide.

Hardcore Track Wheel Fitment

Track focused fitments that require significant modifications

  • White BMW 3 Series - EC-7 in Satin Black
  • Orange BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Blue BMW 3 Series - VS-5RS in Brushed Clear
  • Multicolor BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Blue BMW 3 Series - VS-5RS in Anthracite
  • Purple BMW 3 Series - ARC-8 in Satin Black
  • 1 / 2

The fitments below require aftermarket flares or widebody kits such as those produced by Hard Motorsports or DTM Fiberwerks.

  • Front & Rear: 17x10" ET25 with 275/40-17 tires
    • Available in: ARC-8, VS-5RS
    • Negative camber required.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET22 with 265/35-18 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, SM-10, SM-10RS, and VS-5RS designs.
    • Popular fitment
    • Negative camber required.
    • 275/35-18 tires may also be used.

  • Front & Rear: 18x10" ET25 with 275/35-18 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, EC-7RS, SM-10, SM-10RS, SM-10RE, VS-5RS, and SM-10RE designs.
    • Negative camber required.
    • 265/35-18 tires may also be used.

Additional Resources

Concavity & Face Profiles

Each of our wheel designs is available in two or three different levels of concavity, which we call Profiles. The Profile is dictated by the width and offset, meaning wide lower-offset wheels will have more concavity, while narrow higher-offset wheels will have less concavity.

Identifying Suspension Types

If you’re using coilovers, see the image below to identify which type of coilover spring you have, as it may effect your wheel fitment.

Aftermarket E36 M3 Suspensions Known To Reduce Inner Clearance

(includes but not limited to):

  • Bilstein PSS9 & PSS10
  • KW Height-Adjustable Spring (HAS) kit
  • KW Variants
  • KW Clubsports
  • Öhlins Road & Track

About Camber Plates

Adjustable camber plates do more than just aid in wide wheel and tire fitment. They provide increased grip and reduced tire wear by spreading the load evenly during cornering. Learn more in our blog article, The Positives of Negative Camber.

Big Brake Kit Clearances

We have tested many brake kits with the wheels listed in this guide. Please email us with any questions related to brake clearance, we’ll be happy to help.

Still have questions?

Fill out our Fitment Recommendation form Call us: 925-245-0773 Email us: support@apexraceparts.com