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Fitment guide

BMW E36 M3 Wheel & Tire Fitment Guide

Originally published | 04/16/2018
Updated | 09/29/2023

Vehicle Covered in this Guide

1992-1999 E36 M3. Fitment is identical between all coupe, sedan, convertible, and hatchback (ti) models.

Chassis Introduction

The E36 is still considered to be one of the best-handling BMW chassis ever produced. Its natural balance and tremendous aftermarket support make it an extremely capable platform for beginners and seasoned racers alike.

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 M3 - FL-5 in Anthracite

These fitments prioritize (in order):

  1. Ease of fitment
  2. Aesthetics
  3. Performance

Ideal for the driver 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.

  • Front & Rear: 17x8.5" ET40 with 235/40-17 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in ARC-8 only
    • 235/45-17 tires can be used instead as a direct fit.
    • 245/40-17 tires may also be used. Flow formed ET40 ARC-8s will require 5mm front spacers with this tire size.
    • A larger spacer may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.

  • Front & Rear: 18x8.5" ET35, ET38 (ARC-8), ET40 (VS-5RS) with 235/40-18 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, FL-5, and SM-10 designs
    • Popular fitment.
    • 245/35-18 tires may also be used as a direct fit.
    • Front spacers may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.

Staggered Setups

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

  • Front: 17x8.5" ET40 with 235/40-17 tires // Rear: 17x9" ET42 with 245/40-17 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in: ARC-8
    • 245/40-17 tires may also be used with front 5mm spacers.
    • A larger spacer may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • 255/40-17 rear tires can be used, but may require rolled fenders.

  • Front: 18x8.5” ET38 (ARC-8) with 235/40-18 tires // Rear: 18x9” ET42 with 245/35-18 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Available in: ARC-8
    • Front spacers may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • 255/35-18 rear tires would be preferred, but may require rolled fenders.

Aggressive Street Wheel Fitment

Aggressive fitments focused on appearance and concavity

  • Silver BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Anthracite
  • White BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Black
  • White BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Blue BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Black
  • Blue BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Satin Bronze
  • Blue BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Black

These fitments prioritize (in order):

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Performance
  3. Ease of fitment

Ideal for the driver who wants to fill out the wheel wells with the widest possible rubber and perfectly flush offsets. 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.

  • Front & Rear: 17x9" ET30 with 245/40-17 tires
    • Available in ARC-8 and VS-5RS designs.
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds.
    • 5mm 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.
    • 255/40-17 tires may also be used with additional negative camber and rolled fenders.

  • Front & Rear: 17x9.5" ET35 with 255/40-17 tires
    • Available in ARC-8 and VS-5RS designs.
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Front negative camber required.
    • Rear fender roll required.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9" ET30 or ET31 (EC-7) with 245/35-18 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, FL-5, SM-10, SM-10RS and VS-5RS designs.
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds.
    • Rear fender roll required.
    • 255/35-18 tires may also be used with additional negative camber and rolled fenders.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET35 with 255/35-18 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, EC-7RS, FL-5, SM-10, and VS-5RS designs.
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Front negative camber required.
    • Rear fender roll required.

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 & VS-5RS designs.
    • 245/40-17 front tires may also be used, but may require negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

  • Front: 18x9" ET31 with 235/40-18 tires // Rear: 18x9.5" ET43 with 265/35-18 tires
    • Available in our EC-7 design only.
    • 245/35-18 front tires may also be used, but may require negative camber.
    • Maximizes rear tire size

  • Front: 18x9" ET30 or ET31 (EC-7) with 235/40-18 tires // Rear: 18x9.5" ET35 with 255/35-18 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, EC-7RS, FL-5, SM-10, VS-5RS designs.
    • 245/35-18 front tires may also be used, but may require negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

Performance Street and Track Wheel Fitment

Wider fitments for enhanced performance

  • Silver BMW M3 - VS-5RS in Anthracite
  • Silver BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Anthracite
  • Black BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Yellow BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Satin Black
  • Silver BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Anthracite
  • White BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • 1 / 4

These fitments prioritize (in order):

  1. Performance
  2. Ease of fitment
  3. Aesthetics

These 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.

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.

Front & Rear: 17x9" ET42 with 245/40-17 tires

  • Popular fitment.
  • Available in ARC-8, ARC-8R, EC-7R, and VS-5RS designs.
  • 12mm front spacer required
  • 245/40-17 tire compounds that run wide may require additional negative front camber.
  • 255/40-17 tires can also be used, but may require rolled rear fenders and/or negative front camber.

Front & Rear: 17x9.5" ET35 with 255/40-17 tires

  • Available in ARC-8 & VS-5RS designs.
  • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
  • Rear fender roll required.

Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET35 with 255/35-18 tires

  • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, EC-7RS, FL-5, SM-10, VS-5RS designs.
  • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
  • Rear fender roll required.

Hardcore Track Wheel Fitment

Track focused fitments that require significant modifications

  • Red BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Anthracite
  • Multicolor BMW M3 - VS-5RS in Satin Bronze
  • Green BMW M3 - ARC-8R in Brushed Clear
  • Silver BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Anthracite
  • White BMW M3 - ARC-8 in Hyper Silver
  • Purple BMW M3 - EC-7R in Brushed Clear
  • 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 our ARC-8 and VS-5RS design only.
    • Negative camber required.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET22 with 265/35-18 tires
    • Available in ARC-8, EC-7, FL-5, 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, FL-5, SM-10, SM-10RS and VS-5RS 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.

Identifying Suspension Types

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