While the factory F20 and F21 1 series wheels were not as limiting as its predecessor, the new 1 series still left little room for wide wheels, and launched with fitments that compromised on tire width. With a capable chassis and potent engine options, a chassis-specific wheel fitment optimized for performance is one of the best modifications 1 series owners can make. We created flow formed wheels like the ARC-8, EC-7, SM-10 and FL-5 along with fully forged wheels like the VS-5RS specifically for the 1 series. Given the complex brake options available on the F2X cars and the international market, our F20 F21 1 Series Wheel and Tire Fitment Guide is a critical part of choosing your perfect setup.
A forbidden fruit to those of us unfortunate enough to live in the United States, the hatchback chassis of the F20 5 door and F21 2 door 1 series represent a unique and refreshing take from BMW on the compact hatchback. Like the F22 series coupe, Apex is one of the few aftermarket companies that provides chassis-specific high offset F20 and F21 1 series wheel fitments optimized for these cars.
A variety of turbocharged engines were available in these practical compact cars. 135 and 140i models represented the top tier performance versions with the N55 and B58 engines respectively while various 3 and 4 cylinder gasoline and diesel engines rounded out the lower rungs of the lineup.
Unique in this segment was the rear-wheel drive architecture of the underlying platform. All of the other compact hatchbacks were either front-wheel drive or Haldex-based AWD models prone to understeer at the limits of grip. While all-wheel drive was available as an option on the 1 series, the base RWD architecture gave the F20 and F21 a handling advantage in a variety of comparison tests of the era.
The huge range of engines available for this model especially in Europe means you can choose your track car. Competitive low horsepower or beginner endurance classed series are perfect for the 4 cylinder models, while the more potent M135i and M140is can be modified to compete in time attack or faster classes.
Powerful OE brakes or brake swaps are also available from BMW’s back catalog of compatible calipers and rotors, ensuring more consistent braking both on track and on the street.
To see how the F chassis 1-ers stacked up to one of their main competitors, be sure to check out Evo Magazine’s initial review.
* Designed to fit BMW 5x120mm center caps
Our new forgings weigh as much as 120 pounds before machining. To form such a thick blank we require special equipment capable of 10,000 metric tons of pressure. This extreme pressure increases the strength of the aluminum by eliminating porosity and improving the grain structure.
Many companies use 3rd-party blanks intended for non-motorsport wheels which can severely limit sizes, concavity, spoke design, and critical brake clearance. We designed our very own blank profiles from scratch to give us total control over the final product.
To be as light as possible the VS-5RS features extra-deep, side-milled spokes. Any excess material that doesn’t add strength is carved out using a precision CNC ball cutter. Side-milling is often deemed cost-prohibitive by others, but for true performance without compromise we believe it's essential.
Our forged Sprint™ wheels are lightweight without the strength compromises found on typical lightweight wheels. First, we carved out as much material as possible, then we purposefully added one pound back to reinforce critical areas, creating a stronger inner lip and a higher load rating.² What’s the point of a lightweight wheel if it’s fragile?
We conducted extensive Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to reinforce high-stress areas and to remove material where it didn’t improve strength. The result is a wheel that is exceptionally light without the strength compromises found on typical lightweight wheels.²
We don't rely solely on computer simulations or unverifiable in-house testing. We believe independent testing is critical to protect consumers in this unregulated industry. We chose STL, an independent lab in Ohio, to test our Sprint™ wheels far above JWL standards, including increases in testing duration, impact drop height, and total load.
Introducing the Sprint™ spec inner lip, with a unique channel profile that makes it even stronger than our previous designs. So even though our Sprint™ wheels are pounds lighter than comparable flow formed wheels, the inner lip is stronger.
than our flow formed wheels3
From day one, APEX has been on a mission to build wheels that clear big brakes. Our new forged wheels are the product of everything we’ve developed over the past 10+ years, including an innovative high-clearance barrel design and vehicle-specific spoke profiles.
Our new forgings were redesigned to create extra deep, concave spoke profiles. Their new shape allows us to make any profile, from flat to deep and everything in between. Each one is optimized for a specific application using 3D laser scans of factory and aftermarket brake kits.
Whether it's a day at the track or months of street driving, repeated hard braking and acceleration can make a tire slip along the bead seat and go out of balance, causing vibration. Knurled beads help, but are less effective when painted over. Our forged line features unpainted knurled beads that stay sharp and maximize grip.
Track wheels need track tools. Don’t settle for wheels that require undersized tuner lugs or thin walled sockets. All APEX wheels accommodate over-sized race lugs and impact sockets to make swapping wheels lightning fast.
Socket Diameter Clearance
As track enthusiasts ourselves, we know how frustrating it is to try to locate and decipher wheel specs that have been hastily hammered into the rim or become unreadable over time. With our new Sprint™ wheels, we chose to invest a little extra and laser-engrave the specs on the barrel, in plain sight, making them easy to find and read. (You’re welcome.)
All VS-5RS wheels are purpose built for select vehicle applications. Very few applications require centering rings.
All APEX wheels come with our gloss black cap included that is interchangeable with the OE cap. We also offer additional colors for select fitments.
APEX wheels can be used with all OEM mounting hardware, proper aftermarket hardware and most wheel spacers. Wheel locks and stud conversion kits also work perfectly.
All APEX wheels accept OEM and aftermarket Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors and standard fit valve stems. If you don’t have sensors, then select from our metal stems available in multiple finishes.
All Apex Wheels come with a
lifetime structural warranty against defects in
workmanship and materials, plus a 1 year finish warranty.
Exchanges are fast, easy, and hassle-free.
See terms and conditions.
Curb rash or pothole damage on the street? Make an oopsie at
We’ve all been there. APEX is proud to offer 50% off replacement
wheels, no matter the damage.
See terms and conditions.