The stock E36 3 Series wheels standard on many models were limited in terms of both width and diameter. As an older chassis, smaller 15” and 16” standard wheels gave increased ride comfort but sacrificed brake clearance and compatibility with modern tires. One of the best modifications E36 owners looking to update their 3 series can make is a chassis-specific set of performance wheels. We created forged wheels like the EC-7RS, VS-5RS, SM-10RS and flow formed wheels like the ARC-8, FL-5, EC-7, and SM-10 to increase the performance of your 3 series. Find your perfect fitment on our E36 3 Series Wheel and Tire Fitment Guide.
The third generation of the BMW 3 series dubbed the E36, was a major step up from its predecessors. Not only was the new generation much faster than the E30 it replaced, the E36 paved the way for the luxurious and GT like vehicles the brand is now known for. Produced from 1990 all the way to 1998, the E36 3 series offered a wide range of both 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder power plants. Transmission options came in the flavor of a 4 and 5 speed automatic with a 5 speed manual as standard. While the styling is rather boxy by today’s standards, the aerodynamic wedge shape was heavily influenced by aerodynamics and wind tunnel testing.
Available in a coupe, sedan, estate, and hatchback configuration, the E36 generation was intended to cater to the masses. The silky smooth inline 6 engine options gained popularity with the American market, offering plenty of power and torque in a sporty shell. While often out-shadowed by the later E46 3 series, the E36 was an icon of the 1990s.
Like most BMWs from this era, the E36 is an extremely well balanced chassis. At the limits of grip, the E36 communicates every detail of the road surface to the driver through its cable actuated throttle and hydraulic steering rack. The silky smooth inline 6 engines found in most North America spec E36s provides plenty of power at all RPMs with unmatched smoothness. Best of all these cars are pretty darn reliable. Just remember that any car of this age will need its fair share of maintenance and replacement of worn parts.
In the case of the E36 generation, the M3 variant retained the same fenders as the base model. As such, non-M model owners don’t have to settle for a lesser wheel and tire setup. Being a momentum car, the E36 greatly benefits from added grip in the corners. Luckily we have a variety of E36 3 Series wheels tailor made to fit the E36.
Want to learn more about the E36 generation? Checkout the article below from our friends over at BMW Blog: BMW E36 3 Series Buyers Guide – What Model To Buy
* 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.