Equipped with a wide range of wheels and tires from the factory, OE E46 3 series wheels all shared a common trait of being undersized from the factory. Most RWD cars came with a staggered fitment that defaulted to understeer as well. Maximizing the inherent balance present in the E46 chassis starts with a lightweight chassis-specific set of wheels. We created forged wheels like the VS-5RS, EC-7RS, SM-10RS along with flow formed wheels like the ARC-8, EC-7, SM-10, and FL-5 to optimize the performance of the E46. Be sure to read up on what we recommend in our BMW E46 3 Series Wheel and Tire Fitment Guide.
The fourth 3 series generation to grace our planet first began production in 1997. Like the versatile E36 chassis that came before it, the E46 was offered in a coupe, sedan, convertible, wagon, and hatchback (EU only) form. In the U.S. engine options were limited to just four petrol inline-6 units. These consisted of the 2.5L M52TUB25 in the 323i, 2.8L M52TUB28 powering the 328i, the M54B25 in the 325i model, and best of all, the M54B30 powering the 330i model. Peak power figures ranged from 169hp in the 323i model all the way up to 235hp in the souped up 330i ZHP. For the U.S. market, transmission options came in the flavor of a 4 or 5 speed torque converter auto and a traditional 5 or 6spd manual depending on model.
For the 2002 model year, BMW revamped the E46 line up. The 325i replaced the 323i model and the 330i replaced the 328i model. Both cars received a power bump moving to the new M54 engine, but it did come at the loss of a physical throttle cable. The same year, the sedan and wagon models received a minor aesthetic facelift. It wouldn’t be until mid way through the 2003 model year that the coupe and convertible would receive theirs.
If you haven’t yet taken the plunge and purchased your own E46, checkout the in depth buyers guide linked below to learn even more about each model: BMW E46 3 Series Buyer’s 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.