While this generation of M3 was arguably one of the most balanced BMW’s ever made, the OE E36 M3 wheels made the car prone to understeer at the limits of grip. The staggered width and narrow 225 section front tires reduced the overall performance capability of this classic BMW. Luckily, in the long years since its release, we’ve released many E36 M3 forged wheels like the VS-5RS, SM-10RS, and EC-7RS along with our ever popular ARC-8, EC-7, FL-5 and SM-10 in chassis specific fitments. Whether you’re looking to neutralize understeer or clear massive brakes, our E36 M3 Wheel and Tire Fitment Guide has detailed options perfect for your car.
Often considered to be one of the less loved M3 generations, the E36 debuted for the U.S. market in 1995, three years after its introduction in Europe. As a result of somewhat poor sales figures for the original E30 M3 in the U.S., BMW of North America had to be convinced to bring the new M3 across the pond. Thankfully, an Editor at the BMW Car Club of America named Rob Roemer encouraged readers and fellow journalists to make their voices heard. Over 150 letters rolled into North America’s BMW HQ, begging for the new souped up three-series. The effort was well received, however BMW NA knew the euro spec E36 M3 was priced well above the budget of their customer base. A decision was made to bring over the E36 M3 with an upgraded version of the M50 six cylinder found in the lower models, rather than the expensive and high maintenance S50 I6 engine. With bored out cylinders upping displacement from 2.5l to 3.0l and more aggressive camshafts, the U.S. spec model made a respectable 240 hp and 225 ft/lbs of torque (236 ft/lbs for the later S52 engine). While down on power, the torque figure remained nearly identical to the Euro spec model along with less intensive maintenance requirements. Another notable change included bespoke E36 M3 wheels including the iconic style 24M BMW motorsport wheel design.
This chassis was originally offered in coupe and convertible configurations, with a sedan version being added later on, in an effort to make up for a temporary lack of an M5 model. Transmission options came in the flavor of a 5spd manual that was later replaced in favor of a 6spd unit, along with a 5spd torque converter auto. Most notably, for the first time in BMW history, a sequential manual option was added, dubbed the SMG.
The Legendary E36 M3 deserves more than just a few paragraphs to explain why enthusiasts still pay high prices for clean examples more than 20 years later. If you’re here to learn about this chassis rather than shop E36 M3 Wheels, check out the article by Road and Track, Enthusiasts Love the E36 M3.
To put it simply, the U.S. spec E36 M3 was a simple, lightweight, and balanced car. Enthusiasts love its predictable handling at the limit along with its silky smooth I-6 engine and linear power band. While it doesn’t have the brute power of the later e46 M3 model, the E36 delights its occupants with agile handling and gobs of steering feel. Better yet, it just looks so darn good flying by on the front straight or sitting in the paddock. The E36 design really has aged well.
* 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.
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