Despite being praised for its balanced handling, the stock E46 M3 wheel setup results in a bias towards understeer. This is mainly due to the staggered wheel fitment with only a 225 width tire up front. If you want to extract even more performance from your modern classic, a lightweight chassis specific set of wider wheels and tires will make a world of difference. We created forged wheels such as the Apex VS-5RS, SM-10RS, EC-7RS and flow formed wheels such as the ARC-8, EC-7, SM-10 and FL-5 to increase performance. Find out what fitment is best for your application in our E46 M3 Wheel and Tire Fitment Guide.
From its first reveal at the 2000 Geneva Auto Show, the E46 M3 was an instant hit. The widened fender flares and muscular bodywork harked back to the original E30 M3 in all the right places. Available only in a coupe or convertible body style, this generation made do without a sedan version like its older brother, the E36 M3. Transmission options were limited to a true manual 6-spd unit supplied by Getrag, designated the 420G, and a sequential manual option deemed the SMG-II. With a variety of eccentric color options available like the much loved Laguna Seca Blue and questionable Phoenix Yellow, many regard the E46 as the best styled M3.
As the model aged, BMW gave it a subtle refresh midway through the 2003 model year. Changes included upgraded LED tail lights, a lengthened trunk handle and a number of small mechanical and software changes. Regarded as the most desirable version available for the U.S. market, the ZCP or competition package cars came with alcantara interior bits, an uncluttered steering wheel with a single button to engage the M-dynamic traction control mode, and best of all, CSL style wheels supplied by BBS. The split, seven spoke BMW wheel design is the most noticeable aspect of the ZCP package, often thought to be the most iconic of OEM E46 M3 wheels.
If you’re interested in learning more about what made this generation M3 the best selling M car to date, checkout this article: A Driving Machine for the Ages.
If the screaming sound of an S54 inline six engine hitting it’s 8,000rpm redline isn’t enough to convince you, the incredibly balanced handling and predictable nature is sure to win you over. The E46 was the first M3 in the line up to get a substantial bump in power over its predecessors, at least in the U.S. market. The small BMW coupe was no longer a comfy momentum car, but a serious track weapon.
With a sturdy transmission and over-engineered clutch, this car can handle some serious track abuse. While obviously not without its weak points, if you catch problems early and perform the right preventative maintenance, it’s hard to find a more balanced package. Best of all, those wide, flared fenders can easily swallow up a 18x9.5” or 18x10” square setup for massive grip and balanced handling. With our wide selection of BMW E46 M3 wheels, we’ve got what you need to hit the track or simply cruise on your favorite back roads with added style.
* 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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