With classic looks and capable performance many Z3 owners are left looking for ways to modernize their factory tire options and move away from the OE Z3 wheels . The stock wheel fitment limits tire choices with modern options and doesn't fully take advantage of the fender width these cars offer. A wider set of high performance wheels optimized for the platform is a great way to refresh your Z3 in both looks and handling. We created forged wheels like the VS-5RS, SM-10RS, EC-7RS alongside flow formed wheels like the ARC-8, FL-5, EC-7, and SM-10 to offer lightweight fitments to Z3 owners. With a number of tricky notes regarding widebody offset changes, be sure you review our BMW Z3 Wheel and Tire Fitment Guide before picking up your next set of wheels.
The Z3 built from 1996 to 2002 was the first mass produced Z series BMW. With quirky styling and open top fun, this modern classic was the perfect car to compete with the Miata and Boxster of its era. BMW based much of the Z3 on the E36 generation 3 series, borrowing its McPherson front suspension. In back was a semi-trailing arm suspension based on the E30 3 series architecture. At the first launch, the Z3 was only offered with a somewhat underpowered four cylinder engine. To the happiness of BMW enthusiasts everywhere, that changed for the 1997 model year when BMW added a 2.8l inline six developing about 190 hp. Between the EU and U.S. models, a number of different six cylinder engines were available ranging from 2.0l to 3.0l in displacement. There was also a Z3M model which features the S52 engine from the E36 M3. For the 2001 and 2002 model, BMW stuck the S54 engine from the E46 M3 in this chassis making for the most desirable and fastest Z3 sold.
One thing to note when shopping for a BMW Z3 is that both a narrowbody and wide body variant was produced. This is especially important when shopping for Z3 wheels. Pre-facelift (1999 MY) 4 cyl cars had narrower rear body work, while all 6 cyl cars received the widened rear track. Post facelift, all models had the same wide-body design. This applies to both coupe and convertible models.
The Z3 is just a hoot to drive on track! Thanks to the E30 derived rear suspension, handling is lively to say the least. The modest power output of all 6 cyl models is more than enough, thanks to the cars' fairly light curb weight and compact size. The convertible models do give an extra bit of thrill, however we would recommend adding some extra roll over protection if you plan to hit the track multiple times a year.
Reliability is pretty decent for all models. Considering that these cars are over 20 years old, you should expect to put in some time and money on preventative maintenance and simple refresh items. Each engine will have its unique needs such as VANOS seals, DISA valves, or rod bearings (S54 models). Overall, this chassis really makes a good argument for a budget friendly track car or weekend driver!
If you would like to learn even more about the BMW Z3, checkout the in depth buyers guide linked below: BMW Z3 buyer’s guide
* 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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