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E46 M3 Wheel & Tire Fitment Guide

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Vehicle Covered in this Guide
2001-2006 E46 M3 coupe, convertible and CSL. Fitment is identical between all models.

Chassis Introduction
The E46 M3 is a favorite among many for its performance potential and traditional BMW looks. The M3 has much wider fenders than the non-M E46 models, and can therefore support many wide wheel and tire setups with both square and staggered fitments.

Bolt Pattern: 5x120 Thread Pitch: M12x1.5mm Center Bore: 72.56mm

 

OEM+ Fitments

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Ideal for the driver who wants a no-nonsense direct bolt-on fitment. These fitments are a small step up from stock wheels and tires, and offer a small but noticeable performance improvement.

Square Setups
Recommended for most types of street and performance driving. Allows proper front-to-rear tire rotation to extend tire life & improve handling balance.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9” ET30 or ET31 with 255/35-18 tires
    • For aesthetics, we recommend 12mm rear spacers for a flush fitment.

Staggered Setups
Maintains stock-like handling characteristics, tires can only be rotated left to right. Maximizes both front and rear tire width.

  • Front: 18x8.5 ET35 or ET38 with 235/40-18 tires
    Rear: 18x9.5” ET22 with 265/35-18 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Popular fitment.
    • 245/40-18 front and 275/35-18 rear tires can also be used as a direct fit.

  • Front: 19x8.5” ET35 with 235/35-19 tires
    Rear: 19x9.5” ET22 with 265/30-19 tires
    • Direct fit.

 

Aggressive Street Fitments

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Ideal for the driver who wants to fill out the wheel wells with the widest possible rubber and perfectly flush offsets. Sometimes these fitments are a direct bolt-on, but often times require small spacers, negative camber, or rolled fenders for the sake of dialing in the perfect blend of function and form.

Staggered Setups
Maintains stock-like handling characteristics, tires can only be rotated left to right. Maximizes both front and rear tire width.

  • Front: 18x9.5” ET35 with 245/40-18 tires
    Rear: 18x10.5” ET27 with 275/35-18 tires
    • 5mm front spacers required with certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Rear negative camber and/or rolled fenders may be required.
    • 265/35-18 front and 285/35-18 rear tires may work with additional negative camber.

  • Front: 19x9” ET28 with 245/35-19 tires
    Rear: 19x10” ET25 with 275/30-19 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Popular fitment

  • Front: 19x9.5” ET33 with 245/35-19 tires
    Rear: 19x10.5” ET22 with 275/30-19 tires
    • 5mm front spacers required with certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Rear negative camber and/or rolled fenders may be required.
    • 265/30-19 front tires may work with additional negative camber.

 

Performance Street/Track Fitments 

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These fitments are effective for both performance oriented street cars and weekend track warriors. The suspension type, alignment settings, and tire brand/size can be changed accordingly to work for either scenario.

Square Setups
Recommended for most types of street and performance driving. Allows proper front-to-rear tire rotation to extend tire life & improve handling balance.

  • Front & Rear: 17x9.5” ET35 with 255/40-17 tires
    • 5mm front spacers required with certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • 275/40-17 tires can also be used, but will require -2.5 degrees of front camber or more.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5” ET35 with 265/35-18 or 275/35-18 tires
    • Popular fitment
    • 265/35-18 requires at least -2 degrees of front camber.
    • 275/35-18 requires at least -2.5 degrees of front camber.
    • 5mm front spacers required with certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • For aesthetics, 12mm rear spacers are recommended for a flush fitment.
    • Although front spacers are required, the front negative camber requirements are far less than for the 18x9.5” ET22 listed below, making it an easier, more affordable fit.

  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5” ET22 with 265/35-18 tires or 275/35-18
    • 265/35-18 requires at least -3 degrees of front camber.
    • 275/35-18 requires at least -3.5 degrees of front camber.
    • Spacer-free alternative fitment to the 18x9.5” ET35, but requires more negative camber.

Staggered Setups
Maintains stock-like handling characteristics, tires can only be rotated left to right. Maximizes both front and rear tire width.

  • Front: 17x9” ET30 with 245/40-17 tires
    Rear: 17x10” ET25 with 275/40-17 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • 255/40-17 front tires can also be used as a direct fit.

  • Front: 18x9" ET30 with 245/40-18 tires
    Rear: 18x10" ET25 with 275/35-18 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Popular fitment
    • 255/35-18 front tires can also be used as a direct fit.

 

Race Fitments

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These no-compromise fitments are ideal for dedicated track / race cars. They rely on aggressive negative camber specifications and often require rolled rear fenders to prevent rubbing. Since you'll be using all available real estate under the fender arches to accommodate these wide wheels, coilovers with linear race springs are a must for inner clearance (JRZ, MCS, Ground Control, AST, Moton, etc.).

Square Setups
Recommended for most types of street and performance driving. Allows proper front-to-rear tire rotation to extend tire life & improve handling balance.

  • Front & Rear: 17x10” ET25 with 275/40-17 tires
    • 5mm front spacers required with certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Requires at least -3.2 degrees of front camber.

  • Front & Rear: 18x10” ET25 with 275/35-18 or 285/30-18
    • Popular fitment
    • 275 or 285 tires will require at least -3.6 degrees of front negative camber and possibly rolled front fenders.

 

Additional Fitment Information

Identifying Suspension Types
If you’re using coilovers, see the image below to identify which type of coilover spring you have, as it may effect your wheel fitment.
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Aftermarket E46 M3 Suspensions Known To Reduce Inner Clearance
(includes but not limited to):

  • Bilstein PSS9 & PSS10
  • KW Height-Adjustable Spring (HAS) kit
  • KW Variants
  • KW Clubsports
  • Öhlins Road & Track

About Camber Plates camber-illustrated.jpg

Adjustable camber plates do more than just aid in wide wheel and tire fitment. They provide increased grip and reduced tire wear by spreading the load evenly during cornering. Learn more in our blog article, The Positives of Negative Camber, then see our E46 camber plate pages here.

Big Brake Kit Clearances
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We have tested over 20 big brake kits with most of the wheels listed in this guide. Please email us with any questions related to brake clearance, we’ll be happy to help.

Still have questions?
Fill out our Fitment Recommendation form
Call us: 925-245-0773
Email us: support@apexraceparts.com

 

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