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E36 3-Series & M3 Wheel & Tire Fitment Guide

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ARC-8 // Front & Rear: 17x9" ET30 with 245/40-17 (mods required)

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Vehicle Covered in this Guide
1992-1999 E36 3-Series & M3. Fitment is identical between all models.

Chassis Introduction
The E36 is still considered to be one of the best-handling BMW chassis ever produced. Its natural balance and tremendous aftermarket support make it an extremely capable platform for beginners and seasoned racers alike.

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

 

OEM+ Fitments

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ARC-8 // Front & Rear: 17x8.5" ET40 with 245/40-17 (mods required)

These fitments prioritize (in order):
1. Ease of fitment
2. Aesthetics
3. Performance

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: 17x8.5" ET40 with 235/40-17 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • 245/40-17 tires may also be used with front 5mm spacers.
    • A larger spacer may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.

  • Front & Rear: 18x8.5" ET35 or ET38 with 235/40-18 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Popular fitment.
    • 245/35-18 tires may also be used as a direct fit.
    • Front spacers may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.

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

  • Front: 17x8.5" ET40 with 235/40-17 tires
    Rear: 17x9" ET42 with 245/40-17 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • 245/40-17 tires may also be used with front 5mm spacers.
    • A larger spacer may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • 255/40-17 rear tires can be used, but may require rolled fenders.

  • Front: 18x8.5” ET35 or ET38 with 235/40-18 tires
    Rear: 18x9” ET42 with 245/35-18 tires
    • Direct fit.
    • Front spacers may be required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • 255/35-18 rear tires would be preferred, but may require rolled fenders.

 

Aggressive Street Fitments

37120993156_6787195e6e_h.jpg
ARC-8 // Front & Rear: 17x9" ET30 with 245/40-17 (mods required)

These fitments prioritize (in order):
1. Aesthetics
2. Performance
3. Ease of fitment

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.

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" ET30 with 245/40-17 tires
    • Popular fitment. 
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds. 
    • Rear fender roll required.
    • 255/40-17 tires may also be used with additional negative camber and rolled fenders.
  • Front & Rear: 17x9.5" ET35 with 255/40-17 tires
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Front negative camber required.
    • Rear fender roll required.
  • Front & Rear: 18x9" ET30 or ET31 with 245/35-18 tires
    • Popular fitment. 
    • May require front negative camber with aggressive tire compounds.  
    • Rear fender roll required.
    • 255/35-18 tires may also be used with additional negative camber and rolled fenders.
  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET35 with 255/35-18 tires
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Front negative camber required.
    • Rear fender roll required.

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 235/40-17 tires
    Rear: 17x9.5" ET35 with 255/40-17 tires
    • 245/40-17 front tires may also be used, but may require negative camber. 
    • Rear fender roll required.

  • Front: 18x9" ET30 with 235/40-18 tires
    Rear: 18x9.5" ET35 with 255/35-18 tires
    • 245/35-18 front tires may also be used, but may require negative camber.
    • Rear fender roll required.

 

Performance Street/Track or Race Fitments 

14180644505_19dc6b0ee1_b.jpgARC-8 // Front & Rear: 17x10.5" ET27 (mods definitely required)

These fitments prioritize (in order):
1. Performance
2. Ease of fitment
3. Aesthetics

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" ET42 with 245/40-17 tires
    • Popular fitment.
    • 12mm front spacer required
    • 255/40-17 tires can also be used, but may require rolled rear fenders and/or negative front camber.

  • Front & Rear: 17x9.5" ET35 with 255/40-17 tires
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Rear fender roll required.
  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET35 with 255/35-18 tires
    • 5mm or larger front spacer required to clear OEM struts, larger spacer required for certain aftermarket suspensions, see below.
    • Rear fender roll required.

For Use With Fender Flares
The fitments below require aftermarket flares or widebody kits such as those produced by Hard Motorsports or DTM Fiberwerks.

  • Front & Rear: 17x10" ET25 with 275/40-18 tires
    • Negative camber required.
  • Front & Rear: 18x9.5" ET22 with 265/35-18 tires
    • Popular fitment. 
    • Negative camber required.
    • 275/35-18 tires may also be used.

  • Front & Rear: 18x10" ET25 with 275/35-18 tires
    • Negative camber required.
    • 265/35-18 tires may also be used.

 

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.
coiloverclearance.jpg

Aftermarket E36 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 

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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 E36 M3 or E36 Non-M camber plate pages.

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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