Sam’s E46 M3
I’ve parted with my rare set of BBS Style 5s. It was sad to see them go as I put a lot of time and effort refurbishing them but on a car that gets driven hard I just couldn’t keep them clean and brake dust free; in fact, I don’t think I’ll ever get polished wheels with 34 spokes again, the cleaning was just never ending! But the biggest reason for getting rid of them was that, like a lot of ’90s split-rims, they are not big brake friendly. I would have had to run a large amount of spacing on the front, which wouldn’t have gone down well with the tyre-to-arch clearance.
So before I took delivery of my WP pro brake kit I looked at my options. I thought about going back to my OEM 18” square setup, which I’m a massive fan of. They look good but are a bit on the heavy side. They clear my brakes but only just, resulting in me not being able to use my carbon brake ducts that screw over the top of the caliper.
Next I looked at some Apex Racing ARC-8s. I’d wanted a set of these wheels before I’d even purchased an E46 M3 – until my head got turned by the silly split-rims! As I already knew what style and colour I wanted I just needed to settle on a size. At first I thought about a staggered setup of 9.5” front and 10.5” rear but then the different tyre sizes limited my options. So I scrapped that and opted for 9.5” squared. That left just the offsets to decide on. I had ET22 and ET35 to choose from. Ideally I wanted to match the offsets to leave me open to being able to swap the wheels front to rear in a attempt to prolong my tyre life.
With the Apex wheels being very popular in the States there is over a 100-page showroom thread just showing wheel and tyre options people have gone for, so I was able to trawl through these and decide my finial option. With the aggressive tyre setup and low ride height it made sense for me to go for ET35. Even though I run more than enough front negative camber to pull off ET22, the higher offset would just make life easier. This compromise left me with having to run a rear spacer, which isn’t anything to loose sleep over.
Specs decided on, I just needed to find a place to purchase them from. In the end I opted to buy them from Indio-GT as they came in at a good price delivered and the company dealt with all the importing. Unluckily for me my size and colour was on back order but I was kept informed every step of way which was reassuring.
A few weeks passed and then they were delivered to my door. I didn’t waste any time in loading up the van. In fact, I didn’t even take them out of the box, I just shot straight down to the tyre shop with my 265/35 18 NS2-Rs so I could mount them onto the car that night.
Staggeringly the Apex ARC-8s are 5kg a wheel lighter than M3’s 9×18” wheels which doesn’t only make them a lot easier to fit, that amount lost in unsprung weight is a huge advantage. Brake clearance was also massive. Apex claim they clear up to 380mm Brembos which I can believe all day long. This clearance finally let me mate up my Hard Motorsport front bumper intakes to the WP carbon brake ducts.
Visually I’m over the moon with how they look, so much so I don’t ever want to ever take them off. I could ramble on more but I’ll let the pictures do the talking…