The BMW F30 is the sixth generation 3-Series and one that is starting to see a massive amount of aftermarket support now that it has been around for over a decade at this point. Compared to the E90 3-Series that preceded it, the F30 had a noticeably better fit and finish. Not only did their appearance usher in a new era for BMW design, but the BMW F30 also introduced a new array of BMW powertrains that have continued to power the following G20 generation of 3-Series.
The F30 3-Series received overwhelmingly positive reviews from almost everyone that were worth their weight in salt within the automotive community. Ultimately, it did everything that a 3-Series should do and did it much better than the E90. Models like the N20 turbo straight-4 powered 320i offered superior fuel economy without sacrificing enjoyability. Other F30s like the B58-powered 340i provided buttery twin-scroll turbo power and class-defining handling. As a result, the F30 exemplified the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ mantra quite well.
While there are plenty of performance modifications available for the F30 3-Series, a new wheel and tire setup is one of the most cost-effective and overall beneficial modifications that you can do to an F30 3-Series. Not only can new wheels lower unsprung weight, improve traction, create more dynamic handling characteristics, and support suspension modifications, but aftermarket F30 wheels can also set your 3-Series apart from the rest from an appearance perspective.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of the best wheel and tire setups for an F30 3-Series. We’ll also cover some of the benefits and downsides of aftermarket 3-Series wheels and recommend some of our favorites.
F30 Wheels – Considerations
Like most BMWs, the F30 uses a 5×120 bolt pattern, which is good news. Due to the fact that 5×120 bolt patterns are one of the most common out there, there are a ridiculous amount of wheel options for the BMW F30 3-Series. With that being said, there are a few other considerations that you’ll need to take into account other than just bolt pattern.
First and foremost, you’ll have to make sure that the wheels are the right diameter for your BMW F3X, you’ll also need to consider some other factors including offset, tire choice, wheel weight, build quality, and price. It is important to consider all of these factors beforehand to prevent the dreaded situation where you have to return the wheels that you have been waiting on patiently for weeks.
In the next few sections, we’ll break down some of the most important considerations for choosing BMW F30 wheels.
F30 Wheels – Sizing
Unquestionably the most important part of purchasing new wheels for your F30 is ensuring that they’ll actually fit. While that sounds like an easy task, there’s actually quite a bit to consider when looking for the right size F30 wheels. Of course, wheel diameter is the first dimension that most BMW owners think of.
Typically, F30s, F31s, and F34s can fit wheels with diameters between 17” and 20” fairly comfortably. Of course, those numbers are flexible, especially if you are running an aggressive suspension setup. However, if you are planning on running 17” wheels, make sure that they will be able to accommodate your brake setup, as it can be a tight squeeze.
Width is also a very important dimension to pay attention too as well, as wheels that are too wide can also cause your tires to rub on the inside of your fenders. 8.5-10” wheels are the most common sizes that are usually run on the F3X chassis. Additionally, offset is also vital to consider, as an F30 wheel choice with an incorrect offset can cause issues with brake clearance and suspension clearance.
Due to the fact that all of the vehicles in the F3X range feature the same fitment requirements, this guide will apply to both F3X 3-Series and 4-Series. The models included in that list are the 2013-2019 F30 3-Series sedan, F31 3-Series sports wagon, 2013-2020 F32 4-Series Coupe, F33 4-Series convertible, and F36 4-Series Gran Coupe. Of course, that is based on a stock suspension setup. If you have a modified suspension setup, the fitments listed below might not work for your application.
F30 BMW 3-Series Wheels – Weight
Weight is also another important characteristic. Typically, this doesn’t matter so much if you don’t do any performance driving. With that being said, even a casual driver can recognize the performance enhancement of lighter wheels. Because wheels count as both rotational and unsprung weight, reducing their weight can have some of the most dramatic effects.
The benefits of lighter wheels come from improved handling characteristics, faster braking, and marginally better gas mileage. The lighter the wheels the better. Once again, it might not be the reason that the majority of enthusiasts choose to swap wheels, but it is another important reason.
F30 Staggered vs Square Setups
There are also a few options when it comes to what kind of wheel and tire setup you choose to run. Breaking down your two options, you can either run a “square” or “staggered” setup on your F30/F32. There are both performance and practicality differences between the two options, with one being better for aggressive performance driving and the other being the superior option for practicality and daily driving.
Starting with F30 square setups, that is when the wheels are the same width and diameter on both the front and the rear of the car. The primary advantage of a square F30 wheel setup is slower and more even tire wear. As all four corners of your F30 are making equal contact with the ground, they’ll wear evenly. Additionally, with a square setup, you’ll also be able to rotate your tires from side to side, as well as front to rear; that’s something that you aren’t able to do with a staggered setup. It is possible to run an aggressive square setup to provide good on-track grip, but F30 staggered setups tend to perform better on the track.
By contrast, staggered F30 wheel setups tend to maximize both front and rear tire grip at the sacrifice of tire life. Since the front and rear tires are making unequal contact with the pavement with a staggered F30 setup, the front and rear tires tend to wear unevenly. As a result, you’ll have to replace tires more frequently than you would with a square setup. You also won’t have the benefit of being able to rotate your tires from front to rear due to the difference in wheel and tire size.
F30 Wheel Build Quality
Just like anything else that you’d purchase, you should make sure that the F30 wheels that you are interested in are high quality and built by a reputable manufacturer. When you opt for the cheap F30 wheel route, you open yourself up to all kinds of potential problems.
Most significantly, if the wheels that you purchase turn out to be made of inferior materials or with an unfavorable production method, they have a much larger chance of bending or cracking. If one of your wheels does end up cracking, you’ll not only be looking at a new wheel but potentially new suspension components as well. It’s better to skip that headache entirely and just get a quality product to begin with.
Obviously, you can’t go wrong with an OEM BMW wheel option that is guaranteed to be quality. We’ll go over some of the reputable aftermarket F30 wheel brands and their most popular F30 wheel models in a later section.
Common 3-Series Wheel and Tire Setups
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what you should look for in a quality set of wheels, we’ll move on to some of the most popular wheel and tire setups for an F30 /F32. While this list is a good point of reference, the right setup for you is entirely dependent on your build. That is especially true if you have F3X coilovers or lowering springs. The following setups are based on an F30/F32 with stock suspension. Some of the following setups will also require additional modifications to your F3X chassis in order for the wheels to fit properly.
Direct Fit F30 Square Wheel Setups
- Front & Rear: 17×9” ET30 with 245/45-17 tires
- Does not clear M-Sport brakes
- Front & Rear: 18×9” ET30 or ET31 with 245/40-18 tires
- Does clear M-Sport brakes
- Front & Rear: 19×9″ ET28 or ET30 with 255/30-19 tires
Aggressive F30 Square Setups
- Front & Rear: 19×9.5″ ET33 or ET35 with 255/30-19 tires
- Potential need for 3mm spacers and fender roll
- Front & Rear: 18×9″ ET42 with 245/40-18 tires
- 5mm spacers required
Popular F30 Staggered Wheel Setups
- Front: 18×8.5 ET38 with 235/40-18 tires
Rear: 18×9” ET42 with 255/40-18 tires
- Direct Fit
- Front: 18×9″ ET30 or ET31 (EC-7) with 245/40-18 tires
Rear: 18×9.5″ ET35 with 275/35-18 tires
- Rear fender roll required
- Front: 19×9″ ET28 or ET30 with 245/35-19 tires
Rear: 19×9.5″ ET33 or ET35 with 275/30-19 tires
- Front negative camber required
BMW F30 Wheel Recommendations
When it comes to picking out the right setup for your 3-Series build, there is no doubt a lot of information to grasp. But, once you have all of the logistics worked out, the fun part begins; actually picking out the 3-Series wheels that you want to run. Ultimately, there are a few paths that you can take in terms of F30 wheels. You can either go for a different OEM wheel that works on the F30 platform, or you can go the aftermarket route.
There are advantages to both OEM BMW wheel options and aftermarket wheel options; if you know what to look for that is. While OEM BMW wheels are always going to provide fantastic build quality, some factory options are heavier than the ones that come stock on the F30. Since reduced weight is one of the most significant benefits of new BMW F30 wheels, it is important to pay attention to the weight of OEM wheels if you decide to go that route.
On the other side of the coin, aftermarket BMW F30 wheels can be extremely light, but quality is something that you have to pay close attention to. There are established wheel manufacturers that have a fantastic reputation in the BMW community in terms of quality. APEX, BBS, and OZ are all good examples. With that benign said, quality aftermarket 3-Series wheels come at a price. Generally speaking, if the price of a set of aftermarket wheels seems too good to be true, chances are that they are lacking in the quality department.
Here are our picks for some of the best BMW F30 3-Series wheels, both OEM and aftermarket.
Apex ARC-8/ARC-8R Wheels
Price: $299.00 – $660.00 per wheel
Purchase Here: apexraceparts.com
APEX is a wheel manufacturer that has firmly established their place in the BMW aftermarket wheel market. While they manufacture wheels for more than just BMWs, they have a very good reputation in the BMW community on chassis ranging from the E30 to the G80. APEX offers both flow-formed and forged wheels for the F30 and F32 with the forged options being slightly more expensive.
The APEX ARC-8 is one of the company’s best-selling wheel styles and it isn’t hard to see why. The design is truly classic and works well on practically any BMW chassis. The split-spoke design compliments the F3X chassis very well, adding some visual intrigue to the lower part of your 3-Series.
The APEX ARC-8 is available in two different face profiles, including a shallow face and a concave face. The shallow-face ARC-8 is the best option for those that have M-Sport brakes or a big brake kit due to greater clearance, while the concave ARC-8 is better for those with stock brakes.
For direct fitment on the F30/F32, Apex offers the ARC-8 in 17,” 18,” and 19” diameters and in widths ranging from 8.5” to 9.5”. The standard APEX ARC-8 is the flow-formed version of the iconic wheel, while the ARC-8R is the forged version. Ultimately, APEX BMW wheels are some of the most affordable, strongest, and best-looking F30 wheels. They are a proven option in the BMW community with almost no negative feedback.
BBS CH / BBS CH-R F30 Wheels
Price: $2,740.00 – set of four
Purchase Here: turnermotorsport.com
As one of the primary wheel suppliers for performance German vehicles, BBS needs no introduction. BBS has been a part of BMW history, as well as racing history as a whole, for nearly a half-century. They have been responsible for some of BMW’s most famous wheel designs and wheel production. As a result, they truly know what they are doing. Nearly every BBS model looks fantastic on nearly every BMW chassis, so you truly can’t go wrong.
While BBS is famous for their multi-piece, basketweave design, they also produce some very attractive and lightweight single-piece wheels as well. The BBS CH and CH-R are perfect examples of that. The BBS CH and CH-R are designed to emulate some of BBS’s most popular performance motorsport wheels yet at a lower price point.
A big reason for their lower cost is their cast construction as opposed to a forged construction. With that being said, they are still exceedingly strong and quality wheels. The BBS CH features a slightly less concave design, while the CH-R is slightly more aggressive.
Both the BBS CH and BBS CH-R are available in either 18” through 20” diameters with the 19” option being the most popular choice for F30 and F32 applications. They are available in widths ranging from 8” to 12.” Both wheels are available in silver, black, and gunmetal finishes allowing for some additional individualization.
BMW Style 235 F3X Wheels
Price New: $646.76 per wheel
Purchase Here: ECSTuning.com
Venturing away from aftermarket F30 BMW wheels, BMW Style 235s are a somewhat unorthodox choice. This particular style was featured on first-gen M-Sport X1s and E90 3-Series. The split 10-spoke design is a classic from BMW’s M division and fits a BMW F30 with the right specs. While Style 225s look tantalizingly aggressive, their weight is their downfall. Compared to factory F30 328i Style 397 wheels, Style 225Ms will increase overall weight by 4kg. If you aren’t as concerned with performance as you are with styling, these might be a good choice for you.
The most common spec for F30s running Style 225s are as follows: Front – 19×8 ET37, 235/35 Rear – 19×9 ET39, 245/35. Some F30 owners running a Style 225 setup claim that spacers might be needed in the front. Since this is an OEM BMW wheel that came on a few models, there are a pretty good number of them floating around for second-hand purchase. If you can’t find any used examples, they are still sold new from BMW.
Some people favor a smaller wheel with larger tire sidewalls. If you fall in that camp, these are not the right wheel for you. Since the Style 225s are 19” in diameter, they require a pretty low-profile tire in order to fit properly. That also makes them slightly less comfortable over rough surfaces or poorly paved roads. Overall, this is a pretty uncommon wheel choice for the F30 which will certainly make you stand out in the crowd.
OZ Ultraleggera F30 Wheels
Price New: $341.47 per wheel
Purchase Here: Tirerack.com
OZ has a very solid record as far as lightweight performance wheels go. The Ultraleggera is a great example of one. The split 6-spoke OZ Ultralegerra is one of the lightest options on our list at just 17.6 lbs. It is also one of the best looking. In my opinion, multi split-spoke wheels suit the F30 perfectly.
This is a wheel where you’d feel a noticeable increase in handling performance. Most Ultraleggera owners claim that their steering feels significantly lighter than in stock form without losing any road feel. They also claim that their ride is smoother with the lighter wheels equipped. Since the OZs remove so much unsprung weight, they absorb a lot more vibrations, not allowing them to reach the cabin.
OZ Ultras aren’t just light, they’re strong too. While they are cast rather than forged, they are still made of some very high-quality materials. The aluminum, silicon, and magnesium construction ensures that the Ultras can take some abuse during performance driving. They also come in 7 colors, allowing some variety in terms of wheel color.
Best BMW F30 Wheels Summary
When it comes to modifications that will make your BMW F30 3-Series a better overall car, a solid new set of wheels and tires lands near the top of the list. Not only can new wheels reduce unsprung and rotational weight leading to better cornering performance, but they can also add a significant amount of visual intrigue to your 3-Series. With that being said, there are quite a few considerations that you’ll need to take into account before pulling the trigger on a set of F30 BMW wheels.
Sizing is obviously of utmost importance when selecting F30 BMW wheels, as improperly sized wheels can do more harm than good. Wheel specs including diameter, width, and offset are crucial to F30 wheel fitment. F30 wheels with incorrect specs can do damage to your fender liners, decrease ride quality dramatically, and potentially not fit over some factory BMW brakes. Quality is another important aspect, as not all aftermarket F30 BMW wheels are created equal. OEM wheels are obviously a pretty fail-proof option in that respect.
F30 wheels can vary significantly in terms of style, weight, and size. As such, there are plenty of great options out there to make your F30 a more capable BMW. APEX, BBS, and OZ are all solid aftermarket BMW wheel manufacturers that have proven their worth in the BMW community.
If you enjoyed this article and are looking for more BMW F30 content, check out our BMW F30 Coilover Guide. As always, safe driving!