Aside from details like kidney grilles and headlight designs, one of the most instantly recognizable features of a BMW is the wheels. Throughout the years, factory BMW wheels have been generally revered as being stylistically above average. Thanks to a heavy motorsport influence, they’re generally light too, which has numerous performance benefits. Here are some of the best BMW wheels ever designed.
These iconic wheels first appeared on the E46 M3 CSL in 2003 before eventually being included in the Competition Package. Measuring 19 inches and using an oversteer-inducing staggered-width design, these wheels inspired countless replicas and even future BMW wheels. The Style 359 wheel on the 1M and E9x M3 with Competition Package closely mimics the original Style 163M wheel, and, similarly, it looks great too.
Style 20 and Style 21 Wheels: Throwing Stars / Turbine Wheels
The E34 M5 came with some incredibly unique wheels. A black, five-spoke wheel, it uses bolted-on covers to improve aerodynamics and direct air to the brakes. Unfortunately, they also gave the E34 M5 the look of wearing whitewall tires, which many automotive journalists were happy to mock. BMW eventually redesigned the turbine cover to M-System II design, which resembled a throwing star. Both BMW versions have become iconic for their interesting engineering and unique appearance.
The factory wheel on the CS-badged variants of the F8X M2, M3, and M4 features a classic five-spoke design and looks great on almost everything. They’re forged wheels, and BMW says they’re “inspired” by DTM and claims they’re six pounds lighter than stock M2 wheels. I probably wouldn’t opt for the Frozen Gold paint, but they do manage to look okay when paired with a Misano Blue M2 CS.
Though maybe not technically BMW wheels, the iconic 20-spoke ALPINA wheels have been around for decades and come in various sizes. They’ve been fitted to everything from the 3 Series to the X7, and rightly so: they look fantastic. They’re also surprisingly light, and some variants boast forged construction that takes roughly six to seven hours per wheel to mill out.
These wheels look similar to the Style 763M BMW wheels but are bigger and wider, featuring openings in the spokes that give them a very unique look up close. These openings allow aerodynamic benefits and a reduction in unsprung weight. An impressive 10.5 inches wide in the rear, these forged wheels are designed to fit on a late model M5 or M8. They’re rare to see out and about, as they were never offered as standard equipment and only exist in the M Performance parts catalog, but they are a severely underrated BMW wheel.
Style 5 BBS / BMW Wheels
Almost every vintage BMW enthusiast, at some point, considers putting Style 5 wheels on their BMW. These classic “basketweave” wheels came standard on tons of different BMWs during the 1980s and 1990s, like the E30 and E36 3 Series and E34 5 Series. Why are they desirable? Well, they’re easy to find, high-quality wheels developed with renowned wheel-makers BBS, and they look great. The BMW/BBS relationship is also very cool – and much of the reason that BBS is such an aftermarket giant still today.
BMW M1 Wheels
Oh yeah. Nearly as timeless as the car they came on, these 16-inchers were manufactured by Campagnolo, a wheel manufacturing company based out of Italy. They made a name for themselves by supplying many Formula 1 teams with wheels, making them an obvious choice for BMW’s M1 supercar. They also made wheels for Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Alfa Romeo. The design is so quintessentially 1980s that they’re a mandatory inclusion on any list compiling the best of BMW wheels.