Full credit goes to Jason, Ced, RS2, regulars in bimmer.org, who did much of the leg work to gather this info for 17" winter wheels.
Factory M3 wheels in North America are not optimal for winter use. They are very low profile, which is not the best for snow and ice. It is very hard to find winter tires for the factory 18" size.
Factory 18" for North America (No Factory 19" here)
Front: 18"x8", 47mm +offset, 72.5mm centerbore
Rear: 18"x9", 26mm +offset, 72.5mm centerbore
Find some winter wheels for the M3.
- Good Fit
- Look nice
- Sized appropriate for snow / ice. 17"x8" gives a higher profile. Higher profile is better for these conditions.
M68 E46 M Sport wheel or M2 Double Spoke wheel:
36-11-2-229-480 front 7 1/2 x 17 offset 47 mm
36-11-2-229-980 rear 7 1/2 x 17 offset 25 mm
- Supposedly does not require spacers or centering rings
- $850 CDN each or about $600 USD. Very expensive. One person found a dealer to sell them for $300.
- Looks are not appreciated by many
- Other places sell cheaper replicas. Here is one at http://www.discounttiredirect.com
TIRE RACK OPTIONS:
Sport Edition Valore 17"x7" $129 USD each
Sport Edition Tekno 17"x7" $129 USD each
AT Italia Type 5 17"x7.5" $183 USD each
- Require lateral spacers and extended lugs for proper offset
- Spacers are not always trouble free. Known for causing shimmy or vibration problems at speed. During mounting, the wheel may not be centered about the hub due to the spacer.
- Wheels must be torqued without the weight of the car on them to try and reduce this problem.
DISCOUNT TIRE OPTIONS:
Many options listed.
M3 Replica wheels $205 USD each
M3 Replica front 17x8", 47mm offset, 72.5mm centerbore, perfect fit.
M3 Replica rear 17x8", 20mm offset, 74mm centerbore, requires centering rings kit.
- Apparently they have a good, tight fight with the rings, and centering rings are not known to have the same issues as spacers which affect lateral adjustment.
WHEEL EXCHANGE OPTIONS:
Seem to sell 17" wheels similar to Discount Tire. However, in email correspondence, the M3 replica fronts are listed as 41mm offset, and in other ebay postings from same seller, listed as 47mm offset. 47mm is the same as stock M3, so it's prefered. But Jason and myself could not seem to get a clear answer on which ones WheelExchange was selling.
Jason went with the Discount Tire ones... I think he's happy with them... waiting to hear more.
I have abount a month before I need any... will still have my other car for a while yet. I'm holding off and waiting to see how Jason and other people find their new wheels to be.
If I had to buy right now, I would lean towards Discount Tire Direct, M3 Replicas. Apparently they ship to Canada. This would be about $2200 CDN for wheels and tires, vs the dealer who wants $3200 CDN. Both prices quoted before tax.
Other wheel images:
17" WINTER TIRES:
- Current popular recommendation is 225/50R17
- BMW Manual says 225/45R17 but nobody knows why. This size is 4% too small by our calculations. Perhaps this is for tire chain clearance?
- Everyone else suggests 225/50R17 for closest possible outer diameter and highest profile.
- Some options are Blizzak MZ01, Pirelli 210
- There are also chains available:
I could not find chains for low profile 18" but I did find some for 225/50R17.