"These build journal entries are part of a Special Series on the crowdfunding, development and fitment experiments of the flowformed OE+ M359 wheels in 19x10 and 19x11 and the M359 Forged Wheel Program.
In this entry: long live the king! After years in the making, I chat about the upcoming M359 forged wheel program, the preliminary specs and what you should expect."
In 2010, BMW released E92 M3 GTS and thereby introduced what is arguably the greatest wheel design ever produced: the M359. In 2021, I introduced the OE+ flowformed M359s in 19x10J and 19x11J.
They were wider, lighter, with more aggressive offsets while remaining 1,000$ US less than Genuine BMW originals.
To this day, nobody can tell the difference - because there isn't any. The AG's M359 are the only 1:1 replica in the entire world, and there are legal reasons for that I will touch on later.
I've been running these wheels since late 2021 and over 30,000 km. Covering such mileage on Quebec's notoriously bad roads without a single dented wheel is a miracle in itself.
It's also a testament to the improved strength of the flow formed construction over the low pressure cast of Genuine BMW wheels.
I did curb them a few times.
To this day, they remain the best alternative to OEM wheels for M3 V8 owners that want more for less, and will forever be a staple of my curation.
Some want less, for more.
The moment I released the flowformed wheels' crowdfunding, I expected the obvious question.
"Any plans for forged Matt?
- You know who you are.
Yes, it had always been in the back of my mind, but market adoption needed to be proven to justify the engineering, design and related expenses to bring this to market.
While forged wheels have come down in price since China's manufacturing sector developed the capacity to support the wheel industry, the M3 V8 remains an aging platform with limited volume.
The wheel ballers buying 8,000$ + wheels have for the most part left this platform chasing the latest and great things.
The reality is I have been sitting on files for a while, my bad.
Costly acquired knowledge.
My experiences with the flowformed version of the M359 have helped amass knowledge about the specifics of wheel fitment on the E9x M3.
I documented my fitment experiments and provided my final fitment specifications openly: including height and alignment specs. This is rarely seen in the wheel industry: very few want to share their complete specifications beyond the usual offsets and widths.
I played with all kinds of spacers, offsets, ride heights and alignment specs, including this excessively aggressive -3.5 front camber and lower rear ride height.
Yet, this was a fixed widths and offsets wheel: if you truly wanted perfection, you had to involve spacers at the front. My final specs had at 12.5mm front spacer.
I even slightly damaged my rear fender's paint testing out the limits of the rear 19x11J ET25 fitment on the flow formed wheels. I got too low, with too little camber.
You won't see it from this distance, but I do. *sigh*
A program is a service.
A custom forged wheel opens up a world of possibilities: you can spec the offsets according to your specific fitment goals as they are machined instead of cast.
The goal of the M359 forged wheel is to create a program. It's marketing talk that conveys this a service over a product.
The final fitment specs will vary depending on your goals: a balance of performance, wear and aesthetics.
The minute technical variables such target tire widths, tire brand, whether you have the widened front end kit [...] and suspension settings: camber plates, height adjustability all will play a part.
Tire selection will be a core component of your final specs.
AG Wheels, also known as AvantGarde wheels, has been in business for close to 20 years offering cast wheels sourced from Asia. They have since pivoted to offering forged wheels lineup, making it close to 70% of their business.
AG has developed new supply chain processes to combine the low machining costs of forgings in China and their in-house engineering, design and machining expertise.
The goal is to find the right compromise with market viability and quality.
The complete engineering and design of the wheels is done in the USA, the dies and initial machining is done in the China, and raw wheels are shipped to AG's Los Angeles facilities where final precision machining is conducted, along with paint & powdercoat finishing and final quality control.
The flowformed variants remain manufactured in Taiwan.
These are the preliminary specs of the M359 forged wheel program. I am currently getting a set cut to combine with the widened front end kit. I will deep dive into the specifications of these wheels as I receive them.
This may, or may not be one of my wheels [...]
Perfect offsets & less weight.
The program will be centered around matching the right offsets with your fitment objectives. The end goal is to have a spacers-less fitment you are happy with.
Original staggered widths, upsized squared, ultra-upsized squared, upsized staggered - it will all be possible.
Optional race pocketing of back pads and knurled beads will be available for those that want the less weight.
No matter the specs, expect the forged wheels to be lighter than stock low pressure cast Genuine BMW M359s.
AG wheels is the only company in the world that can make a 1:1 profile because of legal reasons I cannot publicly disclose.
You can assume any other company claiming to do M359s has altered the spoke profile - and I know exactly what they did, because I have reviewed their drawings.
The program will make sure of 10,000 ton forgings. Tonnage is industrial engineering lingo to determine the force used to create the dies that are upsteam to these forged wheels.
Tonnage can go up to 50,000. The less stress the molecules have and the stronger the part. 10,000 forging has become affordable enough to be commercially viable for wheel manufacturing.
Ultimately, wheel strength is mostly captured by load rating. These will be rated to 800kg minimum per wheel, above most aftermarket wheel specifications.
Painted and Powdercoated Finishes.
The original flowformed wheels were painted Hypersilver in Taiwan. They were able to match the unique shade nearly perfectly, however the primer and sealed they used led to a finish susceptible to flaking when installing and removing these wheels.
The M359 forged wheels will all be painted, or powdercoated in Los Angeles as to maintain control over the first impressions: what you'll see!
There will be a unique, proprietary primer and sealer combination used on the wheels that I have been testing on my flowformed M359s for over a year.
I need your inputs! Tell me which specs you'd like by getting on the list here.
Up next: my set gets machined and delivered.
I unbox, review, and document my impressions.