This was 2006
The E9X M3 was developed back in 2005 and 2006. Back then, the outgoing Porsche 996 911s were running 285 at the rear and we thought that was wide.
The M3 was introduced with a respectable 265 rear tire on the 9.5" and 245 front tire on the 8.5" 219M and 220M wheel designs.
BMW later introduced what is arguably the greatest wheel design ever produced: the M359.
Building upon its now classic E46 M3 CSL wheel design. the classic mesh Y design was developed for the M3 GTS.
It featured 0.5" widened front and rear widths to accommodate the GTS uprated tire sizes of 255mm front and 285mm rear.
Not bad, but not wide enough.
The aftermarket wheel industry went to work.
Ultimately, various BMW focused brands developed various fitment options and wheel designs to find what is arguably the ultimate tire fitment for the E9X M3.
265 front and 295 rears
This perfectly balances grip and playability of the BMW M chassis with a Naturally Aspirated S65.
Welcome to the big leagues
Did you know the wheel & tire industry is the biggest market in automotive aftermarket industry?
Don't take my word for it. Here's what SEMA has to say.
"In fact, performance and special-purpose tires represent the largest sales category within the specialty-equipment tire market, according to the recently released “2020 SEMA Market Report.”
From 2016 to 2019, the category’s market size grew from $2.22 billion to $2.54 billion.
Of course, tires are useless without wheels, and custom wheels as a category grew steadily in market size from a $1.21 billion valuation in 2016 to $1.32 billion in 2019."
The wheels industry: my love and hate relationship continues to this day.
In my 15 years in the automotive aftermarket industry, I have seen companies come and go. Such is the nature of launching a business, everything that has a beginning has an end.
Yet, this mantra seems to be particularly accelerated in the wheel industry.
I have seen wheel brands owners get called out for money laundering, racist remarks, or just flat out picking from the piggy bank of customer payments to afford their outrageous lifestyles.
Why? Easy money.
High ticket prices, high margins, high visibility & essential products, easy access to Asian manufacturing and branding like basketball shoes.
Market opportunities in the wheel industries are everywhere; it is a marketer's wet dream.
Wheels are a fashion item.
Big markets attract all kinds of players: usually the bad ones get weeded out over time and the ones doing it right with integrity emerge and thrive in the long run.
I know who the right guys are.
Meet Eze @ AG Wheels
AG Wheels, also known as AvantGarde wheels, has been in business for close to 20 years. Its ownership and employees have been in the industry forever.
I was first row to their launch of AG Forged wheels lineup which slowly but surely has become a staple in the aftermarket forged market.
They have a reputation for delivering quality products, at great prices, and supporting communities worldwide with proper service.
I have been dealing with Eze @ AG wheels for over a decade. I reached out early February 2021 to chat about creating a Connex on the M359 wheels in stock widths. We had a long chat while he was hand delivering wheels to a client in Los Angeles.
The man is dedicated and will answer any of my questions within the hour. That's invaluable support to the community. It's what we're all about.
Yet, great service is nothing without some engineering genius.
Eze is also that guy.
He offered an entirely new idea.
Modern Day Technology to Correct the Past
Eze put me up to speed on their new manufacturing abilities with flow-forming.
Flow-forming technology was introduced in the early 2010s by various companies in the aftermarket wheel industry.
It was revolutionary - and it was called many names: spun forged, rotary forged, semi forged.
Whatever. It's flow formed.
This unique technology essentially allows to take a low pressure gravity cast wheel molded in a pancake, and form the barrel to the desired widths.
This technology has many benefits over traditional cast wheels:
- Lighter: 25% less weight
- Stronger: 20 to 30% higher tensile strength
- Higher load rating: greater shock resistance to road imperfections and track duties
- Flexibility in widths: a manufacture is able to flow form wheels to various widths using the same wheel face.
Ding, ding, ding!
The wheels BMW M should have built
For anyone new here - I'm Matt, founder of EuroConnex. I'm an avid BMW M enthusiasts and I am on my way to creating my own variant of a Canadian E92 M3 GTS starting from my Stripper ZCP Fire Orange E92 M3.
I'm an OEM+ fanboy.
I've always longed for proper widened E9X M3 OEM ZCP 359M wheels with the front wheel's spoke profile being just as concave as the rear.
This is possible by buying a new set of rear OEM 19x10 ZCP and running spacers at the front and rear to match the wider tracks.
It's a stitched up solution that looks absolutely amazing, however isn't exactly cost effective nor does it fixes the problem of the rear wheels limited 10in tire width selection.
Show below is a set of square 19x10 M359 wheels with spacers to properly match front and rear tracks. This fitment was developed by Malek @ MRF Engineering - props.
The EuroConnex OEM + M359 wheels made by AG Wheels are an enthusiast dream spec
Eze & I chatted about the dream specs of having a 11in rear wheel or a perfectly fitting 19x10 square setup specifically for the E9X M3 by using flow forming technology.
We made it happen: this is a EuroConnex exclusive.
I have extensively researched fitments for no rubbing, suspension & caliper clearance. The concavity profile is 1:1 with OEM in on the 10in & 11in variant for true OEM+ aesthetics. The wheels will weight around 25 lbs - that is lighter than OEM for a more aggressive offset!
The wheels are offered in a standard finish: Hypersilver. AG uses a 3 stage paint process to achieve as close to OEM as possible, there will be slight variations to the trained eyes.
Gloss & Satin Black, along with Gunmetal are offered as custom powdercoat options and are done at AG Wheels facilities in California. These add around 2 to 3 weeks to lead time and a slight upcharge.
- Lightweight flow formed construction
- Squared & Staggered Fitment
- Available in painted finish: Hypersilver
- Surcharge for powdercoated finish: Gloss & Satin Black, Gunmetal
- Approximately 25 lbs per wheel
- 1523 lbs load rating
- JWL Certified
- Hub centric fitment
- Acceptes OE BMW Center caps, M Stickers & TPMS
- Conical seat lug bolts