Do customers need center-lock wheels for road cars? Absolutely not. The center-locking wheel was initially a motorsport technology, designed to make wheel swaps significantly faster, while also reducing a bit of rotational mass, and it’s been around for over 100 years. However, once Porsche started offering center lock wheels on its GT-series cars, customers have gone nutty for them. Why? Because race car, that’s why. And now BMW customers can go just as nutty, as the Bavarians are offering such wheels on the M2, M3, and M4.
This new center-lock wheel option comes courtesy of BMW’s M Performance Parts catalog, from which you can buy all manner of interesting goodies for your Bimmer. The wheel was originally made for the recently released 3.0 CSL, an incredibly expensive, ultra-exclusive remake of BMW’s iconic 1970s motorsport-bred sports car of the same name. Now, BMW is offering that same wheel—albeit in a different color—for more ordinary M cars.
The wheels are only offered in one staggered size setup: 19 inches up front and 20 inches for the rear, with 275/35 ZR19 and 285/30 ZR20 tire sizes, respectively. Rather than the matte gold finish on the 3.0 CSL, the M Performance versions only come in matte black. As the name suggests, these wheels connect to the hub via a single, massive lug in the center of the wheel, rather than the typical five smaller ones. Though, rather than the typical lug-bolt torque spec of around 85-90 lb-ft, BMW says the center locks require 686 lb-ft (930 Nm). So you better have a big breaker bar on hand if you want to swap these wheels at home.
Are these wheels going to make a noticeable difference in handling or feel at the track? No. Especially not on modern M cars, which are far too clinical and numb to notice tiny changes to wheel mass. Are the potentially quicker wheel changes going to make your life easier if you’re swapping your track wheels and tires on and off regularly? Perhaps. But do they look cool and make your car feel significantly cooler? Absolutely.
BMW doesn’t list North American pricing for these wheels just yet but, according to BMWBlog, European customers will have to pay 12,000 euros ($13,100). Thankfully, though, if you’re buying them for an M2, you aren’t also required to buy any other M Performance parts because yikes.
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