In praise of OEM wheels

For anyone contemplating an aftermarket wheel for their Volkswagen, Audi, or BMW– please don’t. We happen to think these marques offer some of the best-looking OEM alloy wheels (typically supplied by industry leaders like BBS, no less) among car manufacturers.

While there are obviously exceptions, OEM offerings (or some close variant thereof) will usually look cleaner and classier, not to mention be stronger and better engineered. Just as a judiciously lowered suspension will almost always visually enhance a respectable car, a lesser (or worse, egregiously period-incorrect) aftermarket wheel will almost invariably do just the opposite. Case in point:


“Your doing it wrong” [sic].

The exception we’d be willing to make would be for anyone who takes an uncompromising approach to performance; while OEM and performance aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive (see: M Division, BMW), OEM wheels do tend to be heavier. If shedding unsprung weight is the ultimate goal, a lightweight wheel from OZ Racing or other two- or three-piece forged wheel from a reputable racing wheel manufacturer would probably be in order.

But at that point, we suspect we’d be preaching to the choir.


~ by velofinds on January 13, 2010.

5 Responses to “In praise of OEM wheels”

  1. whole heartedly agree with this post. There is a perfect condition 635csi locally with perfect stance yet let down by hideous wheels. I always contemplate a photo but the wheels kill it. I will next time just to illustrate the point

  2. For some reason The Datsun Z and the E30 series have bee cursed with this affliction more than most. That BMW pictured is a sin.

  3. I’m actually quite partial to a cheap set of bmw bottlecaps, and on the right car, stock weaves’ look pretty nice as well.

  4. Speaking of OEM wheels, 2002 tii Alpina: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photomechanica/4271078795/in/photostream/

  5. i like this post. namely with the BMW’s and VW’s. i’ve seen worse examples on higher end cars (mercedes or M edition bmws) where they put cheap aftermarket wheels on them. more often than not they fit worse and are narrower than the factory wheels 😐

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