BMW is now among the ranks of Porsche and Ferrari, in offering motorsport-inspired center-locking wheels for some of its M cars. If you're the proud owner of a BMW M2, M3, or M4, you can order new center-lock wheels from the M Performance Parts catalog and feel a bit cooler on track. However, there's a catch. Well, there are actually two.
As neat as it is that BMW is offering center-lockers for its cars, us 'Mericans aren't allowed to have them, at least not yet. A BMW USA representative told The Drive that the center-locking wheels aren't offered in the United States market right now. While they may be available in the future, there's currently no word on U.S. customers being able to order them. Considering Porsche offers U.S. customers center-lock wheels on its 911 GT3 and GT2 models, it's unusual that BMW would exclude them.
The other catch is that European customers that do order them will also be on the hook for the tools required to remove them, as that's not included with the wheels themselves. With a center-locking wheel, there's only a single, very large lug that holds the wheel onto the hub, and it's much larger than a typical wheel lug, which means it needs a specific socket.
When you order a Porsche 911 GT3 with center-lock wheels, that bespoke socket comes with the car, in a little cubby in the trunk. Not so for BMW's wheels, as the socket is sold separately for a price the company hasn't yet disclosed. That means customers will either have to pay extra for the socket, on top of the 12,000 euros ($13,133) the wheels reportedly cost, or be forced to have a dealership handle any wheel removal. Considering many buyers will use these wheels on track and may need to swap setups on the fly, this seems especially stingy by BMW.
In addition to the specialized socket, owners will need to buy either a torque-multiplier or a big-ass breaker bar to get that socket off. That goes for Porsche's wheels, too. A heavy-duty torque wrench will be needed to tighten the center lug, too, as BMW claims it requires 685 lb-ft of torque (930 Nm).
For how much BMW is charging for these wheels, the socket should absolutely be included. Hell, for more than $13,000, they should come with a torque wrench and a lifetime subscription for upper body massages, to alleviate the pain of having to crank 685 lb-ft. Then again, this is BMW we're talking about. Is it any surprise?
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