It’s been a tough few years for BBS. Last year, the legendary wheelmaker filed for bankruptcy for the third time in its history. Things were looking dire, that is until KW Automotive—and its founder Klaus Wohlfarth—swooped in to save the company. Now, a year later, the company is releasing its first new products and they seem exceptionally innovative. BBS has reimagined wheel fitment as we know it.
BBS has a long history and deep catalog of the most iconic wheels ever. The BBS RS is the inspiration for almost every mesh wheel ever made, the BBS LM is the definitive three-piece multispoke motorsports-inspired wheel, and the BBS E88 is just about every Euro car owner’s dream wheel. For a long time, it’s been difficult to find these wheels new or used, with a booming secondhand trade.
The only real issue with buying used wheels, besides condition and wear, is finding a set of wheels that fit your car. More than the diameter of the wheel, the dark art of wheels is all down to the width, offset, and lug pattern. These parameters are fixed to every set of wheels with modifications being almost impossible, but BBS’ new technology makes the lug pattern and offset fully configurable for one set of wheels. BBS calls this BBS Unlimited.
Details of the BBS CI-R Unlimited. BBS
It’s fairly ingenious, as it’s based on concepts that have been around for decades. BBS manufactures the base wheel in a certain diameter, width, and style, but with a BBS-specific lug pattern of 5x117.5. Then the wheel is fitted to the car with an adapter that fits the lug pattern of the car and defines the offset of the wheel. Basically, BBS has made a universal wheel by making the wheel accept a hub-centric wheel spacer.
Historically, wheel spacers are something of a bad thing. Plenty of aftermarket spacers are poorly engineered or not hub-centric, which is the most important part of any wheel install. The hub center bore carries the load of the wheel and tire to the hub, not the lugs. But if the spacers are specifically engineered by the wheel company and are TUV-approved, they should be safe. TUV is Germany’s vehicle safety inspection body that controls all modifications done to cars in Germany, and its standards are some of the strictest in the world.
BBS is working on introducing the system to more wheels, along with a new generation of BBS wheels under the stewardship of KW. The technology is in its infancy, but it’s a neat idea that could change the used wheel landscape. It also lets folks take wheels with them to every car.
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