BBS unveils universal wheel that’s “suitable for all vehicles”

BY Jonathan Lim

A step change for the aftermarket?

For the many drivers out there who like to accessorise their cars as much as they like to accessorise themselves, buying a new set of wheels is like buying a new pair of shoes. Except more complicated. When it comes to footwear, the only thing that’ll determine if it fits is the size; but wheels need consideration of factors in addition to diameter and width, like offset and bolt pattern.

One limitation of aftermarket wheels now is that you can’t put any wheel onto any car you like, even if it fits in the wheelarch. Not all cars’ wheel hubs share the same bolt pattern; most cars today take either four or five wheel bolts or lugs, and with varying spaces apart. If the manufacturer doesn’t make your desired wheel design in the same bolt pattern as the car, you physically can’t put them on.

With the new Unlimited range by German wheel manufacturer BBS however, that’s about to change. Under this new “one size fits all” philosophy, BBS Unlimited wheels will only be made in one bolt pattern - 5x117.5. The wheels then mount up via adapters that match the car’s bolt pattern.

Short wheel bolts or wheel nuts attach the adapters to the wheel hubs, and the wheel is then mounted to the adapter using wheel bolts specific to the BBS Unlimited series, which will be made of either steel or titanium. Centering rings between both hub/adapter and adapter/wheel then ensure everything is centered perfectly so that no vibrations occur. With the usage of adapters, the wheel offset (aka backspacing - basically how far away the wheel sits from the car’s suspension) can also easily be changed.

The advantage of this system is twofold. On the business end, it’ll presumably streamline the manufacturing process as the company only needs to churn out wheels in a single bolt pattern. For car owners though, these wheels will be more accessible to a wider range of cars. All you need is the appropriate adapter, and hey presto, suddenly you run any wheel design you want!

Of course, what BBS is doing here isn’t entirely new, as aftermarket wheel adapters have been around for a long time already. The difference here, particularly for customers buying these Unlimited wheels new, is that everything they need is available in one convenient set. Down the line in the secondhand market, there’ll also be the assurance that you’re getting a quality, long-lasting that should work perfectly with any other wheel from the same series.

The BBS Unlimited range goes on sale in July 2022, initially with the CI-R design pictured here. Sizes run from 19 to 21 inches in diameter, and 8 to 12 inches in width. The wheel adapters meanwhile, will range in thickness from 14 to 50mm. Colours are also customisable, with the base wheel available in Black Silk Matt, Bronze Silk Matt, Racing Gold Silk Matt, Diamond Black Gloss, White Gold Silk Matt, Indigo Blue Silk Matt, Polished Ceramic and Platinum Silver, with further options for the centre caps, valve caps, and even rim protectors.