Great Car! What about the roof rack? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Great Car! What about the roof rack?

12-03-2011, 10:28 AM
I now have had my GT for a week. Waited 8 weeks for delivery on the West Coast - tracking the car was cool, but frustrating with the "slow boat" - particularly with the Panama Canal. But pricewise, my timing was perfect - I negotiated a good price when there were no incentives and then got the current financing and $1,000 credit upon delivery.

Imperial Blue 535, Active Steering, Dynamic Handling, Sport Package, Cameras, Value Package - a lot of technology and features packed into the car - and I love it!

My impressions and review of my car - moving from a 2001 X5 4.4, Sport suspension:

The GT handling and ride is awesome. The first thing I noticed was how small the turning radius of the car is when I nearly clipped the curb on my first right hand turn. I had read accounts that were pro and con on the active steering and was concerned, but my experience with it is great. At slow to moderate speeds it is nimble, at high speeds it is precise without being twitchy.

Without a A/B comparison, I cannot assess the Dynamic handling and sport package pro and con. I haven't fully done the options, turning features on and off, but the handling is amazing for a car this size and weight. It has the handling of a much smaller car. It always stays flat through any turn and speed. Not a fan of the Comfort+ setting - the floating of the car is disconcerting to me to the point of nausea on certain undulating surfaces. The 19 inch wheels are pretty in a classic way and came with the Pirelli P-Zero. The tires seem to grip pretty well, but I have not pushed them yet.

The X5 was eleven years old so I did not have experience with iDrive, but it is quite well done, now. I keep on discovering new things as I have now loaded my own music, worked through navigation and it's features, and generally played around. Just yesterday I discovered that Nav has additional features when it is in split screen. I love discovering new things, but wish the manual (printed, online, and onboard) could be more complete. I guess it is hard to do that when there is so much in the car.

I was a little sheepish about ordering the camera package as I thought I was a good enough driver without it, but it is very helpful. It took awhile for me to get used to flipping through the modes, but top down is great for tight spaces, and rear view is very accurate with turning aids coupled with PDC. I am still getting used to the fender cams as I think you can be fooled with the distances - only to be used when absolutely necessary.

The interior is wonderful. I like the luxury and comfort - and am amazed at the capacity. The rear actually has a little larger foot print than my X5. I am using the OEM rear mat from the X5 and it is a nearly perfect fit, and my golf clubs in bag will fit laterally in the GT but could not in the X5. Since the rear seats and leg room are larger in the GT it has more square foot capacity with the seats down than the X5 had. Of course because of the roof line it does not have the full cubic capacity, but comes close because it has a lower floor without the spare tire in the X5.

I cannot wait to finish the current "babying" phase as I break in the car. Then I will be able to see what it really can do. I do not miss the bigger engine as the car is quick off the line and feels like it will like to rev up after polishing up the internals through break in. I am looking forward to getting good gas mileage.

The only cons so far are the cup holders are terrible, although I don't know what else they could have done to fit in the storage spaces and iDrive controller. Rear view through the hatch is very limited and backing up would be scary without the rear view camera. It takes getting used to using a camera. I miss not having an "accessory" mode. Or at least I have not found a way to enable such a mode. I have only found "ignition" with and without engine running, and radio. I would like a mode where the iDrive is fully functional and the windows are operable without the halos (daytime running lights) on. Right now if I want to play with Nav, or open windows, etc. I have to turn on ignition and the lights are on unless I turn off the light option in settings.

Enough with my rambling on how great my car is...

I want to explore using a roof rack on the car as I have done frequently with the X5. Occasionally I need to haul something and I also want to use a bike rack on the roof as I have now lost my hitch. I have used a Yakima hitch mounted bike rack in the past. I would consider installing the disappearing Westfalia hitch, but it does not appear to have a receiver, just includes the ball. I have looked at adapting my Yakima roof rack, but the specified towers and landing pads look like it will rest on the paintwork.

Question: does the BMW base rack system also rest on the paintwork? I have talked to a couple of dealer parts departments and they do not know. The diagrams show a coupling screwed into the roof mounting points, but we cannot tell if anything touches the paintwork beyond inside the mounting. This is a special order item and they would charge a restocking fee if I don't like the rack.

Any thoughts?

12-03-2011, 03:12 PM
I have the BMW rack on my 535 and no, the shroud does not touch the bodywork at sits above it maybe 1/4" or so. Once you open the wells, when you install the rack the first time, they provide a plastic piece that fits in the well (it's got self-stick tape on it...once set down, it's there for the duration!). Then, the rack itself has two feet that then sit on the plastic in the well holding the rest up off the vehicle's bodywork, and the single screw fits in the captive nut to lock it down. It also comes with a neat torque wrench for that screw to ensure you get it the proper tension.

In reading about the aftermarket racks, it appeared there were a lot of complaints about it actually denting the roof, so even though I've actually got both a Yakima and a Thule rack from older cars sitting in the garage, I decided to get the BMW rack.

The Westfalia hitch is nice, and does have bike rack as an option, it is pricy. And, I'm not sure how many US dealers have ever seen one. Also, not sure if it comes with the modified BMW panels required (you don't cut the existing ones, you install new lower panels in the back, at least if I read the installation manual properly). With all of the options, it is a neat system, and is available as an option in Europe, but not here, at least directly from BMW. The thing bolts in mechanically, but needs a fair amount of electrical work to integrate it into the vehicle's systems. These allow it to fold away and it needs to integrate with the brakes and turn signals. Depending on what you may be carrying, you may also want their optional additional brake/turn signal lights...I'd expect that with the parts, painting, and installation, it would likely cost over $1K installed, and probably more.

12-03-2011, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the info!

I think I will get the BMW base rack. The price actually seems pretty reasonable compared to the Yakima and Thule racks (of which I also have both from older cars).

I am pleased to hear that the rack doesn't touch the outer paint, but have you had any concerns about stability and strength? There doesn't seem to be much contact area for the rack to sit on... although the load limit seems sufficient.

Also, have you had any difficulty in attaching either Yakima or Thule components to the BMW rack? I have attachments I would like to use.

I had eliminated the Westfalia hitch option like you did. Too expensive although the videos of it in operation look pretty neat.

12-03-2011, 04:27 PM
I have a recumbent trike that folds up. While it will fit into the back, it is a close fit, and you risk chain oil on the roofliner, so I decided to just end up with it on the roof, unless I'm taking it a long distance where the noise would be annoying (then I take the wheels off to lower it more - a hassle with the hydraulic disk brakes since if you happen to hit the handle, you may have to rebuild the brake caliper when it pops out!). I had the Yakima tray, and the anchors did not fit. I bought some SS hose clamps and some black plastic tubing to go over the strap and use four of them to anchor the tray to the rack. The shape of the BMW rack is neither round nor oval, so you have to get creative. There is no play in the thing once you've torqued the attachment screws down. It is limited to 160# load, though, on most of the other aftermarket ones, it's 200#, but not sure on the kit for the BMW, the factory may trump that based on the anchor points. Still, that's like four or more bikes, and it probably isn't wide enough to get that many on in the first place.

12-03-2011, 07:39 PM
Would love to see some pic of the IB. What color interior did you get?


12-04-2011, 02:53 PM
Here is a picture quickly taken with my phone.

Interior is Everest Gray with Ash Grain. I like how the interior contrasts with dark and light colors inside as well with the dark color exterior.

I am very pleased with the Imperial Blue as the car shows an increase in the blue intensity in sunlight while looking very elegant as it is a very dark blue in the evening.

12-04-2011, 04:43 PM
IB was my initial choice, though we chose Neptune Blue in the end. Your IB looks very elegant, very deep and saturated, great choice, great car - just keeps getting better!

12-04-2011, 05:24 PM

Our first choice was Neptune Blue, but we had only seen it in the brochures and YOUR signature picture.

I spent some effort in trying to find one to see in person and could not find one anywhere. The dealerships I went to did not recall seeing one except possibly a few years ago in other BMWs.

Then we decided on the Imperial Blue after seeing it at night and in sunlight.

12-04-2011, 05:36 PM
Hah! We could not see it at the dealer, either - it is unique to the GT and our dealer did not have a good set of samples. We looked at a tiny, tiny piece next to similar hues and tones and took a chance. The notion of a rare model in a rare color was appealing. I think some models look particularly good in some colors and not others, perhaps due to scale and shaping issues. I wanted the cinnamon leather, but it did not look good next to NB, so we went black.

12-04-2011, 08:03 PM
You, Sir, have my congratulations on taking the risk - now paid off with an exceptionally nice car.

Now that I have my IB, I cannot imagine having another color.

We both ended up with what we wanted