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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 06-26-2007, 08:35 AM
JBasham JBasham is offline
Still driving my '79 323i
Location: Washington DC Metro Area
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 180
Mein Auto: 2009 X3 3.0; 1979 323i
How to get 10 suitcases, a bike, and 4 people on board.

I just used a Thule roof rack and roof box to load all of the above, plus miscellaneous other junk, into my X3 for a week-long break seven hours from home. Our destination had zero commercial air facilities, so driving was the only choice.

The roof rack held 6 cases in the box and one bike in a fork-mount carrier, plus another wheel carrier for the front bike wheel. The total weight on the roof was pretty close to Thule's 160-pound limit.

It worked well. I liked it much better than taking a larger vehicle, like my Jeep GCL. The stuff on the roof made a slight whine at high speeds, but closing the sun roof cover blocked it out well. Acceleration was slightly less effortless than usual, but only slightly and I was still one of the zippiest things on the freeway. Handling didn't seem affected -- maybe because all the extra weight I had in the passenger compartment balanced out the extra weight topside. Fuel efficiency took a direct hit, though. I was getting 21 mpg rolling along at 80 mph, instead of the 24-25 mpg I can get with four people and four suitcases in the trunk. The Jeep GCL would've only gotten 20, so I was still ahead. It was definitely drag-related, too -- after we arrived and unloaded all the stuff, we were still getting 21 on the highway for our excursions during our visit.

There were tons of other four-person families in the resort area with huge truck SUVs and roof boxes. I can't imagine what all they must've brought with them to eat that space. Maybe a moon bounce?

I also saw a couple of 325's with roof boxes! So far, my wife won't let me try to put it on her new 325xi. At least I didn't see any 3-ers pulling trailers.

Anyway, the moral for me is this: I'm glad I didn't pass up an X3 for a Suburban or minivan just because I was worried about hauling everything on the occasional family vacation. Even with the roof load, I had a better drive in the X3, and I don't have to suffer the rest of the year.

Last edited by JBasham; 06-26-2007 at 08:38 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2007, 09:02 AM
Tlon Tlon is offline
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Location: Falls Church, VA
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 300
Mein Auto: 2012 BMW X5 35i
Which Thule box did you go with? I just purchased the Cascade 1500 but I haven't put it on yet to see how it fits. I was hoping to do just about what you did, minus the bike but plus a dog in the cargo space.
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2007, 09:41 AM
iversonm's Avatar
iversonm iversonm is offline
3 pedals only!
Location: Grosse Ile, Michigan
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,666
Mein Auto: 2008 550i Carbon Black
[QUOTE=JBasham;2466962]
Fuel efficiency took a direct hit, though. I was getting 21 mpg rolling along at 80 mph, instead of the 24-25 mpg I can get with four people and four suitcases in the trunk.
[/quiote]

This is my experience as well. I get about 20 with the roof box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBasham View Post
Anyway, the moral for me is this: I'm glad I didn't pass up an X3 for a Suburban or minivan just because I was worried about hauling everything on the occasional family vacation. Even with the roof load, I had a better drive in the X3, and I don't have to suffer the rest of the year.
+1

BTW, do you headlights turn on? My roof box extend over the winshield, and I end up driving with my lights on most of the time.
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2007, 09:58 AM
JBasham JBasham is offline
Still driving my '79 323i
Location: Washington DC Metro Area
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 180
Mein Auto: 2009 X3 3.0; 1979 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlon View Post
Which Thule box did you go with?

I've had it for six or seven years. It's an Adventurer, I'm not sure what number - maybe 150. It's long, and about half as wide as the car roof.
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2007, 10:03 AM
JBasham JBasham is offline
Still driving my '79 323i
Location: Washington DC Metro Area
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 180
Mein Auto: 2009 X3 3.0; 1979 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by iversonm View Post
BTW, do you headlights turn on? My roof box extend over the winshield, and I end up driving with my lights on most of the time.

It's a long, half-width box. Mounting it with the stock mounting bracket positions put the end of the box over the rear hatch. Because of the rear hatch spoiler, it wasn't possible to open the hatch.

I took out the brackets and positioned the box as far back as I could to still allow hatch opening, and then drilled new holes in the box for the brackets. Thule's instructions say this is fine, but it's a good idea to get as much spread between the bars as you can.

The box overhung the windshield a fair amount, but I didn't feel the need for headlights. In fact, to the contrary, I still needed sunglasses, like always!
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2007, 07:27 PM
rda2w rda2w is offline
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Location: Syracuse, NY
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 47
Mein Auto: 2010 X5 xDrive35d
We're doing a similar trip (minus the bike) later this summer and I've ordered a Thule Terrapin hitch mounted carrier to get some more cargo capacity. As long as I can convince my wife and daughter they don't need their entire wardrobe for a week I should be OK. I've done long weekend trips with 4 people and had plenty of room inside.
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