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Old 12-14-2011, 04:45 PM
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2012 BMW X5 - 215 Replica Winter Setup Review - Pictures Included!

All,
Thank you to the many that helped me arrive at a decision and shared their pictures, specs and reviews. It was very valuable to allow me to arrive at an educated decision.

My criteria in selecting:
- Has to be cost effective but now cheap. This is a winter only setup for me as I run my OEM 214s in the spring, summer and fall months here in MN. But I wanted it to work well in the snow.
- Has to look good and preferably OEM. This means not setting too far back into the wheel arches from my sport package.
- I preferred a setup that could be rotated from front to back for wear purposes on a winter tire.

I decided to go with four 20x10.5 replica 215 rims with 275/40/20 Michelin Aplin tires all around. This allows me to meet each of the criteria above which I initially couldn’t do by doing a staggered set of replicas. I purchased the rims from a seller on eBay who was willing to sell four rear rims and then the tires from DiscountTire. I was initially going to buy the whole setup from a seller on eBay who was recommended on this board. He is fantastic, answered a ton of questions for me, and I would recommend him to others too. But in the end, I really wanted a set that I could rotate from front to back.

Review of Michelin Alpin Tires:
This one is going to be short since I just had them put on last night and the weather has warmed up to the upper 30’s in the Twin Cities. They are nicer riding than a set of DM-V1 blizzaks I had on my previous F150 in that they feel less spongy. I decided on these because we have less deep snow days than we do ice/slush/1-2 inch snow days here in the Twin Cities. The other tire I considered was the Pirelli but decided to not spend the extra $20 per tire.

Review of the OEM tires in snow/ice/cold weather:
So I didn’t make this decision fast enough and got caught driving the past few weeks in 20 degree weather. With a dry road I was ok, but had noticeable increases in braking distance. As long as I gave myself more room, I was safe. But we had one snow here in the Twin Cities two weeks back that was around 4 inches. I got caught on the other side of the Cities and paid with a scary ride home at the very beginning of the storm. There was less than inch of snow on the roads but it had started to ice up. I’ve read numerous threads about people saying they plow often in their area so they are comfortable with using the sport summer tred year round. Everyone is free to make their own decisions, but I firmly believe that is a bad one. I could accelerate easily, but braking was an entirely different story and then hitting ice was horrid. I made it home safely but only after using the techniques I used in the past when driving a large dually truck towing an eight horse trailer. I gave myself incredible braking distances, made no sharp movements, and let the X5 slow itself down. It is no way to drive year round and was incredibly nerve racking. I’m glad that it only happened to me once. I got lucky but this is a luck I suggest you don’t push.

Review of replica 215s:
Any BMW purist knows by looking at the style of rim that it should be 21” so the 20” should be a dead replica give away. Then again, maybe an inch isn’t that noticeable.
Fit and Finish-
Fit and finish is more than adequate. Is it as good as my brand new 214s? – No. I have 20/20 vision (as a reference point) and when I’m within a foot of the rim and looking very closely, I can see where the metal of the rim is slightly dimpled in places and not perfectly flat smooth. But like I said, you have to be within a foot of the rim (on your knees) to see this. At $200/rim for a winter setup, I’m fine with this level of quality. I already have some dings and nicks on my OEM 214 rims that are less than 6 months old anyhow and those you can see from 2 feet plus. Thank you MN for using gravel and tar to resurface my neighborhoods 2 year old black top road! That being said, any rim, regardless of the initial quality is going to look less than perfect eventually, it’s just a matter of time based on where you live. Unfortunately for me it’s sooner rather than later. The front sticks out .25” further than OEM as it’s a 10.5” rim vs the 10” oem rim that has the same offset. The difference is negligible and still clears the suspension. The rears are .5” further in as the replica rim is .5” narrower and has a different offset vs OEM 11” rim and 315 tire. The .5” tuck on the rear is noticeable if you know what you’re looking for. However, at a glance you don’t think, that it is odd if you’re not used to seeing the 11” and 315 back there. The upside is it gives more of an overhang to catch the winter crud.

Weight-
Neither rim/tire combo needed more weight than the OEM 214 rims to balance. I didn’t have them weighted, but I did pick them up myself to see if I could feel a difference. The rim on tire OEM fronts felt the same as the replica rim tire combo. The OEM rim on tire rears (315) felt noticeably heavier than the replica rim on tire, which I expected.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:45 PM
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Please excuse the poor picture quality/size (in a hurry on a camera phone) and the dirty X5. The snow is melting here in the Twin Cities and made quite the mess that was not worth cleaning as it's raining today.

The last picture is an explanation for the blue racing stripes in the white garage. This is my "fun" car that unfortunately is done for the year until April.
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Last edited by F150 Duke; 12-14-2011 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:57 PM
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F150Duke,
Very good write up and review, imo...
Those rep wheels look titz.
And, I like the 'Stang in the Bubble. Held up by props, or air?
GL, mD
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motordavid View Post
F150Duke,
Very good write up and review, imo...
Those rep wheels look titz.
And, I like the 'Stang in the Bubble. Held up by props, or air?
GL, mD
Thanks! I figured it was my way of helping others who have helped me. The bubble is held up by air that is recirculated through a filter 3 times every hour. That keeps things from smelling stale, getting dusty, or something hitting the car.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F150 Duke View Post
The bubble is held up by air that is recirculated through a filter 3 times every hour. That keeps things from smelling stale, getting dusty, or something hitting the car.
Wheels look great!
However, that bubble is awesome! That is what I need to avoid hail damage!!! I've been hit too many times--wonder if it's sign....
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:03 AM
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OT...
Quote:
Originally Posted by F150 Duke View Post
...The bubble is held up by air that is recirculated through a filter 3 times every hour. That keeps things from smelling stale, getting dusty, or something hitting the car.
Thanks; thought so. I have seen them advertised in car mags but wondered if they really worked well. I could put a couple of my scoots under one and give the garage mice a really good home while we are in absentia.

We need some pics of your Mustang when it is out and about next Spring.
GL, mD
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motordavid View Post
OT...


Thanks; thought so. I have seen them advertised in car mags but wondered if they really worked well. I could put a couple of my scoots under one and give the garage mice a really good home while we are in absentia.

We need some pics of your Mustang when it is out and about next Spring.
GL, mD
Yeah it's fantastic. I detail the heck out of it (3 coats of wax, detail inside, hand wipe down the engine bay) and there isn't a spec of dust in the spring. It says it only uses 3 cents of electricity a day. Who knows if that is true but I don't see that big of a spike on my bill. My Dec, Jan bills usually jump because it gets dark so early here and we have Christmas lights outside.

Why wait for spring for more GT500 pics?
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:48 AM
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Here are some more!
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:32 AM
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Nice Mustang! That bubble is the coolest thing I have ever seen.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:36 AM
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Do you drive it into the bubble? How does it work exactly?
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