"In this new Special Series, I document the greatest lip ever designed by BMW M and my experiences sourcing various replica lips across Europe, ultimately leading to the development of OE+ GTS front lip kit.
In this entry, I tag teamed the installation of the pre-preg carbon chassis mounted kit with Luigi at Exclusiv. I document the little things that make the install easier, improve fitment and give my final impressions on the carbon variant."
Take it off, take it off!
Taking the bumper off gives you easy access to the chassis to align, bolt and rivet in the chassis brackets. Having the front bumper off also makes it easier to achieve the right fitment on the upper lip.
I don't go into details into taking the bumper off. If you don't feel comfortable removing it yourself, hand it off to your local paint and body shop!
A few bolts in the fender liners, the undertray gets dropped, unplug a sensor, remove a few other bolts above the radiator cover, and pull!
And voila! Bumper off, let it sit - we got brackets to fit first.
I skip the bumper cutting part as mine already was. You can refer to the original BMW installation guide here for templates. It is mandatory to clear the original BMW M design of the chassis brackets.
Mix n Matching.
The initial plan was to install the complete metal chassis brackets, including the horizontal bar.
Our plans changed for 3 reasons:
- The carbon bracket was much lighter
- The horizontal bracket isn't usually the bracket that fails during high stress impacts.
- The prototype metal brackets was delivered without the threaded inserts.
We ran into a few issues installing the chassis brackets on the passenger side because of the DCT cooler shroud. It has an extra threaded insert into the chassis rails.
The bolt holes were mirrored on each brackets and didn't account for the different mounting point on the passenger side.
See the issue? This is why I test prototypes!
The chassis brackets are bolted and riveted into the chassis. The sides use bolts, while the front uses 2x rivets per side.
Before popping the rivets, make sure you test fit to validate the alignment with the horizontal bracket. 4x bolts is all that holds the bar to the vertical brackets.
And bam! There's something fun about putting in rivets.
We then test fitted the lower splitter in its most outward, forward position.
Everything was aligned and bolted in without a fuss. You can see the horizontal bracket outer threaded insert matches exactly with the outer slotted section of the lower splitter.
Fitment of the upper lip is relatively straight forward - but you need to think twice and glue once.
I had initially fitted the upper lip on it's own, purely using bolts while the bumper was still on the car.
You'll find the gaps if you zoom in. This could easily be fixed.
Using 3M double sided tape is key as it allows to slightly fill in the gaps with the bumper. We had limited 3M double sided and applied it to the center section of the lip.
You can see the slight gap by the outer section. That's the only compromise we had to make.
You see what I mean on the picture below while the car was on the lift. This section of the lip has no 3M or urethane applied and creates the gap. You don't see when the car is on the ground.
Use protection, please!
In all seriousness, fitting any kind of lip without paint protection film (PPF) is asking to be disappointed. Unfortunately, a gloss carbon makes the disappointment only grow stronger.
The rock chips will show within a week. They are noticeable from a few feet out, and will only grow worse the more you drive.
The overall damage to the clear coat is further evident when you compare it to the fresh, new lower splitter. The whitening of the upper lip's clear coat is maddening.
We could have ended it here - but I wasn't hitting the goals I've set out to achieve here.
The lip was too expensive, the gloss carbon look doesn't do it for me, the carbon brackets aren't good enough and the prototype metal brackets needed more work.
Up next: we unbox the prototype upper lip of the OE+ GTS front lip kit - and more.