As you know from my recent Winterization article, I’ve been preparing my coupe for the long winter. Obviously the best protection is a garage, but even inside there are a lot of things that can hurt your baby. One of the most important parts of protecting your M Coupe while parked is a quality car cover. It will protect your coupe from dust, dings (important to me with two little kids), and moisture build-up (not as important in CO). If you’re in a situation where you need to leave your coupe parked outside, a quality cover is even more important. You will need a cover that can also protect your coupe from the acid rain, tree sap, and bird droppings.
The BMW M Coupe as I am sure you are well aware has a rather unique shape. Off the shelf and semi-custom covers will not fit well at all. The danger of ill-fitting car covers is the additional movement of the cover against the paint. Covers that fit tightly to the car will have minimal movement even in wind. I quickly came to the conclusion that a custom car cover was the only way to go.
The next step in choosing the right cover is selecting your fabric. Each offers different advantages and disadvantages. The primary things I looked for in my selection were:
Custom covers for the coupe seem to range from ~$150 up to $400+
- Dust Protection
Dust does not seem like it would be a big deal, but some dusts can be more harmful to your clearcoat than others. The primary reason to protect from dust though is to keep you car looking perfect without having to do additional washing or detailing. It is these extra activities on the surface of you car that are most likely to cause swirl marks on your paint.
- Ding Protection
My garage is full of tools, lawn tools and kids toys; each of which could do some damage to my coupe. Ding protection often comes at the cost of a larger, thicker cover however.
If a material is not breathable, it will trap moisture and could cause rust.
- Size/Ease of Use
This describes how easily the material is to pack, and how small the final packed cover is. This is an important attribute if you will use your cover often. It also may allow you to wash the cover in a home washing machine if necessary rather than a commercial laundry mat or just rinsing it off while on the car.
- Interior Softness
If you plan to use your cover frequently, you want to find a cover with optimal softness as it will be less harsh on the paint when putting it on and taking it off.
I look for any excuse I can to go out in the garage and stare at my coupe. If it has to be covered, I at least want something that will fit close enough to still allow me to appreciate the curves and be somewhat exciting to see parked over in the corner.
- Outdoor Use
In a pinch, could I also use it as a temporary outdoor cover?
To cover all bases, I also want to point out some of the attributes to look for in an outdoor cover besides those above.
- Water Resistance
You absolutely do not want to use a "waterproof" material to cover your coupe. Waterproof materials will trap moisture and could cause rust. You want to find the most water resistant material you can that still maintains good breathability.
- UV Protection
The sun’s UV Rays can damage a vehicle’s interior, finish, and also the car cover material. If you live in a climate that could experience extreme sun conditions, this is a very important attribute in cover selection.
- Resistance to Elements
Parking your coupe outside leaves it exposed to things such as acid rain, bird droppings, tree sap and many other things that can damage your paint finish.
In my search, the company that continued to come up in all my searches was CoverCraft, so much of this article will be based on their products. Quite a few other companies use many of the same fabrics in their own products, and I’ve heard equally good things about California Car Cover and Custom Car Covers. Each of these companies provides a pretty nice fabric guide comparing their products that you can find here:
Here are my car cover finalists and how I ended up with the one I did.
- BMW OEM Noah Cover (Indoor/Outdoor)
You really cannot go wrong with OEM accessories for a potential collector car. The Noah fabric is also known to be an excellent indoor/outdoor fabric that is good at almost everything listed above but does not specialize in one particular area. It is a taupe cover with BMW printed on the hood and a clear license plate window on the back. Some may not want to advertise that they have a BMW parked under the cover if parked out side. The license plate window could be especially useful though if you plan to park it at an airport or military base where security may go around checking license plates. It will keep them from having to lift the back of your cover to do it. The other nice thing is that you do not have to wait a couple weeks to have your cover custom made. You can go to any BMW dealer and pick one up for $174, and if it’s not in stock it should arrive in 3-5 days.
- CoverCraft Dustop (Indoor Only)
This cover checks almost all the boxes in the attributes I was looking for including being excellent in dust and ding protection. It’s major markdown came from it only being available in tan. Not very exciting. If you don’t care about the color, it’s a great choice for indoor use.
- CoverCraft Noah (Indoor/Outdoor)
Made with the same fabric as the OEM cover, but in a silver-gray color and without BMW printed on the hood nor a license plate window. Typically costs a little more than OEM too at just under $200 on Ebay.
- CoverCraft Evolution (Indoor/Outdoor)
This is one of the newer fabrics out there and it seems to do everything well for a lower price. I read several reviews that they like it better than the Noah. It’s available in tan, gray or blue and is rated highest in ding protection. This extra protection comes at the expense of size as it’s also one of the largest.
- CoverCraft WeatherShield HP (Outdoor)
The WeatherShield HP fabric is exclusive to CoverCraft. It’s the ultimate outdoor cover with high protection ratings in just about every category. It also manages to be thin and pack up small. It’s also available in black, red, yellow, blue, green and light blue. The only downside is it’s lack of ding protection and high price. It’s available on Ebay for ~$265. Browsing the CoverCraft website I noticed they still had their previous generation WeatherShield fabric (in black) on clearance which has many of the same benefits of the new generation. They quoted me a price of $190 for an M Coupe.
- CoverCraft Form-Fit (Indoor)
The Form-Fit covers are made for the garage queens. They are made of the very softest materials and fit like a glove. When you have to specify if you own an M Coupe or Z3 Coupe, you know you’re getting a nice tight cover. They also fold down to next to nothing and are available in black, charcoal gray, blue, silver gray, hunter green, and red. It is the ultimate indoor cover with it’s only drawbacks being lesser ding protection and large price tag. The ones I priced out were around $325.
So which did I decide on? None of the above. My heart has always belonged to the highly sought after BMW OEM Indoor Cover shown above (Part No 032 300 410). This ultimate M Coupe accessory was sold in limited quantity only in Europe. They were produced in Italy very similar to the form-fit cover described above but with an M Coupe logo printed on the hood and came with a storage bag and steering wheel cover also with the M Coupe logo. I remember seeing the first photos of this cover all the way back in 2002 in this Bimmerfest thread and have wanted one every since. The 20 covers that made it to the states were hand carried here by the owner of LeatherZ; and, as I’m sure you could guess, they trade hands at astronomical prices. Was I able to track one of these down? Also a No.
A couple years ago, an Italian Bimmerforums member qpbullet, put together a group buy to have another run of these covers made by the company CoverCar in Italy. These covers are replicas of the originals down to the steering wheel cover. The only difference is the absence of the small white "BMW M" above the right taillight. When qpbullet posted in a thread last week that he had a couple extra ones, I jumped at the opportunity. My cover should be headed my way in the next few days. Thanks again Pia! Since I purchased mine there have been 2 or 3 more group buys. You can also buy them direct from Andrea if you can stomach the hefty international shipping costs.
By Request, Details of My Cover
A few people have asked if my cover came with a storage bag and what the interior material is like. It came with a small gray duffle bag. The interior material is a very soft felt or fleece. I’m very careful about what I let touch my paint, and I have not even given a second thought to putting this cover on. The cover itself can pack down pretty small and can even fit in the average home washer and dryer if necessary.