All, I could use some quick advice on how to remove the top "tray" from the center console...I don't want to break anything, but the driver's side pivot point will not come out...it appears it is screwed in from the back side (underneath the smaller console lid piece that slides near the hand brake. Anyone have a clue how that is removed? Additionally, I noticed there is a small (screw sized) access cover underneath the sliding side console top with a red circle sticker on it...what happens if you remove that screw? Finally, how does the (smaller) rear piece of the center console lid come off? I was assuming it would "pop out" but it seems very stubborn and I don't want to break anything....
2011 550i in Alpine White/Venetian Beige Dakota Leather/Light Wood Trim with: M-Sport Package, Sport Automatic Transmission, Active Ventilated Seat Package, Convenience Package, Cold Weather Package, Driver Assistance Package, Dynamic Handling Package, Premium Package 2, Integral Active Steering, Ski Bag, Split Fold-Down Rear Seats, 4-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Side and Top View Cameras, Head-up Display, Smartphone Integration, Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection, and Combox Controller. (In other words, I got everything except x-Drive and the Rear Seat Entertainment System...) Build completed October 6, 2010. Current software version = F010-10-09-522 (ISTA version 2.39.4)
2008 Alpine White 550i SAT & 2004 Alpine White 545i SMG -- gone but not forgotten! Miss you JDN!
The only way to get the top tray out without destruction is indeed taking the centre console off.
It is a pretty straightforward job - the worst bit is levering the rear console trim off.
In the BMW TIS, they mention a special tool. A wide bladed screwdriver is just as effective!
Budget 1 to 1.5 hours to do the job. Complete removal of the console is unnecessary, as you can get underneath to remove the tray with the console still flapping around in the car.
2009 E91 335d Sport LeMans Blue. ProNav. Pano. Drug Dealer Glass. Towbar. Dog. Horrid Auto 'Box. Too quiet.
2004 E60 530d in Orient Blue. Manual 'box. Bi-Xenon's. Advanced AirCon. Rear Blinds. Now sadly missed.
1973 MGBGT V8 in Baby-Poo Brown. Manual 'box and Overdrive. Power Assisted nothing. Wind noise even when stationary. Lovely V8 noise when it's not.
1978 Suzuki GS1000 that I should really take out more often.
2004 Honda CRF250X New toy for an Old man!
Other stuff that I'm too embarrassed to mention.
After printing/reading the links provided by Rudy, I decided since I wasn't planning on reinstalling the upper tray, I'd save effort and just cut the screw on the driver's side pivot. Came out cleanly and took all of 5 minutes! Much nicer storage area now...still not the largest, but at least is is usable and I don't have to wrestle with that silly top tray everytime I want to access the lower level!! BMW needs to rethink that set-up and make it a snap in/snap out affair!
Thanks to all who responded as I appreciate your help
All, this is the phone/coin tray removed from the car. The bottom piece (that is hinged and stays in after you remove the 4 torx screws) is on the right. The piece that lifts out after screw removal is on the left and the screw locations are marked with the white arrows.
This is the bottom of the phone tray after you have removed the 4 torx (size T10) screws. Notice the left (upper) side simply pries out with a flat-head screwdriver; however, the right (lower) side is the pain...it is screwed in from the back side and there is no way to access that screw short of removing the console. I decided I was not going to be re-installing this piece so I could cut the screw. I pried out the side enough that I could get my 18V skill saw blade in between the two sides and cut the screw. Came right out with no damage at all.
This is the lower half of the phone tray (close up). You can see how I had to damage the right side to cut the screw - but not an issue since it will not be re-installed anyway. Be careful not to damage the right side of the hinge piece that stays in the console...pry with a screwdriver a bit to introduce some play between the two sides.
This is the "after" pic...fully usable console space w/o that silly phone/coin holder in the way!!