2011 BMW 528i: Highway Manners
November 17, 2010
Our 320-mile trip from Orange County up to Yosemite National Park afforded us plenty of seat time in the 2011 BMW 528i. The 5 Series left quite an impression.
Noise: This 528i was extremely quiet. Honestly, I thought the Dunlops would be loud but it was nothing a mild radio volume couldn't drown out. As for the engine, it was never short of breath and remained reasonably quite throughout the trip.
Ride quality: As expected, the 5 Series was perfectly stable at highway speeds. The steering is weighted just right, so as to minimize driver involvement and fatigue. Some summer tires tend to tug laterally at the car over freeway expansion joints. There was none of that with the 5 Series. I just dailed up the radio, set the cruise control and settled in.
Cruise control: I found this to be the most impressive aspect of the 528i as a road trip car. I've driven the 4,100-ft Tejon Pass in northern LA County many times, and in many different cars. The first thing I do is set the cruise to 70 mph. Most transmissions have at least a handful of dramatic shifts as the grade fluctuates and the proper gear is selected. Not so with the 8-speed in our 528i. It didn't shift once. Uphill or downhill, the needle remained pegged. In fact, it wasn't fazed by any grade on this trip. Pretty cool if you ask me.
More Yosemite road trip notes to come...
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager