2008 BMW X5 4.8i: Sweet Hotel Chicago
February 13, 2009
Despite the widespread availability of airplane flights between Detroit and Chicago on which I could fly to the Chicago Auto Show, I make an annual habit of tempting the weather gods and hitting I-94 for a little bonding time with whatever I car I happen to be driving in early February.
Save for the year that I took a V-12-powered BMW 7-series, this year's mount, the long-term X5, was the finest road companion yet. The X5's high-speed stability is spectacular -- almost as if it was designed by engineers used to driving on unlimited Autobahns. The driving position is excellent. The seats provide good thigh support, something many manufacturers neglect. And the iPod integration is easy to operate. So that's one iDrive-based feature that's not infuriating to use.
The trip takes four hours on the dot each way and is roughly 600 miles, total. So we averaged somewhere in the mid 70-mph range. The X5 returned 17.6 mpg in all highway driving (with a few assorted full-throttle, on-ramp accelerations thrown in). It's not the most efficient way to travel, particularly for one guy and one bag, but it surely is a satisfying way to. It is greatly preferable to riding on an air bus. -- Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit at 26,201 miles