2008 BMW X5: Day 1: Santa Monica, CA to Grand Junction, CO
January 21, 2009
Some called it a stupid idea, including my wife, but my drive from Santa Monica to Detroit in our long-term BMW X5 was a blast, and a hard and fast education into the good, bad and ugly of BMW's big SUV. I spent three days essentially locked behind the wheel of the X5, only stopping for gas, bladder relief and the occasional photo.
Most of you know all of thisbecause you followed my progress as it happened on the insideline.com twitter page, but for those of you who missed it, here are the highlights and photographic evidence of day one.
I left Santa Monica late, about 10:15 a.m., with the X5's navigation marking a path through the northern United States. As you can see in the photo, the distance was mapped out at 2,297 miles to my waiting hotel room in downtown Detroit.
As you can see from this photo and the photo on the previous page, most of day onetook placeunder blue skies. It wouldn't last. Most of day two and all of day three were in either freezing rain or driving snow. By now (this is many hundreds of miles into the trip) I was sure I chose the right vehicle for the run. The X5 could not be more comfortable on the interstate. The driver's seat is wonderfully supportive and the driving position kept me cramp-free.
Somewhere in the Nevada desert (I mean, this was performed by a professional driver on a closed course) I found out that the X5 is a real BMW up over the century mark. It likes to cruise about 120 mph, but fuel mileage takes a severe hit. This was a rare occurrence. The further north I got, the more weather I hit and the slower I had to drive.
I think this is somewhere in Utah on day one. The X5 covers almost 400 miles on a tank, so each day would require only two or threegas stops. Day One Totals: 780 miles, 75.5 mph average speed and 18.8 mpg. After enjoying the snow-covered scenery of Utah and western Colorado, I decided to stop and sleep in Grand Junction. Pushing farther into the mountains and the weather I knew was ahead seemed foolish in the dark. The coming elevations were extreme and would be much easier to pass in the daylight.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief