2008 BMW X5: Day Three: Des Moines, IA to Detroit
January 23, 2009
On day three, from the heart of Iowa to Motown, I covered all 600 miles in a snowstorm. At some points, vision was down to a few car lengths and the interstate was pure white, especially in Michigan, where they seemed to have parked the plows. Damnbudget cuts.
Several times traffic slowed to a crawl. And very often I was cruising with the X5's six-speed transmission in 4th or 5th gear so I would be able to use engine braking and not just the brakes, should I need to slow or stop. I also counted 18 cars and trucks off in the ditch, ranging from four-wheel-drive pickups to Peterbilts and one lone Porsche. And one time, deep in Michigan, a guy in an almost new Jag S-Type spun right in front of me. Miraculously he didn't hit anything, but I'm sure he had to change his panties.
Despite such contitions, I averaged 60.5 mph and 17.1 mpg. I also arrived at my hotel feeling like I could go another 400 miles. I was wired. Six-hundred miles in a snowstorm really forces you to be alert. I didn't even blink east of Chicago. I wolfed down a beer and a burger before my adrenaline simmered down.
This was a great trip in a great truck. If you haven't road-tripped in a while, get out there. And don't wimp out and take the southern route.
There are more day-three highlights and photos on the next page, and forgive me for all the behind-the-wheel shots; it was cold out there.
I was without an ice scraper. But the X5's wipers and defrosters had me on the road in about 10 minutes.
More proof I was in Des Moines. Seriously, this is to show the road conditions. Changing lanes was tough. If you were going to slide off in the ditch, it was probably during a lane change.
Things got worse in Detroit. When no black asphalt was peeking through the snow it was time to slow down a bit. Notice I have the X5 in 5th gear for engine braking.
The Giant Tire. This is when you know you'reclose toDetroit. It was once a Ferris wheel, built for the 1964-'65 New York World's Fair. It has sat along I-94 at the Uniroyal sales office in Allen Park, Michigan, ever since. By the way, I averaged 69.2 mph and 17.9 mpg for the entire three-day trip.
I arrived in Detroit around 9 p.m. Saturday night. The next morning I got this warning on the iDrive screen. And sure enough the right rear was 10 psi low. We pumped it up and it's been fine since. Hard to explain since I, of course, checked the tire pressures before leaving Santa Monica. I did, however, think it was cool that the X5 tells you which tire is low. Most cars don't do that.
-- Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief