2008 BMW X5: Day Two - Grand Junction, CO to Des Moines, IA - 2008 BMW X5 Long-Term Road Test
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2008 BMW X5 Long Term Road Test

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2008 BMW X5: Day Two: Grand Junction, CO to Des Moines, IA

January 22, 2009

X5-badge-snow.jpg

Day Two of the Great X5 Santa Monica-to-Detroit Road Trip started with the white stuff. I awoke at the Grand Junction Holiday Inn Express to find the BMW X5 covered in a dusting of snow. Nothing severe, but enough had stuck to the roads that I quickly appreciated the X5's all-wheel drive and state-of-the-art electronic stability control system. The truck's seat heater, steering wheel heater, strong wipers and fast-acting defrosters had me on the road quickly. Remember, the X5 may be built in South Carolina, but BMW HQ is in Bavaria, and it snows quite a bit in that part of the world.

More day two highlights on the next page.

X5-first-snow.jpg

Yup that's snow. There wasn't much of it, but it was so cold outside that ice was the real problem.

X5-vail.jpg

Through Vail the scenery got that much more beautiful, but the snow increased. The X5's big V8 handled the altitude without a problem, as even summits as high as 10,000 feet seemed to go unnoticed by the power plant, but the snow continued to accumulate. Here the Colorado State Police make the truckers put on chains for the drive through the mountains.

X5-tunnel.jpg

The Eisenhower Tunnel west of Denver. It seems to go on forever. As usual, there was real weather waiting for me on the other side.

X5-mountains.jpg

Beats the office. On these wet roads, even with temperatures in the 20s I would cruise at 80 mph with no trouble.

X5-gas-14.jpg

I think thisis somewhere in eastern Colorado. I do remember the severe winds. It must have been 20 below zero with the wind chill. The winds were so strong it was actually hard to keep the 4,700-pound X5 in its lane for a stretch. Fuel totals for day two: 908 miles, 71.5 mph average speed and 17.8 mpg.

X5-nebraska.jpg

A rare break in the weather. No snow at the Nebraska state line.

X5-nav-system.jpg

It was about now, more than halfway through day two, that I realized that the BMW's navigation system doesn't have enough detail on its maps. Look at that. Are you going to tell me that there are no towns at all on I-70 between my location and Lincoln? It made it a little hard to plan your gas stops and sleeping locations. At least BMW's lawyers let you play with the system while the car is moving.

X5-in-Iowa.jpg

After Nebraska comes Iowa. The X5 continued to shrug off this kind of weather. I could still cruise over 70 mph without fear. Sure, others were off in the ditch, but the X5 was so surefooted, so planted to the road, I felt invincible. I slept in Des Moines.

-- Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief


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