2008 BMW X5: Two Great Road Trips
August 20, 2008
Big Bear Lake, CA
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA
In the last 10 days I've driven our long-term 2008 BMW X5 1,016 miles. Aside from a few days of my basic 8 mile (each way) commute, the mileage was accumulated on two family road trips.
The first trip was from West Los Angeles to the mountain resort town of Big Bear Lake about 120 miles northeast. To get there you run about 85 miles or so of freeway and 35 miles of twisting and turning mountain roads. The second trip was from West Los Angeles to Monterey, California about 350 miles due north, and it can be as much freeway and as much two lane as you want, depending on how much day you want to eat on the journey.
After that much time in the X5 I'm sold on BMW's now larger sport utitlity. It's fast, comfortable and just spacious enough for the Oldham clan to pile in. It's also really fast on a mountain road. In the BMW tradition is offers far more grip, grunt and brakes than my family would allow me to use on the twisty bits. And it cruises at 100 mph like a German sports sedan.
I'm also amazed at the X5's high comfort. I spent seven hours in it yesterday driving home from Monterey. We took the long way, hitting Highway 1 down to Big Sur before taking Highway 46 east to the 101 south. Even after all that, I arrived home ready for more. No backache. No buttache. No numb legs. My wife and kids too.
It's not perfect; the transmission locks out top gear in sport mode, iDrive is complete madness and mileage is what anybody should expect from a V8 powered tank like this; 18.5 mph on the highway, 13.3 mpg in the city and 16.2 mpg in mixed conditions. Oh yeah, pack your gas card baby. Still, no Buick Enclave will ever be this much fun.
This is a fine vehicle, and it's a true BMW, as engaging and beautifully built as it is useful.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 16,125 miles