2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Austin Road Trip, Day 1
February 11, 2015
Day 1: Lake Forest, California to Deming, New Mexico, 692 miles.
I'm not sure why I keep getting sent to Austin, Texas for press drive events. What with the state capital's unofficial slogan of "Keep Austin Weird," the bosses might have been thinking, "Let's see, Monticello is a weirdo, if we send him there enough maybe he'll finally find a place he fits in."
Regardless of the reasoning, I was on another road trip to Austin, this time in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, as opposed to the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI I took on my previous trip to the Lone Star State.
Since it's about a 1,400-mile journey, I'd take two days to get there, just like last time. Ah yes, but unlike the last trip, which saw me procrastinate and not hit the road until 1:30 p.m., this time I was determined to get going much earlier.
And you know what? Mission accomplished.
At least, if you consider leaving at 1:20 p.m. any kind of accomplishment. "Baby steps, Mike, baby steps" my therapist keeps telling me.
Since I left late in the day again, it meant there was zero time to do anything fun along the way, just a continuous slog on Interstate 10 East.
To make up time on the road, I drank little in the way of fluids, in an effort to keep stops to a minimum. But the couple of times I did get off the highway, I enjoyed the 328i's peppy turbo-four when getting back on. It gets up to the speed of traffic in a hurry, and that's a nice bonus when you're dodging semis.
The optional Adaptive M Suspension was nice, too, for the most part I just had it set to Comfort and enjoyed the supple ride.
One thing that surprised me, though, was that after several hundred miles in the saddle my outer thighs were getting sore. For whatever reason, the seat bottom bolsters were digging in. They're admittedly pretty hard and can't be adjusted like the bolsters on the seatback. This is doubly weird because I'm usually all about the bolsters. I loves me a good sport seat.
Further, in my driving of the car previously I don't recall ever being bothered by the seat. Course, I had also never put in nearly 700 miles in a day. That got me to thinking it could be in part because of my heavy use of cruise control: I was probably sitting with my legs more spread out and not even thinking about it, possibly resting my thighs more on the bolsters than usual.
I'll fiddle further with my seating position as the trip progresses and report back.
The BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo averaged 31.8 mpg for the day.
Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor @ 22,122 miles