2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Austin Road Trip, Day 4
February 17, 2015
Day 4: Willcox, Arizona to Lake Forest, California, 562 miles.
Although I guess you could say I was "working" on a Saturday for the last day of my Austin Road Trip, the nice thing about driving on the weekend is that there isn't so much of a "rush hour" period that you have to make sure to avoid. I veered off Interstate 10 to Interstate 8 West toward San Diego, but to be honest it's a crapshoot as to how bad traffic will be down there, too.
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and I hit considerable rain all morning in Arizona, but the GT pushed through without any trouble. As I mentioned previously, this is a solid and stable car. It gives you a good sense of security to press on at reasonable speed even in less-than-perfect road conditions.
But the day wasn't without problems.
I stopped at a rest area midmorning for a quick break, and as I got hard into the throttle to enter the highway at speed, the BMW started sputtering, bogging, and just generally hesitating. Around that same time a warning came up on the navigation screen and a check-engine light popped up on the instrument panel.
The readout said: "Drivetrain malfunction: Drive moderately. Maximum drivetrain output not available. Consult service center."
Maximum power was definitely not available, as the Gran Turismo could barely maintain 70 mph. And if you booted the gas pedal any further it would just buck. I slowed down, then pulled off at the next exit and shut the car off. I did the requisite lift the hood and look around the engine bay thing. I couldn't see anything specifically wrong, other than the fact that the entire engine compartment was covered in dirt and dust. I'm not blamestorming here, but it looks like someone did some off-roading recently.
A few minutes later I fired the BMW back up and, like a computer reboot, magically everything seemed fine again. I had no further issues the rest of the drive, but we're going to bring the car to the dealer to have them check it out.
Not the best way to end the trip, but on the bright side at least the car didn't leave me completely stranded on the side of the road.
The BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo's fuel economy for Day Four was 30.3 mpg.
Total trip miles: 2,813
Overall trip MPG: 30.0
Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor @ 24,244 miles