2011 BMW 528i: We Went to Montana, Part 2
July 18, 2011
Somewhere around Ogden, Utah, I had to exit Interstate 15 to watch our long-term 2011 BMW 528i's hit the 15,000-mile mark*. We didn't linger long, because there were still another 500 miles between us and Missoula, Montana, our destination for the night.
While I was photographing the occasion, an E46 3 Series coupe rolled by and reminded me just how large BMW's family of sedans has gotten over the last decade. Throughout this trip, I had moments where I'd forget which car I was driving... was I in the 528i or was I back in our 2009 750i (which I also took on a long road trip)?
*The warning triangle in the cluster is a low wiper fluid warning. However, despite mass windshield-based killings of bugs in Utah and later Idaho, I never ran out during the trip.
Partly, I think this is due to the superficial similarities between the cars (similar styling, similar cabin design, almost the same paint mix), and partly, I think it's because the 5 Series has such a cushy, isolated ride now... although on certain, snow/ice/salt/truck-ravaged roads in Montana, our 528i's 245/45R18 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT run-flat tires delivered more of a pounding than I'd have liked. But it goes further than that: I'm just not excited about being in this 5 Series like I was in the previous two generations of the 5. Unless, I'm letting the inline-6 rev, I could be in any other sedan -- there's just not a strong sense of identity.
Yet, in spite of the 528i's big boring car feel, I've had no trouble maneuvering it in tight spots. It's easy to park (parallel or otherwise), and even without using its optional top view and rearview cameras, I got a good feel for its corners and overall footprint.
Photo session completed, I located our next coffee stop in the nav system's POIs and we pressed on, crossing the Idaho stateline 60 miles later.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,000 miles