February 13, 2009
Despite the widespread availability of airplane flights between Detroit and Chicago on which I could fly to the Chicago Auto Show, I make an annual habit of tempting the weather gods and hitting I-94 for a little bonding time with whatever I car I happen to be driving in early February.
Save for the year that I took a V-12-powered BMW 7-series, this year's mount, the long-term X5, was the finest road companion yet. The X5's high-speed stability is spectacular -- almost as if it was designed by engineers used to driving on unlimited Autobahns. The driving position is excellent. The seats provide good thigh support, something many manufacturers neglect. And the iPod integration is easy to operate. So that's one iDrive-based feature that's not infuriating to use.
The trip takes four hours on the dot each way and is roughly 600 miles, total. So we averaged somewhere in the mid 70-mph range. The X5 returned 17.6 mpg in all highway driving (with a few assorted full-throttle, on-ramp accelerations thrown in). It's not the most efficient way to travel, particularly for one guy and one bag, but it surely is a satisfying way to. It is greatly preferable to riding on an air bus. -- Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit at 26,201 miles
January 23, 2009
On day three, from the heart of Iowa to Motown, I covered all 600 miles in a snowstorm. At some points, vision was down to a few car lengths and the interstate was pure white, especially in Michigan, where they seemed to have parked the plows. Damnbudget cuts.
Several times traffic slowed to a crawl. And very often I was cruising with the X5's six-speed transmission in 4th or 5th gear so I would be able to use engine braking and not just the brakes, should I need to slow or stop. I also counted 18 cars and trucks off in the ditch, ranging from four-wheel-drive pickups to Peterbilts and one lone Porsche. And one time, deep in Michigan, a guy in an almost new Jag S-Type spun right in front of me. Miraculously he didn't hit anything, but I'm sure he had to change his panties.
Despite such contitions, I averaged 60.5 mph and 17.1 mpg. I also arrived at my hotel feeling like I could go another 400 miles. I was wired. Six-hundred miles in a snowstorm really forces you to be alert. I didn't even blink east of Chicago. I wolfed down a beer and a burger before my adrenaline simmered down.
This was a great trip in a great truck. If you haven't road-tripped in a while, get out there. And don't wimp out and take the southern route.
There are more day-three highlights and photos on the next page, and forgive me for all the behind-the-wheel shots; it was cold out there.
January 21, 2009
Some called it a stupid idea, including my wife, but my drive from Santa Monica to Detroit in our long-term BMW X5 was a blast, and a hard and fast education into the good, bad and ugly of BMW's big SUV. I spent three days essentially locked behind the wheel of the X5, only stopping for gas, bladder relief and the occasional photo.
Most of you know all of thisbecause you followed my progress as it happened on the insideline.com twitter page, but for those of you who missed it, here are the highlights and photographic evidence of day one.
September 23, 2008
Many tankfuls of premium unleaded have come and gone in the life of our long-term BMW X5 since we last reported its fuel economy.
Our lifetime average is now 15.7 mpg. Before this update, it had been 15.9. Before that it was 16.6. I feel a trend.
The farthest traveled on one tank was recorded by Karl Brauer back in May: 364 miles (during which he got 17.5 mpg).
We've managed a couple tanks in the mid-18s, and a couple way down in the 10-11 mpg range.
Someone even pushed the fuel envelope once and waited until the 22.5 gallon tank only had .398 gallons left in it to mosey on over to the gas station. It wasn't me. I swear.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,825 miles
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
May 12, 2008
Shocker of the weekend - the X5 4.8i is not for the slight of wallet. The 200-mile round trip to mom's house on Sunday required 12.5 gallons of gas. That's 16mpg for the mathematically challenged. Not terrible for a 5,333 pound vehicle driven with little regard for mileage, but given its need for premium fuel, it was a $50 trip...
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 8,434 miles
March 18, 2008
My last fill up of the BMW X5 cost $75.29. Yikes!
Fuel tank capacity in the X5 is 22.5 gallons. With the fuel warning light on, I put 19.715 gallons of premium into the X5 tank at $3.819.
Two subsequent trips back and forth to work (about 80 miles) and I'm already down to 3/4 of a tank...
Our best tank achieved so far: 17.6 mpg
Our worst tank so far: 13.3 mpg
The V8 BMW X5 with an automatic transmission is rated by the EPA at 14 mpg city / 19 mpg highway.
The average of all our fill ups is currently 16.6 mpg.
If you can afford to spend $68K on a luxury SUV, then I guess you can afford to spend $75 a week (at least) filling it up. But many less expensive SUVs cost just as much to fill up.
When shopping for a vehicle, remember to consider what it really costs to own and maintain before you make a purchase. Edmunds has a handy tool called TCO, True Cost to Own.
TCO factors in depreciation, interest on your loan, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs based on your zip code over a 5-year period. Of course, it can't predict your exact costs but it can give you a good idea of vehicle affordability.
Have you used TCO to help with your car purchases?
Tell us how you are coping with the high price of gasoline. Are you driving less? Driving more conservatively?
On a lighter note, here's last night's CA sunset as viewed from the BMW X5: