January 10, 2010
BMW 535 Sport Wagon: Axis of Practical Update.
Some of you may remember I had acquired a BMW 535 Sport Wagon as the family car last year. It's been so far the best car I have owned. I won't bore you with a review of a car that is now essentially out of production but suffice it to say that it is fulfilling it's mission remarkably well. Case in point, the family ski trip after Christmas...
I don't understand why people have it in for wagons these days and would rather own a crossover type vehicle. Perhaps towing but it certainly cannot be for lack of usable space because the amount of stuff I was able to pack in the 5 wagon literally stunned me: we were 3 adults and two kids with booster seats, Skis, boots, three large suitcases (soft but with wheels), one carry on type suitcase. one 12x12x18 rigid plastic box, a case of wine, a computer bag, assorted bags of food and toys, coats and more assorted crap. Picture two hotel type carts full...yup they all fit. Couldn't see a thing behind me but it all fit, I just wish I had taken a picture.
Key of course was the split opening rear hatch, with my old Audi S6 I would invariably fit stuff in and then the hatch would not close, with the window hatch you can put the big stuff in and then stuff it from the smaller opening, brilliant.
You might imagine the car all loaded like that felt weird to drive? Not at all, the self leveling suspension kept everything straight and normal, verynice! Milage over the trip, with "healthy" highway speeds, was well over 20 mpg.
The trip was to Lake Placid NY, a place normally known for cold temperatures during one of the coldest spells in years. Temperatures the first day hovered around the -5F (-20 C). Car started right up and for the first time I really appreciated the heated steering wheel!.
We also had heavy snowfall and here I have to set the record straight... You may have seen the last episode of Top Gear, where Jeremy Clarkson trashes the X6 ....
I'm not especially a fan of the x6 but, aside from the obvious that 20" wheels and 315/30 summer tires are going to be pretty bad in snow, I can tell you I had no issues whatsoever going up a snowy hills steeper than the one in the Top Gear clip with the "performance" summer runflats that come on on the 535. Certainly not the tire of choice if I had to drive in snow daily, but I was not anywhere close to being stranded, ever. Don't pay too much attention to old JC there, Xdrive works much better than that.
If you are car shopping for something practical and nice to drive, you might want to check out any 2010 sport wagons left, I'm sure you there must be phenomenal deals. Maybe give a call to our tracktard friend Chris Chang at BMW of Greenwich, you won't find a better deal if you say you are an AOO fan!
end of post