Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2008 BMW X6 xDrive50i - Long-Term Road Test Update

Update 2: A long winter of discontent can’t diminish our love of the beastly BMW.


Date: March 2009
Current Mileage/Months in Fleet:
18,805/8 months
Average Fuel Economy/Range:
15 mpg/338 miles
Normal Wear:
Repair: $0

Winter in Michigan is ugly. The short days, gray skies, and freezing temperatures conspire to infect a percentage of the population with clinical-strength seasonal affective disorder, a temporary depression that is doing its best to ensnare our long-term BMW X6. Since our last update, the X6 has been rear-ended, thrown another check-engine light, and torn its way throughtwo snow tires. Thank goodness winter’s almost over.

It Started Out With a Kiss

While sitting at a stoplight in mid-January, a staffer glanced in the mirror and noticed an inbound PT Cruiser that didn’t seem to be slowing appropriately. With heavy cross traffic leaving him no out, he had no choice but to grip the wheel and watch as the PT Cruiser skidded into him, demolishing its grille but fortunately not leaving any major scars on the X6.

Later that month, an editor noted a harsh idle at startup, and made it only a few hundred feet before an “Engine malfunction! Reduced power” warning appeared in the vehicle-information screen. Cycling the vehicle off and then on again made the problem—both the rough idle and the warning—vanish. The dealer was able to track down the incident in the computer’s memory at a later service visit and reported a misfire, likely due to the extreme cold. In a winter that has seen negative temperatures in the double digits, the X6 is our only long-termer to have any issues relating to the cold, although both this and a prior issue surfaced only once for a very brief period and then promptly vanished.

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