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Just Get Me To the Trailhead Please

(11/11/04)

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Just Get Me To the Trailhead Please

Okay, so it did get stuck in the sand. All in all, I think the BMW X5 performed fairly well as an off-road vehicle despite 4X4 reviewer insults. It forded 3 stream crossings, glided over soft sand, creeped over boulders, and climbed 30 degree inclines in the rigorous Coyote Valley jeep trail of the Anza Borrego Desert. It probably wouldn't have made it through the hard-core portion of the route past Lower Willows, where I witnessed a jeep stuck in mud for hours and holding up other off-road motorists like an inner city traffic jam. The off-roaders looked at me in wonder as I skirted through the moat with a full backpack without wetting my boots. Of course, the stuck jeep owner just glared at me as I pardoned myself for passing through.

On the return trip back from hiking, I gladly jumped back into my X5 trying to race a rapidly approaching storm. In a tricky maneuver to clear a huge rock in my path, I got stuck in soft sand. When I pulled into reverse, it just dug me deeper in. Luckily, I had sand mats packed in the back. I put the mats in front of the tires and with the "all wheel drive" instantly lifted out of the trap. Fortunately my car was equiped with the standard 17 inch tires versus the 19 inch low profile performance tires. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have been home in time for dinner.

Of course, 99 percent of the time, my X5 will be used to get me back and forth to work. It's track record in perfomance and safety on the street is unbeatable.

One reviewer stated that "although the X5 looks pretty in a mall parking lot, it does not belong on the dirt."

Well, I beg to differ.