The Road to Munich – Driving the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition Review

By Christian Stampfer on 1 November 2010
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Would it be possible to drive from Munich to Hamburg and back using only one tank of diesel fuel?  With fuel consumption of  4,1 l/100 km (57 mpg) in the combined EU test cycle and highway fuel consumption of 3.6 l/100 km (65 mpg), the distance to be covered seemed reasonable.  Still, there were naysayers.  Reading of our plans on The Diesel Driver’s Facebook page, Alfred G. commented “Impossible!”.

For the drive from Munich to Hamburg, the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition only used 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg). As we reached our final destination in Hamburg, the tank of the BMW 320d was half full. All in all, we drove 797 km (495 miles) and still had a possible range of 780 kilometres (484.6 miles) to go.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, it was time for our return journey to Munich. During our visit in Hamburg, we drove about 70 kilometres in city traffic . Via the famous Reeperbahn, we took our BMW 320d to the old landing bridges in St. Pauli and visited the Speicherstadt in the new “Hafencity-Hamburg”. The Speicherstadt was built during the first years of the Deutsche Kaiserreich (ca. 1870) and is designed in a classical neo-gothic style. In the nineteenth century, it was used to storage several types of goods in a toll-free zone.

Before I reset the trip computer for our drive to Munich, the BMW 320d reported an increase in fuel usage to 4.4 l/100 km (54 mpg). The fuel gauge showed that the tank was less than half full. Heavy traffic plus a lot of stop-and-go driving during rush-hour were the main reasons why we saw this change. With the current figures of fuel consumption, the trip computer calculated a range of 480 km. With this range, we would not even be able to reach the border of the Free State of Bavaria (Freistaat Bayern) near Schweinfurt.

At a quarter past one, I reset the trip computer and we left our hotel at Gottschedstraße 8. Via the B75 and the B4 we continued towards the A255.We crossed the Elbe River over the Nordelbbrücke (Nothern-Elb-Bridge) and reached the A255, leaving On Hamburg the same way we entered it a few days ago. This time we had light traffic on the road and we only got stuck in a small construction site for a few minutes.

A small improvement of the calculated range was already noticeable after we entered the A255. As we had to switch to the A7 (the longest Autobahn in Germany) at the Maschener Kreuz (Maschen interchange), the BMW 320d reported a new remaining range of 580 kilometres. Before we approached Hannover, the navigation system showed traffic ahead and suggested that we take the A37 plus the B3. I know the A37 and B3 (also called “Messeschnellweg”) very well because I drive this route every year in March, when I visit the CeBIT show. We followed the A37 and B3 for about 22 kilometres and then switched back to the A7 near Laatzen.

Back on the A7 again we passed Hildesheim to the east and headed towards Göttingen. Heavy traffic on a two-lane section of the A7 and the first construction site slowed us down to the maximum speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph). Before we reached Kassel, our trip computer showed an average speed of exactly 100,0 km/h (62 mph). Again we had used 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg) for 302 km (187 miles), but still had to cover a distance of 473 km (294 miles) before we would reach Munich in the late evening.

At this point it became clear to me, that Alfred was right! With the remaining fuel in our tank we would not be able to reach Munich. The operating range was about 310 km  (193 miles), but there were far more than 400 km to go!

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