2012 BMW 640d xDrive Coupe Test Drive and Review: The Road to Leipzig

By Christian Stampfer on 29 June 2012
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Leipzig, the second largest city (after Dresden) within the free state of Saxony, was one of the most important cities during the fall of communism in the former East Germany in 1989 and is situated about 200 km (124 miles) south of Berlin. The city is today home to over 500,000 inhabitants and German reunification in 1990 saw the start of strong economic development and the return of Leipzig’s status as a cultural center, especially in the field of music.

Two automotive companies, BMW and Porsche, have built new assembly plants,and further  established Leipzig as a hub for the auto industry. BMW will soon be producing the new BMWi i3 and i8 electric vehicles there, in addition to the 1 Series and X1 models. Porsche has announced it will build the new Macan, a compact SUV based on a modified platform of the Audi Q5, alongside its Porsche Cayenne and Panamera at its plant in Leipzig.

I started my drive to Leipzig on a sunny Thursday morning, which was also a public holiday in Germany. Because of the holiday, I expected a fairly easy trip since trucks are not allowed to drive on the Autobahn on such days. The day’s drive would be in a BMW 640d xDrive Coupe and I programmed the navigation system with the destination, selecting the fastest route option, reset the onboard computer, and looked at the traffic information provided by the navi.  My estimated arrival time in Leipzig would be around 1:00 p.m.

Shortly after leaving my driveway, I switched the Driving Experience Control or “Fahrerlebnisschalter” on the center console to Eco Pro in order to achieve maximum fuel economy. The Eco Pro mode adjusts the accelerator progression, the shift characteristic of the eight-speed sport automatic transmission, the climate control, and several other EfficientDynamics options, including the Active Air Flap Control. Other modes besides Eco Pro include Comfort, Comfort +, Sport and Sport + modes.

The BMW 640d xDrive Coupe was well equipped and offered the latest in safety features, including Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection and Active Cruise Control as well as the Adaptive Drive and the latest version of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. An updated Head-Up Display, sporting a 7 x 3.93” full-color screen, kept me informed while I kept my eyes on the road.

The first Autobahn section I entered was the A99 northbound towards interchange 13 near München-Fröttmaning, where the A9 crosses the A99. From that point on,I would continue the next 397 km (246 miles) on the A9.

Since there was a speed limit of 120 km/h (80 mph) on the way to Ingolstadt, the first major city past Munich, I was quite comfortable while driving in the Eco Pro mode.  At the interchange “Haimersdorfer Forst”, where the A9 crosses the A3, I followed the A9 towards Bayreuth, which I reached about 50 minutes later. At this time, the fuel economy of the BMW 640d was 6.8 l/100 km (34.6 mpg) with an average speed of 117.8 km/h (73.2 mph).

Although we had no real possibility to test the BMW’s all-wheel drive system on offroad terrain or on a snowy mountain road, the newest xDrive technology was more than noticeable on the Autobahn after I passed the former inner-German border near Rudolphstein. After the German reunification in 1990, many roads in East Germany had been redesigned and expanded  to three lanes in each direction plus an emergency lane. Given the combination of no speed limit and light traffic it was the right time to switch from Eco Pro to Sport +. Within less than a second, the engine response changed, the suspension and damper were adjusted and an overall sportier characteristic became noticeable. Acceleration from 80 km/h to 120 km/h (50 to 80 mph) was noticeably faster than in the Eco Pro mode. In addition, thanks to xDrive, it was possible to keep up the high speed even in fast curves on the Autobahn, while other cars had to slow down or move over to the middle lane.

Click here to continue to Page 2BMW Eco Pro and Fuel Economy for the Drive

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