BMW 535d Review: The Road to Bear Mountain

By Jonathan Spira on 5 August 2014
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Fuel Economy Figures Say Prius, Performance and Handling Say M


Bear Mountain, located in Orange County, New York on the bank of the Hudson River, is the best known of New York’s Hudson Highlands, a series of mountains flanking the Hudson River.  At the mountain’s peak, the Perkins Memorial Tower affords visitors spectacular views as far south as the Manhattan skyline.  Along with Seven Lakes Drive and the Bear Mountain Bridge, it is home to some of the most scenic vistas within an easy drive of New York City.

On a hot and sunny Saturday in July, I plotted a route for The Diesel Driver’s long-term 2014 BMW 535d that took me first from Long Island to BMW of Tenafly, where a BMW 428i Cabriolet was waiting to be reunited with my friend who had picked it up in Munich at the BMW Welt some five weeks earlier.  BMW of Tenafly is in northern New Jersey, and after dropping off my passenger, I would continue in the 535d to Bear Mountain via the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

The initial drive was 27.6 miles (44.4 kilometers), winding our way through the NYC borough of Queens on its various expressways and parkways.  After crossing the East River into Manhattan and zipping up the Harlem River Drive to the George Washington Bridge, we soon found ourselves on the Jersey side of the Hudson River and on the Palisades Interstate Parkway.



The Palisades Interstate Parkway is a 38.25-mile (61.56-kilometer) scenic highway that starts at the George Washington Bridge and continues north into New York State, terminating at the Bear Mountain Bridge.  The parkway, accessible from an exit on the upper level of the George Washington Bridge, opened in 1958 and is named after the Palisades, a line of steep cliffs, which along with the Hudson River below are evocative of Norwegian fjords..  Several scenic outlooks along its length provide breathtaking views of the river and its eastern shore.

After 7.5 miles (12 kilometers), we exited at Alpine and drove on local roads for a few minutes to reach BMW of Tenafly.  Fuel economy for the first leg was quite good, at 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km).

After our stop at the dealership, my friend drove his 4er home, I stopped briefly to fill the tank (diesel was a bargain at $4.09 per gallon compared to $4.49 in most of New York City, and rejoined the Palisades Interstate Parkway at Alpine.

Once on the parkway I continued another 30.75 miles (49.5 kilometers) until its end.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Summit, Bear Mountain Bridge, and Fuel Economy

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