Bye-Bye, Bimmer

After a couple years of BMW ownership I parted ways with my ’18 540i XDrive last Friday. Its replacement is a 2020 F150 Platinum.

The G30 BMW was a nice enough car. It never was the equal of the Mercedes in sound suppression, comfort, or speed. It was however perfectly reliable, with none of the increasingly irritating shortcomings of the much older Mercedes. Everything worked; the cruise didn’t panic at random times, the radio and nav worked well, and it did get about 30 MPG at highway speeds. I never spent a single day fixing anything; it just worked. Of course it was an 11 year newer car that had been properly maintained, so that was certainly to be expected. So the ownership experience was much better, even if the car was not quite in the same class – rightly so, since the S-class is a full on luxury sedan and the 5-series is an executive sedan.

The F150 is a mix of pure utility and unabashed opulence. The cabin is big enough to pitch a tent. The electronics are pretty much up to date — not perfect, but quite good. It’s remarkably quiet in the cabin. I can of course use it as a pickup, which is really one of the two things that made me pull the trigger on swapping out the BMW for the truck. The other was ride comfort on long trips. While the BMW was quite comfortable (as was the Mercedes before it), that comfort was good for about 2-3 hours at most. After that I’d start to get some pain in my right hip, and by the time we hit the 4 hour mark it was on fire. A 14 hour day driving the old F150 (which needs a new home still) had no such discomfort.

The climate controls in the Ford are a welcome change, too. Both of the German cars had rather anemic air conditioning that struggled with full sun and hot days. The F150 will just about freeze you out if that’s what you want, and it’s the very first vehicle in which the seat cooling/ventilation actually works well enough that you can feel it. I’ve also got little things that American car makers include almost as stock items and for inexplicable reasons the Germans either refuse to allow at all, or charge stupid amounts of money to enable – like remote start and Apple Car Play.

Yes, I’ll miss the acceleration of the V-12 and the I-6; even the 375 HP Ecoboost doesn’t haul the huge bulk of the pickup all that fast. It’s plenty quick for a pickup, of course, and I’m OK with trading some of the neck-snapping capability that was so seldom used, for the cargo space that is frequently required. I even get to do some towing tomorrow.