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 |  Aug 06 2010, 11:16 AM

The 1st day of the MINI Takes The States Tour kicked off with a bit of a surprise – it turned out that a MINI press car was unable to take me from Newark Airport to our first destination, so I had to slum it in a BMW 550i. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.

Unfortunately, the 550i’s nav system took me in the opposite direction from New York, nearly sending me to Camden, New Jersey, ranked America’s most dangerous city in 2009. Not exactly the kind of place you want to take a brand new Bimmer.

All was resolved thanks to a local friend who laughed at my inept sense of direction and set me on course for Manhattan’s Meat Packing District. I set forth for MILK Studios, a gallery space where MINI was hosting a launch event for the new 4-door Countryman SUV, as well as the launch point of the Eastern leg of the MINI Takes The States Tour.

Once I hit Manhattan, I began to wish for a Mini Cooper S to help weave through the atrocious traffic. Being an admitted small car guy (my Miata keys in my pocket), the 5 Series was not my ideal vehicle, though I was kept in air conditioned, HD Radio’d comfort for the few hours (yes, hours) it took me to get from Newark to Downtown Manhattan.

Keep reading more MINI Takes the States Tour, Day 1: New York after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jun 21 2010, 2:06 PM

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The BMW 5-Series xDrive models will hit dealerships this October, right before the snow hits the ground, but if you want to pick up one of BMW’s all-wheel-drive sedans, you better be prepared to make it rain.

The base 5-Series xDrive will start at a not insignificant $52,775 for the 535i and $62,875 for the 550i. Both cars represent a $2,300 increase over the standard, rear-drive cars, but with the xDrive models so popular in snowbelt areas, we predict that BMW will have no problem reaping the extra premium in Canada and the Northeastern United States. XDrive models also come with Hill Descent Control, a specialized system that helps vehicles navigate steep grades by controlling vehicle speed, a useful feature on snowy and icy hills.

[Source: Autoblog]