I'll be honest. Since reading The Driver and watching 32 Hours 7 Minutes (sorry Mr. Roy, had to see at least some footage of the run), I’ve been thinking of ways to beat Alex Roy and David Maher's record of crossing the country in 31 hours and 4 minutes. Which Ed Bolian broke last October. Naturally, this also involved thinking of vehicles currently on sale that could be used for the record. Which led to this list containing both serious thought and ridiculous pretensions.
Author's Note: Law enforcement agencies of America (and members of Team Polizei 144) please take notice. This list was written by a penniless unemployed millennial who had nothing better to do than think up lists like these. The only cars he has access to are a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T and a 1999 Honda Odyssey on its rebuilt second transmission. (His dad's E39 [not an M5] was off-limits.) Also, in no way does the author condone any attempts to set a new cross-country record. Actually, he will condemn the attempt, mainly because he wasn't invited to come along.
Originally, the E350 Bluetec occupied this slot. But for 2014, Mercedes inexplicably stopped sending an E-Class diesel to the U.S. in favor of the E400 Hybrid. So BMW has swooped in and has given Americans a 5-Series diesel. I've never driven this car (probably because it's not quite available here yet), but it has serious potential to take down the record. As much as I loathe the current 5-Series driving feel and recommend the Lexus GS instead, I have to say it's a decent choice for quick coast-to-coast journeys. With a claimed 36 mpg on the highway and 0-60 in under 6 seconds, it'll be both fast and fuel efficient. It may be no E39 M5, but the 535d more than makes up for it with excellent range and fuel economy.
Porsche 991 Carrera S
I actually love the 997 GTS, either PDK or manual. But the current 991 is still fantastic to go cross-country in, and I'd never refuse the chance to drive it. Part of the reason why Roy did his cross-country run in the E39 M5 was because he loved it, and therefore enjoyed the 30 hours he was in the car. As small as the Porsche is compared to the rest of the cars on this list, I would have genuine pleasure just listening to that 3.8-liter flat-six droning on while crossing Oklahoma. A key problem is fitting a fuel cell and space for only one other person since the back seats are useless. It’s also a reliable car if Porsche winning plenty of endurance races is any indication. (This may be some sort of fallacy.) Even the fuel economy is pretty good, due to the seventh gear. You need to have a machine you respect when trying to break an “unofficial” record, and the 991 fits that bill.
It's no secret on Jalopnik I have a penchant for the Honda Odyssey. The Odyssey is the ultimate family car with do-anything potential. Funnily enough, it's the only vehicle on this list apart from the BMW I've never driven (though I’ve driven the prior two generations). A 3.5-liter Honda V-6 can get the job done, though I wouldn’t be sure about anything at speeds over 120 mph. Also, the fuel economy is acceptable. I would get the LX version (lightest though it doesn’t have the six-speed transmission) and strip the inside accordingly for more weight savings and to accommodate the large fuel cell. A van like this can make up time saved from fuel stops and there is so much space that driver changes can be made while in motion (not that I would recommend it). I was also going to talk about Variable Cylinder Management, but then I realized it would be useless.
Ford Taurus SHO
One car being used by highway patrols at the moment had to be on this list for obvious reasons. So Motor Trend ended up doing a lot of the work for me on this one. It turned out the Charger hasn't been the most reliable of police cars while the Caprice can't be bought by civilians. (Don't worry; if the Crown Vic was still being made, it would occupy this space.) A black SHO with Performance Package can look something like a modern-day police car so people will get out of your way. Also, Ford has been constantly promoting the reliability of the Ecoboost and I’m inclined to believe them; otherwise, I'd be hearing plenty of criticism about the engines on Jalopnik (or TTAC). And a Volvo platform means AWD and that it can handle (somewhat).
This car is quick. Seriously quick. Like 0-60 mph in under four seconds quick. It'll eat up the highway at 150 mph. An S8 is super-light (for its size) and spacious, so a fuel cell is definitely an option for extending the range. The fuel economy is decent as well, and the MMI system is pretty good if I have to rely entirely on it. Also, it can comfortably fit a staff of people who work out fast routes on the go. I'd like to think Audi intended this car to be used for crossing countries quickly, because the car is very well-suited to that purpose. It is so quiet and blends in so naturally, that from a distance, some people will say it’s an A4. And the S8 is a bargain compared to a Panamera Turbo. Drive an S8 if you possibly can. You'll know it's the perfect car to beat 31 hours and 4 minutes.
What five cars would you consider for a cross-country record run?
This post originally appeared on my Kinja blog BecauseCAR.
Cover photo courtesy of Autoblog. Rest of the photos are per the manufacturers.