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Driving from Detroit to San Diego in small horesepower car. Best Route?

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I'm driving from the Detroit area to San Diego in a few days. I've driven across the country several times and have done the trip through Denver on the I70 route, the trip through New Mexico on the I40 route, and I've even done the trip on I80 through Wyoming. This particular time, I'm looking for the shortest time, but the kicker here is that I also have to figure in temperature and elevation as, this time, I'm driving a 2000 BMW 323CI with a 2.5L 170 hp I6 engine. In the past, I've done the trip in V8 Mustangs (GT, Saleen, etc.), a souped up Cutlass, and other higher horsepower motors. I'm concerned that the trip through NM and Arizona with that getting over the final mountains climb into San Diego (which is steep for about 10 miles) might be a little rough on my engine (not to mention potential heat). Conversely, the trip through Colorado and Utah on the I70 route will probably not be as hot, but I'm concerned the long duration at elevation might cause engine problems. Lastly, I80 is too far out of the way for this trip so it's out of question.

My question to all of you is 1. Take the I40 route through Oklahoma, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Yuma and risk higher heat possibilities capped with a final mountain climb (I know not as scenic but maybe less gas due to less overall climbs) or 2. I70 route through Nebraska, Denver, Utah, Vegas, Riverside (most direct and scenic but sustained elevation).

Both trips have their merits, but my concern is my car. Which has the best route for a small horsepower car? Scenery isn't a big factor for this trip. I'm assuming a long three or maybe a softer 4 day trip with both day and night driving. (12 to 14 hours)

Any suggestions?

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