BMW Financial Services Launches The Ultimate Drive App for Facebook

Today we are releasing The Ultimate Drive App for Facebook, which lets BMW drivers and other driving enthusiasts find and share their exceptional driving routes. Users of the app can add their own route descriptions, photos or ratings, and see all of the contributions from others on the map or with Google Street View.

Thanks to BMW Financial Services, users with a Facebook account (now over a billion people) can access this free app right away.

The Ultimate Drive for Facebook features millions of miles of user-suggested driving routes, detailed descriptions, photos and user ratings. The Facebook app includes the ability to view stretches using Google Street View and to integrate with our other route-sharing apps from BMW Financial Services for iOS and Android.

The Ultimate Drive for Facebook also allows existing BMW Financial Services customers (U.S. only) to generate a loyalty voucher worth up to $700 off the first finance or lease payment on a new 2012 or 2013 BMW. Users can claim this offer by reserving a test drive within one of the apps between now and December 31, 2012.

“What better way to enjoy the perfect road than with your friends.”, said Pawan Murthy, General Manager of Online Business,  BMW Financial Services, “We hope that The Ultimate Drive for Facebook will help fans of BMW share their passion within their social networks.”

Here are the voucher amounts available and how they match up with the different BMW models:

$300 Off Voucher — 3 Series, 1 Series, X1, X3 and Z4 (all trims, including M models)
$500 Off Voucher — 5 Series, 5 Series Gran Turismo and X5 (all trims, including M models)
$700 Off Voucher — 7 Series, 6 Series, 6 Series Gran Coupe and X6 (all trims, including M models)

Well, what are you waiting for? Go get the new Facebook app!!!

NOTE: The Ultimate Drive for Facebook is initially available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Vietnam. If you’re located elsewhere, the iOS and Android apps are available in 100+ countries. You can get the mobile apps at http://socialnav-inc.com/GetTUD.

5 Great Accessories to Prepare Your Ride for Fall

Fall is rapidly approaching, and while we bet you have bought yourself some warm clothes for the cooler weather, you shouldn’t forget your loved one in the garage! Here is a list of driving-related items that will get you and your car set for the cold seasons, no matter where you live.

1. Heavy Duty Floor Mats

Preserve your interior by protecting the carpet with good floor mats. Get a rubber set that absorbs dirt, snow and water. We highly recommend Weathertech mats, which are top quality and made right here in the USA. They last a lifetime, and so will your factory interior.

2. A BMW Beanie

We had to include at least one cool lifestyle item on this list! Keep yourself warm with a BMW beanie. Store it in your car for that moment when an unexpected shower or early snow starts falling, or wear it when it is just plain cold out! We like this one, which is available on Amazon for a great price.

3. Winter Tires

It might be the last thing you think of for performance, but all the horsepower in the world is no good if you can’t convert it to grip. Another important thing to remember is that traction control cannot defy the laws of physics. Seasonal tires are an excellent purchase no matter where you live. Tire manufacturers offer rain tires, snow tires and other seasonal selections so you can find a tire that will be relevant to your local climate. In addition, this should also be viewed as safety enhancement- sticky tires are downright dangerous when driving in wet conditions where they cannot grip. A side benefit: if you’ve been wanting a nice set of rims this is an excellent excuse to buy those as well!

4. Battery Tender

For folks who are going to garage their beloved ride over a cold winter, a battery tender is a must to keep the electrical systems charged, the battery full and healthy, and your car in ready-to-drive condition. You don’t store your car in the winter? The battery tender is still relevant – it keeps your battery in tip-top shape year round. Our preference is the “Battery Tender Plus”, which is available here on Amazon.com.

5. A Waxing and Detailing

Winter weather can be really hard on your car’s exterior, and building up a strong layer of wax before the rain and snow falls can significantly improve the lifespan of your paint job. Take the time to work a few coats of wax onto the car – one weekend at a time. If you live in an area where roads are salted during winter, try to have the undercarriage cleaned, and apply undercoating to any areas that could use reinforcement. None of this is flashy, but it ensures your car will look that way!

Round-Up: Top Weekend Drives, September Edition

Autumn is upon us and there’s no prettier time of year to take a drive! Each week we pick our favorite user-submitted routes to feature on the BMW Ultimate Drive App Facebook page and this month’s stretches are perfect for fall. From the Northwest to the Northeast U.S., there is a drive near you just waiting to be explored. Check out this month’s featured Weekend Drive Picks for some of the most beautiful routes in the country.

Northern California: Avenue of Giants

Northern California is known for its stunning redwoods and this Weekend Drive Pick along the Avenue of Giants surely won’t disappoint! This gorgeous stretch of road winds down the 101 and traces the border of Humboldt Redwoods State Park – a must see!

Avenue of Giants

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Lester. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/Q6xpSX.

Vermont: Tracey Road

This Weekend Drive Pick features Tracey Road in Eastern Vermont. Comparable to the App Gap (Rt. 17), this is one of the best twisties for miles around! On this windy yet smooth route, a BMW is the perfect car to scrape the corners without fear of grade changes — you won’t want this drive to end!

Tracy Road, Vermont

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Tonymorr. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/Qkufen.

Oregon: Sister’s Loop

Sisters, a small tourist town in Oregon, is home to this Weekend Drive Pick. An 88 mile loop from scenic 126 (complete with waterfalls!) to the more technical roads of 242 makes this drive an all-around must!

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by MWGeorge. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/NBrjg1.

Montana: Beartooth Pass 

This Weekend Drive Pick takes us to Custer National Forest, near Billings, Montana. The sheer variety of the scenery makes this a must do on your Bucket List! According to Schnehe, our user who submitted this stretch, “Elevation, lakes, glaciers, twists, waterfalls – this has it all!”

Beartooth Pass

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Schnehe. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/TsGybU.

If you take one of these scenic fall drives, be sure to review it in The Ultimate Drive app or share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page. Or, if you have your own favorite weekend drive submit it through the app and your drive just might be featured next month!

BMW’s The Ultimate Drive App Wins Bronze Stevie in Travel Mobile Apps Category at The American Business Awards

We are proud to announce that The Ultimate Drive app by BMW Financial Services and SocialNav, Inc., was just named a Bronze Stevie Winner in the Travel Mobile Apps category at The 2012 American Business AwardsSM (“The Stevies®”).

The ABAs are the nation’s premier business awards program. More than 3,000 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories from companies including Apple, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Ford Motor Company, NASCAR, YouSendIt (and yours truly!) among others. Finalists were chosen by more than 140 business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May. Winners were announced this week at an awards banquet at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco, California.

As you may already know, the (free!) Ultimate Drive app for iPhone and Android helps you discover the best roads around the world. It also enables U.S. BMW Financial Services customers to receive credit towards their first lease or loan payment on a new BMW (up to $700 off all 2012 / 2013 BMW models!). We are thrilled to be recognized by The American Business Awards for our app’s achievements and look forward to many more “down the road…”

Check out this photo of Rich Danielson, co-founder of SocialNav, Inc., developer of The Ultimate Drive mobile app, accepting the Bronze Stevie Award at The American Business Awards banquet:

Quick Drive: The 2013 BMW Alpina B7

At last month’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Ultimate Drive App team found ourselves in an enviable position. While at the BMW Villa (yes, a real villa),  the good folks at BMW North America offered us the key to a new 2013 Alpina B7 – on the weekend of its North American debut! Before anyone changed their mind, we quickly grabbed the key and hit the road for a test drive. Our time in the car was limited, so consider the following general impressions of the car and not a detailed road test. Here is what we thought:

Our Alpina B7, awaiting its workout

At first glance you know the car is something special. Many touches – both subtle and obvious – differentiate the B7 and its unbelievable 500hp, twin-turbocharged V8 from its 7 Series brethren. A variety of badges and body features let you know this car means business and, if that doesn’t stop you in your tracks, the exhaust note when you start the engine will!

We were also fortunate enough to take a drive in the latest 7 Series which, until the Alpina drive, we had been lavishly praising as one of our favorite luxury sedans ever. The Alpina’s road manners changed that ranking, but it managed to do so without giving up exactly what made the 7 Series great – its road manners. The Alpina is aggressive, responsive and authoritative when you want it to be; or docile, comfortable and quiet when you aren’t wringing its neck. More on the performance later, but it is important to mention the car’s incredible versatility up front.

The Alpina-badged cockpit is all business, and laid out extremely well

Once inside the cockpit, we immediately noticed a host of features; the most immediate of which was silence. Getting into the Alpina is like stepping into a parallel universe – one which only embodies yourself, your passengers and the machine at your command. The cockpit was logically oriented, and we had no trouble getting familiar with the myriad of controls and accoutrements the B7 has to offer. Our passenger in the back seat made a point to consistently repeat how wonderful the rear seating area was throughout the drive. This was partially due to his spending the morning in the back of an M3, but nonetheless worth repeating here.

Our back seat driver passenger managed to snap a quick camera phone image of this interior Alpina badge between being flung between the limits of the seatbelt in corners

Getting back to business, we had already driven the 7 Series so we were quite keen to see what the Alpina could do. After a leisurely drive down 17 Mile Drive – Pebble Beach’s built in racetrack – we decided to put the car through its paces. The transformation from luxury sedan to sports car is simply incredible. The first big revelation was the braking system. From high speed the B7 stopped to a standstill with the ease of a sports car and, in doing so, gave the weight impression of a Go Kart not a 4500lb luxury sedan.

Top notch Michelins PS2’s and serious braking power – this is only the rear caliper! – inspire massive confidence in sport driving conditions

Naturally a stop sign gave us the opportunity to see how the car accelerates from a standstill, the answer to which is ferociously! The automatic transmission worked like a charm during both aggressive and relaxed driving periods. Handling mirrored our impressions of the rest of the car; which was to say perfect in all conditions. In fact, we had a hard time faulting anything in the car. Perhaps with more time and a proper testing ground we could have, but for now all we can say is we want one!

Reasons to Take European Delivery of Your New BMW – Part 3: The German Road Trip!

In our last blog post, we continued our European Delivery adventure with a tour of the BMW Museum and the BMW Factory, culminating with delivery of a new BMW! This final part of the story is a recap of the driving adventure before dropping off the BMW, which will be reunited with its owner at a dealer back in the USA.

Having been tossed the keys to a new BMW in the motherland, we were eager to go put our foot down and motor! We didn’t know much about driving in Germany, other than the country’s excellent road manners and drivers’ tendency to go VERY fast. Thankfully BMW takes away a lot of the stress, providing insurance for the trip and a wonderful in-car navigation system (if ordered on your car). So with the GPS programmed, we hit the Autobahn from Munich.

We had a few options for routes, starting with the Ultimate Drive App as a trusted resource.  Using the App, we found over 60 amazing trips short and long that were recommended by local drivers, including this scenic route starting right in Munich:

There was even this amazing roller-coaster of a drive if we had wanted to drive further towards the Alps:

BMW also provides some standard tours they’ve collected over the years. Since we don’t know Germany like the back of our hand and we wanted to make the most of the little time we had, we found BMW’s “Driving Adventures” program (http://bit.ly/bQQ9GP) to be a fantastic resource. With a selection of drives to suit any taste, you can sign up for a pre-planned tour. We decided to take the “Black Forest” tour through Schaffhausen and Baden Baden with a little twist…

After stopping by the breathtaking waterfalls in Schaffhausen, we decided to skip the rest day in Baden Baden to do what any serious would driver would do when presented with a new BMW in Germany: go burn laps at the Nurburgring! It was an entire day’s trip when including the drive to and from the track, but the laps around the 14 mile, visitor-friendly circuit made it the best day of our trip. The opportunity of a lifetime!

From there we rejoined our pre-planned route and wound up in the city of Wiesbaden, where we dropped the newest member of the family off for shipment back to the US. In the morning we hopped a plane back to the USA, and slept away the rigors of the trip while dreaming of the next one.

For anyone planning a European Delivery trip, the following materials are excellent resources:

BMW Welt Overview: http://cache.bmwusa.com/pdf_bc0ddae6-5beb-4673-bdc2-ad79e3286198.arox?v=810c076d-5ace-4f92-abdf-407353dd2cd0

European Delivery Program Guide: http://cache.bmwusa.com/pdf_b6496b61-a503-4572-aab6-b33693f336c7.arox?v=35d5ccae-ea56-485a-87b7-f3b8c185526c

European Delivery Quick Guide: http://cache.bmwusa.com/pdf_3ad64cb0-6b8f-4c68-ba2e-d05826acf175.arox?v=ba96778e-cb4f-4e2d-b0c9-56c67f187077

Round-Up: Top Weekend Drives, August Edition

What’s better than a weekend drive? A weekend drive on the most fun, beautiful and scenic roads! To help you discover these hidden gems, each week we feature our favorite, user-submitted stretches on the BMW Ultimate Drive App Facebook page. Check out this month’s featured Weekend Drive Picks — there are some great Labor Day trip ideas here!

Southern California: Palomar Mountain to Lake Henshaw

If you’re in the San Diego area or planning a trip out to the West Coast, this route should be on your must-drive list! From Palomar Mountain to Lake Henshaw, this drive is packed with fantastic vistas. Just a short distance from the peak of Palomar Mountain a scenic overlook awaits, offering breathtaking views of the mountainside, and another overlook, nearer to Lake Henshaw, highlights the lush valleys and sparkling waters of the lake area. Beautiful!

Palomar Mountain to Lake Henshaw, California

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by DOMAPOI. Google Maps directions:  http://bit.ly/NkOfRJ.

Northern California: Big Sur

This breath-taking 60 mile stretch along the coast of Big Sur in Northern California offers dramatic ocean views, glimpses of towering redwoods and some fun stretches of twisty roads to keep you on your toes!

Big Sur, Northern California

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by starshley. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/OMz6H3.

Colorado: Coal Creek Canyon

Just southwest of Boulder, this drive is only a short distance from the big city, but takes you past the hustle and bustle and into the mountains of central Colorado. From Coal Creek Canyon to the town of Golden, this route has a fun mix of straight-aways and twisty turns, passing by several of Colorado’s state parks and offering up fantastic views of canyons, wooded areas and mountain ranges.

Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Nelson5235. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/OgnY1P.

North Carolina: Franklin to Highlands

In the mood for a quick road trip that’s not only fun but will also put your driving skills to the test? Then this short, but highly technical route in North Carolina — with 140+ twists in just under 20 miles — should get your heart racing! Plus, there are plenty of places along the way to stop and enjoy the scenery, including a gorgeous waterfall.

Franklin to Highlands, North Carolina

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Jpwiii. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/OEu9O9.

Are you taking a special roadtrip this Labor Day or do you have a favorite weekend drive you want to see featured? Submit it through The Ultimate Drive app or share it with us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Reasons to Take European Delivery of Your New BMW – Part 2: BMW Museum and Factory

Part 2: The BMW Museum and Factory

In our last blog post (which can be found HERE) we kicked off our incredible European Delivery trip to BMW in Munich with a tour of BMW Welt. This time we are getting down to business by touring the BMW Factory, Museum, and picking up a new car!

Having spent our morning wandering the main reception hall of BMW Welt, we check in for our tour and are whisked across the street by a fabulous tour guide. Our first destination is the BMW Museum, which for us car nuts is a real highlight of the trip. The museum could be considered a whole day’s activity by itself, and many people spend that much time viewing its many exhibits. BMW has assembled an amazing array of street cars, racing cars, motorcycles, aviation items and interactive displays, all of which tell the story of the company over time.  The images below give a good overview of the multi-level museum and its treasures.

After an amazing few hours wandering the museum and gathering a real appreciation for what the company has accomplished through the years, we meet our guide for a trip through the BMW factory. The car nut within had us divided between love for the museum’s history and the factory’s technology. Unfortunately, images are not allowed in the plant, but we managed to come up with a few stock photos to show off what it is like:

Finally, the moment arrives for those who are there to pick up their new car. At the delivery center, you are given an educational walk-through of every feature on your BMW. It is an impressive presentation, and, despite the anxiety of almost getting your car, it is time well spent to learn features you may not have discovered otherwise. Then the moment arrives! You are united with your car, and given the keys. Time to get behind the wheel and drive!

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog- the German road trip!

Ultimate Drive App Offer Extended to September 30 — Up to $700 Off All New BMW Models

These happy faces are on folks who have taken the opportunity to test drive a new 2012 or 2013 BMW… and for scheduling their test drive through the (free!) Ultimate Drive app for iPhone and Android, they earned a credit towards their first lease or loan payment on a new BMW.

Well, now we’re going to see a lot more happy faces because the offer has been extended through September 30, 2012! Between now and September 30th, existing U.S. customers of BMW Financial Services who download The Ultimate Drive app can get a voucher worth up to $700 off the first payment on a new 2012 or 2013 BMW financed or leased through BMW Financial Services USA.

The offer amount depends on the vehicle financed or leased and is offered for 2012 or 2013 models only. Here are the voucher amounts available and how they match up with the different BMW models:

$300 Off Voucher — 3 Series, 1 Series, X1, X3 and Z4 (all trims, including M models)
$500 Off Voucher — 5 Series, 5 Series Gran Turismo and X5 (all trims, including M models)
$700 Off Voucher — 7 Series, 6 Series, 6 Series Gran Coupe and X6 (all trims, including M models)

Did we mention that this app is FREE?! Here are the specifics on how you snag the savings in 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Download The Ultimate Drive app (available on iPhone and Android) to discover and share the best roads to drive.

Step 2: Use the app to schedule a test drive at your local BMW Center.

Step 3: Confirm your test drive (instructions in the app) to generate your voucher code and use it when ordering your new 2012 or 2013 BMW.

Don’t forget — offer now ends September 30, 2012, so don’t wait – go get the free app now!

7 Last Minute Destinations to Pamper Yourself Before Summer’s End

Summer is drawing to a close and we soon must say goodbye to the long sunny days and weekends on the beach, but there’s still time for one more last minute trip between now and Labor Day! In case you don’t have a destination in mind, we’ve hand-picked a few beautiful spots across the continental U.S. so that no matter where you are there are spas, wine tastings, golfing and sunsets to squeeze in before summer ends. So what are you waiting for? Go grab your bags, gas up your shiny BMW and don’t forget your Ultimate Drive app to steer you down the best routes to these luxury destinations…

1. Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod is known for its laid back lifestyle, but this little town in the North East offers more than just centuries-old lighthouses and beautiful beaches! A trip to the Cape wouldn’t be complete without spending time sport fishing, admiring yachts in the harbor, wine tasting at a local vineyard or taking a biplane tour. While you’re there, be sure to cruise the 40-mile stretch of Route 6 between Eastham and Provincetown on the outer Cape for a chance to see all the National Seashore has to offer — nature trails, bicycle trails, picnic areas, scenic overlooks and historic sites!


(credit: nopsa.hiit.fi)

2. Palm Springs, CA

Situated in the California desert just two hours east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is a short drive for South Western vacationers looking to sunbathe at swanky hotel pools and play rounds on some of the country’s most exquisite golf courses. If you’re in the area, pack up your clubs and get ready to enjoy not only your weekend, but also the ride up mountains and across barren desert to reach this beautiful destination!


(credit: Flickr user: arlo j)

3. Kennebunkport, ME

Just 30 miles from the Maine-New Hampshire border, the seaside haven of Kennebunkport has long attracted vacationers, celebrities and those looking for a little New England adventure – it is even home to two US presidents! Kennebunk takes full advantage of its waterfront property, offering a variety of activities like whale watching, charter boat excursions and tours of the homes of sea captains and shipbuilders (some of which are even thought to be haunted…). Be sure to pack a sweater because the sea breeze can get chilly!


(credit: Flickr user: pvsbond)

4. Boca Raton, FL

Only a 20 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and slightly east of the Everglades, Boca Raton is a paradise in paradise for those in the South East! Boca Raton offers lavish country clubs, sophisticated restaurants and is the perfect weekend vacation spot for anyone looking to experience the elegance and fun nightlife of the downtown district.


(credit: Flickr user: spadayguy)

5. Greenwich, CT

Greenwich is a vibrant cosmopolitan community considered among the most affluent and elegant towns in the North East. Boasting five harbors, Greenwich is a haven for yacht enthusiasts, sunbathers and those who love to explore historic lighthouses. If you’re after a more relaxed getaway, this small town also is littered with five-star hotels, spas and country clubs. Situated on scenic Long Island Sound, just 30 miles from midtown Manhattan, this is the perfect destination for a weekend road trip!


(credit: Flickr user: Ewan-M)

6. Russian River, CA

Just over two hours north of San Francisco, Russian River is in the heart of Northern California wine country and is home to many small and several large commercial wineries — a true wine-enthusiast’s dream destination! Not only does Russian River produce award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines ready for tasting, it is also home to lush wildlife preserves, boutique lodgings and relaxing day spas.


(credit: Fotopedia.com)

7. Jackson Hole, WY

The rustic adventure and sophisticated style of Jackson Hole meld together to create the perfect atmosphere for a little R&R on your last vacation of the summer. This valley, situated just east of the Wyoming-Idaho border is framed by the Grand Tetons, offering ranges perfect for horseback-riding, beautiful vistas and luxurious five-star accommodations to keep you comfortable at night… or during the day if you wish.


(credit: Flickr user: rickpilot_2000)

Do you have a favorite luxury destination near your hometown? Share it with us here in the comments or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter! And remember, if you’d like to find scenic and exciting routes to and around these destinations, just search in the Ultimate Drive App