Valentine’s Day Road Trip Tips

So the big day is approaching, and you are debating what to do with your significant other for the weekend. Why not make it a romantic getaway and take a road trip somewhere? Driving takes away all the stress of air travel, usually costs less when traveling as a pair, and gives you both some quiet alone time as you travel to your destination. For those of you who think this is a great idea, here are some tips on how to get the most out of your time together, and don’t forget to check the Ultimate Drive app for the best routes!

1: Plan everything in advance. This may seem like the obvious, but it is easy to plan the road trip and forget to buy flowers and make a dinner reservation on Valentine’s Day, or vice versa. Planning the whole thing through will avoid traffic, lines and surprises so you can focus on having a good time.

2: Don’t pick a destination too far away. As much as we all love road trips, there is such a thing as too much time in the car- especially when you are trying to get somewhere. Plan for something just a few hours away, and don’t leave at a time that will place you in traffic. Try to locate the most scenic drives around – the Ultimate Drive app is perfect for that!

3: Make sure the car is ready for the trip. Regardless of vehicle, make sure it is up to the trip and everything from tires to headlights are in top order. A quick stop by the dealer for a service or even a once-over in the garage at home will ensure it’s a Valentines Day drive you never forget, and not because of a flat tire!

4: If you have a choice of cars, pick the right one. As much fun as it may sound to take the Z4 out for the weekend; it doesn’t fit enough luggage, lend itself to comfortable long distance driving, or have all terrain tires. (It is February!) Take the X5 instead and enjoy its creature comforts.

5: Have Fun! Remember the whole point of getting away is to enjoy each other’s company and have a good time. Following the tips above will minimize any potential headaches, but remember: even if you do get that flat tire, it will be something you can look back and laugh at on Valentine’s Day for many years to come!

And the Award for “Best Car in an Action Movie” Goes to…BMW!

It’s that time of year again – the film awards season! The Academy Awards are almost upon us.  Among the dazzling lights, beautiful people, glitz and glamor,  have you ever wondered why the BMW wasn’t up for a nomination? After all, we have quite a few examples of movies where the BMW was the real star of the show. As a nod to the 85th Annual Oscar Award ceremonies, we’ve compiled a list of our top five BMW movie cars. Here are our personal favorites, in no particular order:

1: The Transporter – 735i. We said “in no particular order”, but this one may be our favorite. It doesn’t get much cooler than Jason Statham motoring his way from chase to chase in The Transporter with this 735i. This 7 Series scores bonus points for having a manual transmission! Check it out on IMDB here.

2: The World is Not Enough – Z8. James Bond meets one of the most attractive BMWs ever. It was a match made in heaven. The gadgets made for some memorable scenes, but the car’s sad ending was one you will never forget! Check it out on IMDB here.

3: Ronin – E34 M5. While many remember the film Ronin for a different car, it is the bad guy’s M5 that did much of the film’s dirty work. And snaps for being driven the wrong way on the freeway in a chase scene! A classic BMW being put through its paces gives it a direct link to our top 5 list. Check it out on IMDB here.

4: Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol – i8 Concept. The only concept BMW on our list, the i8 brought BMW back to Hollywood in a major way. The chase scene through Mumbai traffic is a classic, and Tom Cruise’s softball affection for the car makes the i8 more memorable than the film itself! Check it out on IMDB here.

5: Tomorrow Never Dies– 750il. Yes we included a second Bond car here, and this time it is a 7 Series. This 7 Series traded The Transporter’s manual gearbox for a remote control! The parking lot scene has been cemented in our minds since we first saw it in 1997. As usual, the Bond car doesn’t meet a happy ending though. Check it out on IMDB here.

What was your most memorable performance by a BMW in an action movie? Let us know!

Last Minute Gifts for the BMW Lover

It is that time of year again! Is there a BMW lover on your shopping list? Well instead of going for a generic BMW polo, or the same keychain as last year in a different color, have a look at our gift guide and get your loved one something a bit more unique, with picks for different budgets:

Driving a Local Racetrack: For those who haven’t yet driven a BMW on a racetrack, it is a thrill with no comparison. Many local racetracks host open track days, as do many local chapters of the BMW Car Club of America. To locate a track day near you, some excellent resources are the nearest raceway’s website (a good list of U.S. racetracks can be found here), or your local BMW club chapter. (Full list of BMW CCA Chapters available here)

BMW USB Charger: If you spend a lot of time in the car, this BMW USB Charger will be a very welcome addition. Plugging into the cigarette lighter, it converts the power to a standard USB 5 volts, and enables charging of everything from smartphones to iPads for about $23.

Tickets to a BMW Race Weekend: No more room in the house? Another excellent gift idea is tickets to a BMW race weekend! The 2013 American Le Mans Series has races all over the country, and there aren’t many things better than cheering on a factory BMW race car at a historic racing venue. Check out the American Le Mans schedule here to buy tickets and find the race nearest your loved one.

A Special BMW Memory – The Car You Had When We Met: Not all of us may have the history or finances to pull off a gift like this, but at the very least this is an inspired idea and wonderful story to read: The Surprise Gift

Whatever you may choose, have a safe and happy holiday season, and may the new year bring some great automotive adventures!

Take the Scenic Way Home from Thanksgiving

Driving out of town for Thanksgiving this year? We all know that the holidays can be stressful, but the trip to and from your loved ones can also be enjoyable time in the car- whether alone or with family. For those who love driving, there is no better weekend to get in a last driving blast before fall turns to winter.

The traditional GPS will tell you the shortest path or the fastest path, but why not change it up and enjoy the drive on roads suggested by other drivers?  Even better, taking more fun or more scenic routes can enable you to avoid the holiday traffic on the highways.

If you need some tips or directions for your trip, The Ultimate Drive app comes to the rescue in the form of thousands of routes to choose from. All the routes are suggested by people like you, complete with descriptions and ratings to see what other drivers think are the best. You can download the free app at any of these links:

Find a great route, hop in the BMW and hit the road!

Wherever the driving adventure takes you, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a great road trip home!

 

Great Winter Escapes for People Who Love Driving

As winter rapidly approaches, many of us are preparing our BMWs for winter storage. For those of you who will continue to drive them during winter, the weather may take away the thrills of utilizing your car’s performance capabilities. To lighten up this sad time, we thought we would lay out a few warm weather destinations to get out of town and go on a winter driving journey!

Location #1: Honolulu, Hawaii.

Honolulu is a tropical paradise, and its roads live up to that reputation. Fly into town, get a bit of sun on the beach, then hop in your rental BMW and explore the island via car! We recommend the Tantalus Drive route, from which you can then circle back to town via Round Top Drive on the other side of the state park. You can find this adventurous route in the Ultimate Drive app for iOS, Facebook or Android app here.

Location #2: Scottsdale, Arizona.

Scottsdale is well-known for being a warm-weather haven during the winter months. It boasts a major airport in nearby Phoenix, numerous hotels and amenities, and some great desert roads for all to enjoy in the winter. Our personal favorite drive is Highway 88 from the Phoenix area out to Tortilla Flats. You can find the route in The Ultimate Drive app here. If the scenery looks familiar here is a good hint as to why: many car manufacturers use this road for auto magazine test drives.

Location #3: Key West, Florida.

Our featured East Coast adventure is one of the world’s best known stretches of highway. It’s not a flat-out performance drive, but what it lacks in sport it makes up for in scenery. The route takes you from Miami’s airport southbound to the bottom of the country. Once out of town, you can hop on the famous “Overseas Highway.” On this renowned Highway you will drive over the water and through various islands all the way to Key West- the southernmost city in the continental United States. Drives don’t get much more scenic than this! Check out the route here.

Last but not least, keep in mind that both smaller and larger car rental companies have fleets of BMWs you can rent for your adventure! This is *crucial* to ensure you have a fun ride for your winter driving escape. Plan your trip soon and have something to look forward to!

Happy Halloween! The Best BMW Halloween Costumes from the Web

Halloween is almost here. In celebration of the holiday and our love for cars, we did some digging to come up with some of the best car costumes on the web. After all, if pet costumes are a regular theme, cars should be able to join in the fun as well!

First up is this M3; which automatically gets a winning vote for being in Halloween dress full time- right from the BMW factory. We give top marks to BMW for making an orange finish classy looking. This car is a Halloween BMW done right!

Next up on the list is this E30 M3, which the owner had to paint orange. We especially love the black headlight trim and grill treatment! It’s a great inspiration for decorating your own car for the 31st, or every day!

Up third it perhaps the most extreme treatment of the Halloween theme we have seen! This M3 is certainly the “loudest” matte black car we have ever seen. The details are done perfectly, and it definitely has a menacing look!

And last of all, we couldn’t ignore these great BMW pumpkins!

Since there is still time before Halloween, should you wind up decorating your own car please send us images at social@socialnav-inc.com! We will post the best ones on our Facebook page for all to see.

Happy Halloween!

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: