BMW & Movie Stars – A Hollywood Love Story

So ends another year at the Oscars. The lavish gowns are the subject of public scrutiny in the morning tabloids, and photos abound of Hollywood’s best and most beautiful. We’ve already come up with a list of featured BMW beauties in the movies. What about in real life? Let’s have a look at what some of our personal Tinseltown favorites drive.

BMW Hydrogen 7 – Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

Like the star herself, the BMW Hydrogen 7 combines elegance, and environmental consciousness into one sleek package. We’re told that she’ll let Brad take it out for a spin from time to time. Although roomy enough to pack in a gaggle of children, clearly this isn’t the family car.

BMW 7 Series – Eva LongoriaThere’s something so right about seeing this Hollywood bombshell and political activist step out of a sleek 7 Series. Classy and beautiful, yet powerful. We’re certain that the Series 7 would be as equally provocative taking the curves out in the middle of the desert

BMW Z3 – Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan is often seen taking in the town in his sporty BMW Z3, which just goes to show that the sixth James Bond truly has a sense of style, performance and fun – both on and off-screen.

BMW Z8 – Gerard Butler

The BMW Z8 perfectly fits this firebrand action hero to perfection: made for speed, adept at handling any curves thrown his way (smirk!), and impeccably stylish. Nothing says undaunted like the quintessential concept car he’s chosen from the stable of BMW Ultimate Driving Machines!

Rowan Atkinson – 1939 BMW 328

Don’t let the adorably buffoonish façade of Mr. Bean fool you. He might not be up for an Oscar any time soon, but he just might surprise everyone in this vintage-built BMW 328 at the 1000 Miglia time trials near Florence. Che classico !

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!

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!

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!

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 1: BMW World

 Part 1: BMW World/BMW Welt

For those of you who have ever dreamed of a European driving adventure in your own car, there is no excuse not to make that dream a reality! It is a once in a lifetime experience, and BMW has one of the best factory delivery programs in the business. We recently paid a visit to BMW Welt (“BMW World” in English), and this is the first in a three part series of the amazing things you can do while taking European delivery. We will cover BMW Welt, the BMW Museum and Factory, and a Driving Adventure in Europe with your new car.

So, you’ve ordered your new BMW (at an automatic discount off MSRP through the program), and have patiently waited for the day it will be ready. You booked a discounted flight through the European delivery program and arrive in Germany. When taking delivery of your new BMW, your first destination will be BMW Welt in Munich. This is BMW’s world headquarters, and looks every bit the part.

Once inside, you will be greeted by one of the coolest showroom-meets-enthusiast-meccas you will ever see. It encompasses everything BMW: cars, motorcycles, and even a bit of Rolls Royce, which BMW has owned since 1999. Words don’t do BMW Welt justice, so we will let you take a tour via some photos:

The building is incredible, and will take good few hours of wandering before you remember the task at hand- meeting your new car! You check in at the desk and you are then whisked away for a tour of the factory and the BMW Museum before picking up your new ride… which we’ll tell you more about in Part 2! Check back as the story continues.