There are a lot of cool smart phone applications out there to improve the experience of getting around. Some help you find the cheapest gas, others find the fastest way to your next destination and some will even allow you to stream internet radio right into your Bluetooth system.
But what about the actual joy of driving? Is it possible for your phone to give you that wind-in-your-hair, edge-of-your-seat thrill that comes with getting behind the wheel?
The BMW Ultimate Drive is a community-based app designed to bring you more relaxation and fun on those Sunday jaunts.
First off, the app is available on iOS, Android, and Facebook. Sadly, Blackberry users are out of luck when they’re on the road. While really intended for BMW enthusiasts, anyone can download the application and create a username. By choosing “My Profile,” you can log in with an existing account, your Facebook profile, or create a new user. You’ll be asked what you drive now and if you’re a member of any BMW regional car clubs. BMW owners will have the option to add a specific vehicle, while everyone else manually enters their preferred ride.
The Ultimate Drive also delivers BMW news, alerts when new drives are added to your area, and the option to schedule a test drive with local BMW dealerships. Current BMW owners also have the option to log into their BMW Financial Services accounts to make car payments directly from the application.
Navigate back to the home screen, and you’ll find the “Stretches” option. This is where you’ll find the real value in the app. Our recommendation is that you choose the crosshair at bottom left to center on your current location, and then select “Show Me.” The app will generate a list and map of users’ and BMW clubs’ favorite driving routes around you, along with optional ratings and photos of each drive. If you try one and enjoy the route, you can publish it to your Facebook timeline or email it to a friend for future fun.
If you’d like to add your own hidden gem of a drive, you can hit the plus sign at the top of the screen. That allows you to drop a starting point, map the drive, and drop an end point. You’re then able to name and select the type of drive, depending on how sporty or casual it may be, and rate its fun, twisty, scenic, and traffic factors as well. Once you save your route, it shows up for all others users to see and pursue, too.
We’re big fans of the Ultimate Drive application, especially since it seems like BMW drivers seem to really get squeeze the most fun out of their cars. On our own demo of the app, we found ourselves drifting through mountain passes, cruising down the highway and discovering a beautiful new view of the city’s skyline. While there may not be a ton of utility in application like this, we think it’s an awesome option if you’re looking for a way to decompress with your car.
And even better, it’s a free way to network with other local guys and gals who are just as passionate about driving as you are.