One way to get people revved up about a car is to get them behind the wheel. That’s one of the core tenets of BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience, which, after a hiatus last year, hit the road April 13-23 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, and will travel to six cities with the full BMW lineup, including the new 5 Series and its plug-in hybrid electric performance models. New this year is an Ultimate Driving Competition, which will culminate with a trip to the BMW Performance Center West in Thermal, CA, for 12 drivers, and a BMW Teen Driving School course based on the program taught in Thermal and at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, SC.
The Ultimate Driving Experience includes events for a range of consumers, from speed enthusiasts to beginning drivers, taught by BMW-certified instructors. Among the activities: Autocross, a two-hour, closed-course driving program featuring the new BMW 5 series, and the M Car Control Clinic, which costs $750 and takes drivers on an eight-hour experience highlighting the handling and performance of BMW’s M Series cars, like maneuvering through the Slalom + Cone Course and conducting high-speed skids. Participants who register for the Autocross and M Car Control Clinics are automatically entered into the Ultimate Driver competition. The two best drivers from each city will move on to the finals at the BMW Performance Center West in Thermal, CA, to compete for the title of Ultimate Driver.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Teen Driving School introduces those under age 21 to driving theory, like operating a vehicle in different driving conditions, braking, accident avoidance and car control, in the BMW 2 and 3 series. Attendees also can also take the cars for 20-minute test drives on city streets.
“We try to really bring our brand’s tagline, the Ultimate Driving Machine, to life with an experience behind the wheel with our Performance Center instructors. Not a lot of brands within the segment or within the industry can hang their hats on such a strong statement,” says Gina Koutros, experiential marketing manager at BMW North America. “I think we’ve created that experience where they develop a strong affinity for the brand and become a fan for life.” Agency: KBS, New York City.