Did you know that most everyone who purchases a brand new BMW is invited to take delivery at one of two USA Performance Centers? One is on the East Coast in Spartanburg, South Carolina and the other is in Thermal, California. I had my new BMW delivered to Spartanburg where I had the opportunity to drive on a slick track with BMW! Even if you do not yet own a BMW, you can still take advantage of an interactive Performance Driving School experience.
BMW US Delivery Program
What is the BMW Delivery Program?
The BMW delivery program in the USA allows you to accept delivery of your new BMW for the first time at one of the two Performance Centers, rather than picking it up at your dealership. There was also a BMW European Delivery Program, but sadly it is currently discontinued.
Why Take Delivery of Your Car at a BMW Performance Center?
When you receive the keys to your brand new BMW, it is always very exciting. However, when you see your new car for the first time at the Performance Center, it is an extra special experience.
In addition to having the car presented to you like the VIP you are, you receive additional added *perks, such as driving on a slick track with BMW! In addition, it is great to learn more about your car’s technology and features from a BMW Pro.
*Perks may vary with purchase
What Are the Steps for a Performance Center Delivery?
I had my car delivered from Europe to the Performance Center, but many people purchase their car Stateside and take delivery here as well. There is no additional fee, and lots of fun perks and experiences.
- The first step is to decide that you are going to buy a new BMW, and which one you would like.
- Next, you visit your local dealer and test drive vehicles to be certain you are happy with your selection.
- Next you will place your order, customizing your BMW to your specifications.
- Know that you do not need to use the closest dealer to you. You can shop pricing at various dealers throughout your state to ensure the best price.
- Let your Dealer know that you want to take delivery at a Performance Center.
- Your Dealer will help you track the manufacturing of your new BMW and let you know when you can schedule your Performance Center Delivery Experience.
- Once scheduled, you will need to plan your own travel in order to arrive in your Performance Center destination city.
What Happens Upon Arrival in Your Destination City?
Upon arrival, your VIP Experience begins. BMW transports you and your guest from the local airport to the complimentary hotel that they have pre-arranged. At check-in, you receive vouchers for dinner for two at the hotel restaurant for that evening. The BMW hotel host gives you your room key, itinerary and instructions for breakfast and the morning shuttle. Everything is very easy and organized.
BMW Performance Center Delivery Itinerary
- First up is a brief classroom introduction to BMW, the Driving Instructors, the Agenda, and Safety
- BMW requires drivers to sign basic liability paperwork prior to driving on the slick track with BMW
- Next the BMW Pro assigns a BMW car to utilize on the track, based on your purchase
- If you enrolled without buying a BMW, you are still assigned a car for the day
- You and your guest get in the car and follow the class to the track
- The BMW Pro Driver communicates to you through the speaker in the car
- There are a series of 3 driving challenges including driving on a slick track with BMW
- There is a break for lunch which was provided
- Afternoon SUV Driving on an Off Road Course
- Before departing, there is an interesting BMW factory tour
- Visit the BMW Shop
- Take delivery of your new BMW with presentation by a BMW Rep
- Don’t miss your photo opportunity of your new BMW in front of the Headquarters
*This was my experience at the time of publishing. Itinerary and perks may be subject to change at the discretion of BMW.
My BMW Performance Center Experience
My personal experience of taking delivery of a BMW at the Performance Center was extremely positive. The delivery program allowed the car buyer to bring one (of age) guest. From the moment BMW picked us up at the airport, they treated us as VIPs.
The Hotel and Restaurant
The hotel was clean and nice. It was corporate, nothing super fancy, but as a guest of BMW, they treated us with the utmost courtesy. The hotel was not far from the Performance Center and had a decent restaurant.
BMW provided 2 dinner and 2 breakfast vouchers to be used at the hotel restaurant, as well as the night’s accommodations. At dinner, our waiter gave us a special BMW Guest menu. It offered a selection of 3 entrees including one that was vegetarian. With your meal, you received a beverage, a salad, and a dessert. The service was professional and the food was tasty.
After dinner, there really is nothing to do, but your BMW Driving Experience starts early the next morning. Therefore it is probably best to go to sleep.
After coffee and a lovely buffet breakfast, the BMW shuttle arrives to transport all of the BMW attendees to the Performance Center together. Given the hour, everyone was excited. Participants introduced themselves and chatted on the short drive. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’d seen a video. I was excited to drive on a slick track with BMW for sure!
The BMW Performance Center
Upon arrival at the BMW Performance Center, BMW representatives welcomed us and checked us in. We signed some liability documents and had to show our valid licenses.
We headed to a classroom where we learned about the BMW brand, history and experience. Most importantly, BMW Pros shared safety and rules for the driving courses and tracks. We met all the Racing Professionals and could ask questions. Then we went outside and climbed into our vehicles.
The Performance Driving Experience
Even if you purchased a new BMW, you drive one owned by them for the day. BMW selects a car or SUV for the track driving experience that best matches the one you purchased. Once we were in our designated vehicles and out on the track, we took turns performing three different driving exercises.
The first highlighted the braking system of the BMW and was on a straight track at accelerated speed. Both myself and my guest got to try this.
Drive on a Slick Track with BMW
For the second activity, the BMW Professional Driver got in the passenger seat. Our guests had to wait on the grass and observe. They got their turn next. This was when we got to drive on a slick track with BMW. This exercise showed off BMW’s ability to handle in wet conditions. At first, It was intimidating seeing the car spin out. However, once I got the hang of it, it was so much fun!
Then, there was the racetrack. The idea is to go fast, but anticipate the turns. It helped understand the handling capabilities of BMW. All three experiences taught you to be a better more prepared driver while highlighting the reasons why they call BMW “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
By the time we took our lunch break, everyone was really hungry. It’s intense doing all that driving! The BMW cafe was on premises and lunch was another perk. We selected our food from the cafeteria style stations. The options seemed limitless. There was such a wide variety of food and everything was delicious. Each table had one professional driver to dine with. That was really fun to hear stories and ask questions. I even requested a photo!
The Off Road Course
After lunch was a surprise. We did not realize that there was more driving! This time, we each climbed into a BMW SUV. The off road course was really fun! It had water and moguls and all sorts of challenging obstacles. It really demonstrated the unique abilities of the BMW X series SUV. I went first after the driver. At first, I was hesitant, but now I want to buy one! Great sales tactic @BMW !
The Factory and Shop
After we finished the driving part of the day, we took a factory tour and could visit the shop. The factory was amazing if you have never seen an assembly line in action. The tour was extremely interesting. You cannot take photos on this tour, so it is something you really need to see for yourself. After the tour, our hostess gave us each a souvenir. There was time to browse the shop that had some cool BMW merchandise.
The BMW Delivery
After a long and exciting day, the best was yet to come. A BMW representative led us to my shiny new car. The presentation was in a private room with windows looking outside to the campus. Then the representative programmed the navigational system and gave us an instructional tour of our car. It was great to have someone check all of the functionality before we took off.
If you take delivery of a car at the Spartanburg Plant, you can drive it to the front of the building to take a photo. No other vehicles are permitted there. It is a great photo opportunity with you and your car in front of Headquarters. There is also a beautiful fountain there.
If you have a really long drive ahead of you, you may want to stay an additional night at the hotel, or reserve one for a midway point. We were tired after the early morning and long day at the factory, and happy we had booked a hotel halfway home. Although, I spent a good portion of the night peering out the hotel window to be sure my new car was okay!
It is a long day at the BMW Performance Center, getting in and out of vehicles. The focus is driving, so it is required that you wear shoes like sneakers or boots that are comfortable and safe for this type of experience. Clothing that you can easily move in is best. If you wear glasses or contacts, you will definitely want them.
Additional Ways to Visit the Performance Center and Drive on a Slick Track with BMW
If you decide not to take delivery of your new BMW at a Performance Center, it is my understanding, at the time of writing, that you can still take advantage of the Performance Program.
Also, BMW offers a variety of paid performance driving school options that are more intensive. My driver mentioned that private classes are available as well.
See Also, Jenny In Wanderland article, BMW European Delivery Program