Friday, September 5, 2014

Destinations: BMW Performance Center, Greenville, S.C.

Here's a little fun fact for you: Any BMW X4, X5 or X6 that you see in the world was manufactured about 30 minutes from Greenville, S.C. in Spartanburg. A little unexpected, right? Turns out, BMW has a large factory in the area. We did a guided tour at the Zentrum Museum during our visit and I have to say it was one of the most surprising parts of our trip.

After all, I'm not exactly into cars; but what I am into is nerdy science stuff and a tour of the BMW facility is nerdy science stuff in its most impressive, coolest form. Tours are $10 for adults and $3.50 for students, and they take you through the production line. It's a total Monsters, Inc. experience - car doors are zooming overhead, line workers are floating in these cool-looking chairs from one car to the next to install their parts, and something called a "smart cart" (reminded me of WALL-E!) is zooming from station to station to deliver tools.

Photos are understandably restricted during the factory tour, so I unfortunately don't have any visuals of the place. But it's a highly organized, super clean and really efficient operation. Definitely something I would recommend seeing, whether you're into cars or just like geeking out over robots and gadgets. You get to see a BMW being made from start to finish!

I also loved the Zentrum showroom where you can see old BMW models. I'd happily drive one of the Isetta BMWs, pictured at the top, which are from 1955 and so. cute. Parking would be a cinch here in the city!

Afterward we went around to the BMW Performance Driving School and did a round of hot laps on the track. I sat passenger-side as a pro driver took us up to 120 mph in an M5! The ride was over in a matter of moments and I wanted to go again and again, it was so fun. Besides hot laps, BMW offers hands-on driving schools, which is what you see in this video.

So unexpected. So worth the trip!

PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic
MORE INFO: Yeah, That Greenville

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