Road Trip

Here's how to research the perfect road trip

Make sure you pick the right vehicle. The one shown here is the one millionth Porsche 911 that was produced.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The United States is opening back up for businesses. You might not want to hop on a plane anytime soon, but you can't kick the feeling that you want to get away. Enter: the road trip.

In a recent interview with Porsche, Stefan Bogner, creative director, Curves magazine, divulged his tips for preparing the perfect road trip as part of the #GetCreativeWithPorsche series. Here are some of Bogner's top tips, paired with insight from the AutomotiveMap team.

Take your time.

It's never too early to start planning, even if you're just looking.

"The most important thing is to take your time," said Bogner. "If you were planning a month-long holiday, you'd take a long time getting it all just right. It's the same with a road trip: preparation is key."

Use a variety of sources to gather information.

Porsche maps display office research

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Don't just rely on sites like TripAdvisor. Hotels.com, or Yelp to shape your itinerary. Use them as a starting point. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Read blogs, check out the visitors and convention bureau website, and browse local publications for insights on local flavor.

Brush up on how to read a map.

"I am old-school and I love to study paper maps and guide books," shared Bogner. "Get to grips with reading a map and you'll get a better sense of place and perspective."

If you're someone who gets lost even when looking at the "downtown area" handout hotels give out, perhaps it's time to invest a few hours in honing your skills.

Don't forget to check the weather.

Check out predicted weather when you begin planning and keep an eye on it in the weeks and days leading up to the trip. If you've had a particularly wet spell, some roads may not be passable, nature preserves may be closed, and low-lying areas may be impassible. Consider getting a professional-grade weather app for your phone.

If your road trip includes going off-road (or even on the road less traveled), learn to read basic topographic maps.

Porsche maps

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Bogner explains: "Look for the green roads, as these are the scenic ones, and pay attention to the contour lines to get an idea of the topography. When you really study a physical map, the brain starts to absorb the information and when you come to drive a route, you'll know much better where you are."

Timing is everything.

"My one timing rule is to avoid school holidays," said Bogner in the interview. "I never go anywhere in July and August. Don't be afraid to ask the locals the best time of year to visit their area, as no one will know the answer better than them. I was once planning a trip to Scotland and thought the summer would be the perfect time to go but a friend advised me to wait until October. I had the most amazing two weeks of sunshine with no rain. In Scotland!"

Time of day is important too. Try for a mid-week visit to a popular museum, late afternoon visit to a park, a morning walk along the waterway to watch the sunrise. Don't be afraid to contact an attraction and ask when their least busy times are and find out when school groups tend to arrive.

Plan for hours and miles.

Bogner says it best, "Have a rough idea of how far you want to drive each day but make sure you give yourself time to enjoy the trip, rather than running a tight schedule and insisting on being in a certain place by a precise time. Savour the scenery and enjoy the driving. If you take your time and you're open to conversations when you fill up with fuel you'll meet interesting people along the way."

Use social media to find out what to expect.

Want to visit a museum or park? Don't just look at the sanitized version that their PR team puts out on social media. Many social media platforms allow users to tag themselves as being at a location. Click on those tags and find out more about what you can expect.

See if a driving tour is offered.

Porsche 911 Maria, Texas

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Many localities offer a driving tour of their local attractions, countryside, etc. Want to discover local agriculture? Plan a wine tasting spree? See a series of historical sites? Just want to go for a drive? There is probably a map for that. Local motorcycle enthusiasts often chart their drives on MotorcycleRoads.com, which can be used as a resource as well.

Ask for recommendations once you arrive.

​"Local contacts can also suggest their favorite museums (I have discovered some amazing private air museums in America this way) and restaurants," Bogner said. "I am a real foodie so I enjoy researching amazing places to eat."

Be sure to ask locals for restaurant recommendations, and not just he concierge staff at the hotel. When you ask, find out what dishes they recommend. If you do stay in a hotel with a concierge, ask them if there anything you need to know when making a reservation. Sometimes, they have line-skipping tricks up their sleeve.

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The 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe will begin production this summer.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The redesigned BMW 2 Series Coupe has reached the final stage of its development. It currently is undergoing dynamic testing on the road and track, as well as drivetrain and suspension tuning. BMW recently released photos of that testing giving us a sneak peek at the model.

When it comes to market, the 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe will be a rear-wheel drive, two-door compact sports car. It will be powered by a six-cylinder engine and have near 50:50 weight distribution, according to specs released by the company. BMW promises that the car's body will be torsionally stiff and its chassis will be tuned for agility. All-wheel drive will be available.

The car's been put through its paces at the famed Nurburgring's Nordschleife, where its suspension, chassis, steering, and braking systems were put to the test. They've also been run through a series of tests on roads in and around Munich, Germany and the BMW Group test facility in Maisach, Germany.

2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe

Photo courtesy of BMW

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BMW has plans to launch the 2022 BMW 230i and M240i xDrive Coupes first. This will be followed by the 230i xDrive and M240i Coupes. The M240i xDrive is getting a 47-horsepower increase over the current edition bringing its total output to 382 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine. The model gets a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. All xDrive models get a fully-variable, electrically controlled M sports rear differential.

The car's front lip splitter, air curtains, air deflectors, and under-floor covers for the fuel tank and differential reduce front end lift by 50 percent compared to the car's predecessor. Its shock absorbers have been tuned to respond more accurately and now the Adaptive M suspension includes electronically controlled shock absorbers and a choice of settings for the driver to choose from. Stiffer support bearings up front improve steering wheel and the available Variable Sports Steering improves the car's dynamic capabilities.

Production of the new 2 Series will begin this summer.

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Prototype testing of the new Macan model is underway.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

It's passed proving grounds tests and now the all-electric version of the Porsche Macan is hitting the road for additional testing. The highly-camouflaged next-generation prototypes of the compact SUV left the Porsche Development Center in Weissach, Germany for the first time this week.

"Testing in a real-life environment is now getting underway – one of the most important milestones in the development process," said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.

By the time the Macan EV is fully revealed in 2023, it will have garnered 1.8 million test miles worldwide in a variety of terrains and temperatures. Testing will even be done in virtual space, which is designed to save time and money. General Motor is using similar technology. These digital tests are able to analyze properties, systems, and powertrains of a vehicle.

Porsche Macan EV An electric version of the Porsche Macan leaves the company's testing grounds in Germany.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has created 20 digital prototypes for the purpose of simulation in a number of development categories, such as aerodynamics, energy management and acoustics. "We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible," said Dr Andreas Huber, Manager for digital prototypes at Porsche.

The first teams to work with the digital prototypes are aerodynamics specialists. "We started with a flow-around model when the project first started about four years ago," said Dr Thomas Wiegand, Director of aerodynamics development. The goal is a low coefficient of drag that blends that goal with the hallmark looks of the Macan SUV. Currently, engineers are using simulations to fine-tune details such as the cooling air ducts.

Simulations are also able to predict how the vehicle interacts with the driver in real life. "Simulation allows us to assess displays, operating procedures and the changing influences during a journey from the driver's point of view," explains Fabian Klausmann of the Driver Experience development department. This allows research and development team members to see how a driver would interact with the vehicle before any physical cockpit is built.

Porsche is designing the new fully-electric Macan to be the highest performer in its subcompact SUV segment. It will be the first Porsche built on the company's Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture.

The boutique performance arm of Volkswagen Group will sell the Macan EV side-by-side with internal combustion engine models of the car. "Demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world. That's why we're going to launch another conventionally powered evolution of the current Macan in the course of 2021," said Steiner.

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