BMW has come up with a novel – and legal – way to drive its new Z4 Roadster while using the iPhone.
No, it’s not some ingenious hands-free device designed by engineering geniuses at the German car-maker.
It’s a free game for the Apple handset created by mobile applications company Artificial Life.
According to BMW, the launch of the lite version of the "BMW Z4 – An Expression of Joy" game offers BMW fans the first opportunity worldwide to virtually customize and test drive the new Z4 Roadster.
While the game will no doubt appeal to fans of the German sportscar, it also demonstrates the potential smartphones offer to inventive marketing departments.
Andreas Schwarzmeier, of BMW Sports Marketing & Cooperations,said the car-maker was always looking for innovative and effective communication channels.
He said the game had been produced to accompany the BMW Z4 marketing campaign.
"For a long time the game market has delivered new products and technologies closer to the consumer," he said.
"Additionally this game perfectly fits with the key intention of our brand ‘Joy’."
Presented in top quality interactive 3D graphics, the lite version is described as "a unique driving game that lets players drive the BMW Z4 while at the same time painting a picture using the car’s tires".
The virtual car configurator enables players to choose between the official BMW Z4 colors and rims to create their own roadster.
The option to drive with an open or closed retractable hardtop gives additional authenticity.
Selections can be made by simply tapping on the various components. Players can virtually rotate the car around in order to view the car from different angles. The customized cars that players create may be saved for use in the driving game.
The game is available for download for the iPhone and iPod touch in Apple’s App Store. A full version is being prepared for release in May.