While your weekdays may be filled with traffic-heavy commutes and errands, the weekends are made for driving. We enthusiasts all have our favorite backroads, and now Porsche is helping owners of all vehicles find the best driving roads near them, thanks to its Roads app, now available in the iTunes App Store. Sorry, Android users, the app is currently available just for iOS users.
Opening the app, you'll find a series of gorgeous photographs. France. Austria. Japan. Click on each to read about the area and discover the accompanying road. Heck, there is even a story about uber-Porsche collector Magnus Walker, featuring the lovely (but hardly original) California Highway 1, specifically the portion between San Francisco to Big Sur.
The "top roads in your area" section is curated with beautiful photos and a description of the routes near you. Available data includes the length of the road, estimated driving time, best season to drive in and whether it's a scenic stroll or something more action packed. However, take "your area" with a grain of salt. Looking at the app while stationed in California's Bay Area, I'm given options of St. George, Utah, Glacier National Park in Montana, the aforementioned Highway 1 or the infamous Angeles Crest Highway outside Los Angeles.
Tapping "see all," I'm met with a page that, while including some exotic, foreign routes -- Jaufen Pass anyone? It's only some 5,928 miles away in Italy -- finally shows me the roads in my actual area. Most of them I already know, but a few are new to me. I select Morgan Territory Road, a 13.9-mile stretch that starts only 4 miles away from my current location that's described as a "little wider than a single lane, but with two-way traffic." Selecting this road, the app figures out my current location, and the Mapbox-fueled navigation guides me to the start of the route.
Morgan Territory Road is super scenic, and might be a fast route if I could be 100 percent sure no vehicles would be heading toward me around the next bend. The app allows drivers to comment on the different routes, so I left a quick review, noting that it's best to slow your roll on this particular stretch of road. Of course, be aware: You can't edit a comment once it's posted, so double-check your grammar and spelling before submitting. Just… trust me on that one.
There are a few larger glitches, in which the app really shows its newbie state. The routes are all rated in a section called "verified drives." For now, each road starts with a neutral rating of 5, but ratings should get more accurate and plentiful as more folks use the app. However, none of the roads are currently verified and I couldn't see a way to verify one.
The navigation system itself is buggy, too. Clicking on the San Francisco to Big Sur route, the app tells me the road is too far away, and to get closer to the road. But in reality, I'm less than 2 miles from the suggested start of the route. However, the good folks at Mapbox have told us, "There is an update being applied right now to the connection from the drive description to the navigation that should eliminate this issue."
Should you find a great road not yet stored in the Roads app, you can record the data yourself. Press and hold the record button for three seconds, which starts the app recording, put your phone down, drive, and press/hold record again to stop. The app automatically adds your drive time and distance, though you can also add a description and photos. Once you submit a drive, it's reviewed by the folks at Porsche and is said to be published within 24 hours.
Assuming the app's bugs are worked out in the near future, Roads by Porsche seems like an easy way to discover great driving routes near you.