What better way to celebrate my birthday on a trip to Europe than a visit to the BMW World and BMW Museum in Munich. And because it was my birthday the admission was complimentary. Thank you so much BMW AG!
Sadly the week-long trip exploring automotive museums in Germany was coming to an end but it definitely went out with a bang! I’m a huge fan of BMW. I live just about 15 minutes away from BMW of North America and every now and again I get to spy a camouflaged Bimmer driving around with manufacturer plates. I even applied (unsuccessfully) to work at their HQ when I graduated high school… but then I ended up buying a Mazda Miata and this museum visit had to go to schedule because I was meeting a Munich MX-5 owner right after I was done. Little did I know then the MX-5 owner would be one of the coolest people I have ever met to date. A young fella that actually works at BMW (I guess who doesn’t in Munich, must be like Mercedes dominating employment opportunities in Stuttgart, BMW runs this town too). But more on that later…
I arrived early Saturday morning maybe 20 minutes before the museum was due to open and there was already a line of people outside the locked doors. It is a popular place to visit in Munich. Located north of downtown near Olympiapark the buildings themselves are beautiful. Size-wise it’s smaller than Mercedes-Benz museum but bigger than Porsche, similarly arranged where it’s larger at the top than the bottom. The museum resembles a fish bowl, while BMW HQ next door looks like a rearranged Renaissance Center in Detroit, while the BMW Weld across the street looks very futuristic.
Once inside the museum you could tell a huge emphasis was placed on engines. There were various engines of all vintage all over. Car, bike, airplane engines… considering the company started out making planes. Like SAAB but more propeller like, as is depicted in the roundel logo (which technically also depicts part of the flag of Bavaria). I naturally gravitated towards race cars. BMW had a winning history with Formula 1 and you walk into a room with two cars celebrating that right after you clear a corridor full of Mini Coopers. Interesting that BMW is more attached to the Mini brand than say Rolls Royce which it also owns. I don’t think there weren’t any 7-series Roll’s in the building. The one room I waned to see the most I nearly missed altogether. And that’s the room housing the 4 race cars some bearing the M-performance badge. Somehow I walked right past it, luckily after reaching the anti-climactic top floor with all the electric stuff and many variations of the i3 and i8, I worked my way back down to the Racing room.
This museum was a fantastic experience. I enjoyed it very much. As with the others there was a large cafe on site and a big store selling everything from books to toys to car accessories. Across the road at BMW Weld there were more variety of cafe’s, shops, and obviously a dealership and a delivery center where people choose to pick up their cars. Whether locals or those participating in the European delivery program purchasing their cars from abroad, like say USA.
I would highly recommend a visit to the BMW museum and BMW World when in Munich.
Leaving the museum and before crossing over the bridge to BMW Weld an older 3-series parked outside caught my eye. It was covered in flags of South Africa apparently haven’t driven here all the way from Cape Town. If I ever needed a sign that I should follow through with my plan to volunteer in South Africa for the Kyalami 9 hour two months later, this was it! I had received an e-mail about participating on my train ride from France to Germany and had already started researching all the logistics like flights and hotels. Before one international trip was even over the planning for the next one was in full swing.
I didn’t spend much time exploring BMW Weld because my new Mazda MX-5 friends had showed up… one a BMW Motorcycle project manager and another former fighter jet pilot. I was not worthy… but we did enjoy a nice refreshing drink before heading out to explore the city in a Martini livery Miatini. Stay tuned in the next post for more.