Located directly next to the subway and the 1972 Olympic village, the BMW complex is an easy day trip from the center of Munich, and get ready to spend a whole day there. When you exit the train the first building you are greeted with is the BMW Welt (German for BMW World), which is the ultimate BMW sales floor as well as a stunning architectural achievement, complete with an 800 KWatt solar plant on its roof. The Welt serves as an automobile delivery center as well as an automotive exhibition and event hall. The exterior is enough to amaze visitors, while the interior is more like a touch museum for adults. The complete BMW line is on display, including Nick Heidfeld’s 2007 F1 car (they won’t let you take it for a test drive though, I asked). The Welt also has numerous exhibits that allow visitors to feel, see, hear and interactively experience BMW technology and design. The building also is complete with two specialty shops for BMW fan wear, collectibles and everything F1 team related (Go Kubica!), as well as two restaurants to nourish hungry shoppers.
More after the jump.
While the Welt is free to enter the more interesting BMW home plant and BMW Museum are located directly across the street, as is the BMW company headquarters. At the Welt you can purchase tickets to be taken on a two and a half hour guided tour of the plant, which is well worth the time. Unfortunately they have a strict rule against photos of the plant (you may be working for Mercedes ). The Munich plant assembles roughly 200,000 3-series cars a year, as well as the engines for all other production vehicles, around 300,000 engines. As a guest you follow the complete assembly process from the panel stamping to the point where finished cars are driven onto the roller test bench where they are thoroughly checked for any problems before customer delivery.
Directly next to the plant is the exceptional BMW museum. Once again it is another magnificent architectural design (I was traveling with a non auto-enthusiast so I was forced to notice the design of the building). As far as the cars go, they have a wonderful collection documenting BMW’s illustrious history. The museum is divided into seven exhibition houses: Design, Company, Motorcycles, Technology, Motor sports, Brand and the Series. Displayed is everything from concept cars (including the amazing Gina light, better known as the car made of fabric) to race cars (including my personal favorite, the 1975 3.0 CSL, beautiful flares) to a collection of motorcycles.