If you’re a diehard motorhead and haven’t been to the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany yet, then put it at the top of your bucket list.
Constructed in 1973, the BMW Museum is an automobile museum filled to the kidney grilles with BMW history located within walking distance of the BMW Munich plant, BMW Welt (more on that later), and corporate headquarters.
Within the space-age steel building is a sprawling 5,000 square meter wonderland packed with 120 permanent exhibits and several “traveling” exhibits. You can technically breeze through the entire museum in about two hours, but we recommend that you devote at least four hours to really get the most out of your experience.
If you opt for a guided tour, your helpful guide should hit all the noteworthy exhibits. If you’d rather see the sights sans a tour guide, then here are just a few BMW Museum exhibits that you shouldn’t miss out on:
Long before BMW started building endless variations of the same basic luxury crossover, the brand produced some of the greatest two-seat roadsters this side of MG. The BMW Roadster exhibits are housed in the central location of the lower building. Once inside, you’ll be astounded at how many mint BMW roadsters are crammed into such a modest space—from the quirky Z1 to the ultra-desirable Z8 roadster. You may even have a chance to drool over an immaculately-restored BMW 507 roadster formerly owned by none other than Elvis Presley!
BMW i — Visionary Mobility
Housed in the Bowl section of the BMW Museum, the BMW i exhibit features roughly 30 themed stations highlighting electric mobility, sustainable materials and production, battery technology, and other related subjects. Admire a cutaway display of an i3 concept car, gawk at an impressive renewable raw materials exhibit, or interact with kiosks featuring enlightening media showcasing BMW’s commitment to renewable energy. But you better hurry—this endlessly fascinating exhibit will only be open until July 2020.
Driving to Freedom in a BMW Isetta
This enthralling exhibit depicts the harrowing story of how a brave East German man smuggled his best friend inside a BMW Isetta—and later eight people—into West Germany in 1964. The short film “The Small Escape” tells visitors the gripping story of this great escape. You can admire the original Isetta coupe from the film set, and even cram yourself into an accurate replica of the hiding spot behind the bench of the Isetta to experience what conditions the stowaways endured for a taste of freedom.
It wouldn’t be a museum dedicated to The Ultimate Driving Machine without an exhibit showcasing the brand’s fabled lineage of sophisticated high-performance engines. The “Motoren” (that’s German for ‘motors’) exhibit has an impressive assortment of BMW motors on display, including a few aircraft engines. This adrenaline-pumping exhibit is sure to get you all revved-up!
Debuted in October 2017, the BMW Welt exhibition center combines a museum, event venue, and delivery center into one fantastic car enthusiast playground. Highlights include M Town (where new and exciting BMW M cars are proudly showcased), a comprehensive BMW motorcycle exhibit, and a dedicated space for MINI vehicles, BMW’s storied sub-brand. Pro tip: Grab a fresh-made apple strudel from Cooper’s, the ground-floor bistro, and enjoy a popular German dessert while wandering through the entire exhibition space.
Check out the BMW Museum official website to start planning your ultimate car lover’s vacation today.