A visit to BMW Welt, BMW plant and BMW Museum in Munich
Founded in 1916, BMW is the world’s largest luxury car maker today. Last week, we were invited by BMW India for a visit to their home in Munich, where lies their headquarters (the famous Four Cylinder building), first production plant, BMW museum and BMW Welt (or BMW World). Called as the BMW Welt Experience, which includes a guided tour to the BMW plant, BMW Museum and the BMW Welt, which attracts over 20 lakh annual visitors, here are some interesting facts and images from our visit.
BMW Plant Munich: Speaking about the BMW Plant, which is the oldest of all the four structures, it has been located in Munich’s Milbertshofen district since 1922. Diagonally opposite to the historic Olympic Park, BMW Plant initially produced only aircraft engines, which is what symbolizes its logo. BMW logo indicates the aircraft propeller in the two Bavarian colors of White and Blue. The White Blades in the logo can be imagined as cutting through the Blue sky.
Soon BMW started manufacturing motorcycles at their plant, and by 1938 they had rolled off their 100,000th motorcycle. Car production began in 1951. The first mass production BMW car to be produced here at the Munich plant was the Isetta or famously known as the bubble car due to its egg shaped design.
A few years later, BMW introduced the 1500 (or The New Class) compact sedan in 1962. This car was such a success that it helped BMW to get out of a difficult financial period. If it was not for this car, BMW would have been part of Mercedes Benz today.
The Munich plant of BMW has been home to their best selling car till date, the 3 Series, which first entered into production in 1975. All six generations of the 3 Series have been manufactured at this plant.
BMW Plant Munich is spread over an area of 500,000 square meters. Using 600 tonnes of steel everyday, the plant manufactures more than 1000 cars and 1000 engines everyday. BMW Plant Munich employs over 9,000 people today.
Guided tours are offered between 8.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., Monday to Friday, for visitors over the age of seven. Guests can opt to take a private tour or join a group tour. Maximum group size is 30 people. Tours should be booked in advance by calling the BMW Welt Info Service on +49 (0)180 2118 822.
The tour through the BMW plant offers exciting, up-close insights into each individual stage of automobile production that a BMW passes through on its way to completion. Starting from the press shop, you will be able to see how a car is made, almost automatically with the help from super-intelligent robots which achieve an accuracy of one-tenth of a millimetre.
BMW Welt: Also known as BMW World, this is one place in the world where you can find every BMW Group model of the present day. Be it Rolls Royce Wraith, New MINI, new i3, i8, new X5, K1600 tourer, etc you can find it all here. In the words of BMW – “The BMW Welt is the only place where visitors can experience the past, present and future of the company, its brands and products in such a concentrated form.”
One of the main tourist attractions in Munich, BMW Welt attracts over 2 million visitors every year. Apart from displaying their range of cars, BMW Group also delivers vehicles to their owners at the BMW Welt. People from all over the world (including India) come to BMW Welt to collect their BMW’s. Up to 160 vehicles are delivered everyday at BMW Welt.
The BMW Welt offers guided tours with different focal points, such as architecture and design. More than 215,000 individuals have participated in more than 24,000 tours in recent years. The BMW Welt is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. There is no charge for admission.
The BMW Welt organises and hosts more than 50 different events a year and is also a popular venue for up to 400 external events with around 40,000 guests a year, such as congresses, conferences and award ceremonies.
The BMW Welt is partnering with distinguished Munich caterer Käfer Fine Foods to run the exclusive Gourmet Restaurant EssZimmer with top chef Bobby Bräuer; the CooperS on the ground floor of the building; the Bavarie Restaurant and the Biker’s Lodge on the middle floor; and provide catering for the large number of events held at the BMW Welt facilities.
The hybrid building, which opened on 17 October 2007, was designed by the internationally renowned architects, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, under the direction of Wolf D. Prix. The studio is associated with the deconstructivist movement. Other well-known proponents of this style include famous architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the main building for the BMW plant in Leipzig, as well as Rem Kolhaas and Daniel Libeskind.
4,000 tonnes of steel were used in the construction of the BMW Welt building – around a quarter in the Double Cone alone. The roof of the BMW Welt rests on just 11 supports, which creates the impression of it floating in space. The roof is fitted with 3,600 solar cells, covering a total area of 6,300 square metres. The roof is so large that it could easily cover Saint Mark’s Square in Venice.
BMW Museum: Opened in 1973, next to the famous Four Cylinder headquarters of BMW Group, BMW Museum showcases historic automobiles, motorcycles, racing cars and aircraft engines and provided a glimpse of the technologies of the future.
The BMW Museum is one of the oldest automobile museums in Germany. It features over 120 original exhibits from the brand’s more than 90-year history, arranged into 25 focus topics in separate exhibition areas. Aircraft engines, motorcycles and automobiles illustrate the topics of design, technology and motor sport.
The BMW Museum receives up to 500,000 visitors a year – making it one of the most popular museums in all of Munich. It was designated a national monument in 1999, together with the Group headquarters, which Munich residents refer to as the “Four-Cylinder” on account of its distinctive style. Both buildings were designed by the Viennese architect, professor Karl Schwanzer.
When it reopened in 2008, the Museum was expanded to 5,000 square metres. The new concept also bears the architectural signature of ATELIER BRÜCKNER, based in Stuttgart. The media installations inside the building are the creation of ART+COM, Berlin.
The BMW Museum is located in the circular building known in Munich as the “Bowl”, because of its unique circular design – home to the Museum’s temporary exhibitions – and in the adjacent “low building”, which houses the Museum’s permanent exhibition and tour through various BMW topics, such as design, engines, motor sport and aerodynamics.
BMW Museum is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, and on public holidays, from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. It is closed on Mondays, except for holidays. Admission to all exhibitions costs EUR 9.00 for adults; discounts are available through partner programmes. Single admission with a guided tour costs EUR 12.00; a family ticket costs EUR 24.00. For further information – on group tickets, for example – please refer to www.bmw-museum.com.