Visiting the BMW Welt in 2022 is still a great experience, with loads of newer models from the Bavarian carmaker, amazing architecture, and a great way to spend some time with your family
Since I’m an owner of a boutique web development and marketing agency, regular trips to Munich for market research and meetings are a usual occurrence for me. As an avid automotive geek and a big fan of BMW, for me, visiting BMW Welt is one of the top after-work part times in the beautiful capital of Bavaria. That and the number of biergartens, but that’s a whole other story. Although, since COVID-19 struck in early 2020, I wasn’t able to visit Munich for the past two and a half years. In turn, when one of my clients had a task for us over there, I happily arranged my travels, allowing me to visit BMW Welt once again.
The biggest question I was faced with was how will it be after so much time. Will it be crowded? Will it have an abundance of cars? Will some of the newer BMW models I’m gonna see in-person appeal to me? The ones that I’ve, alongside many other pundits out there, learned to hate? Is coffee at their cafe still as good as it was before? So many questions, so much to do in just a short two-day trip.
The architecture of BMW Welt never stops amazing
Even though several years have passed since my last visit to the BMW Welt, the architectural side of this place still leaves a remarkable impression on its visitors. It’s one of the best architectural pieces of modern times. It’s a statement on the importance of BMW for the country of Germany, the state of Bavaria, the city of Munich, and finally, the automotive world. It’s a great home for BMW and a remarkable showpiece of the company, ensuring it leaves a longstanding mark on everyone that visits it. Furthermore, this is one of the best designed showrooms we’ve visited thus far, alongside the ones from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart.
“The building does not have the boredom of an exhibition hall, it is not only a temple but also a market place and communication center, and a meeting point for knowledge transfer”, said architect Wolf D. Prix at the opening ceremony.
The whole complex is a connected piece of architecture, joining the BMW Welt with the BMW Museum (to which, sadly, I’ve never been) and the BMW HQ, connected with both with a pedestrian bridge, spanning six lanes of traffic below.
Getting there is the easy part, both by car and by public transport in Munich
Going to the BMW Welt is a simple process. If you are traveling by car, there’s a (rather big) parking garage underneath, which ensures you’ll be in the nick of things after a few moments in an elevator up to the ground floor. The facility is served by several city highways and is easily accessible from the surrounding cities and the airport. If you are in the city, you’ll use the inner-city highway, called the Mittlerer Ring, which is a circular road running for 28 kilometers (17 miles) within the city, the most traffic-prone roadway in Germany. However, if you are coming from the surrounding area or coming in through the airport (and don’t want to use public transport), then you’ll take the A99 autobahn, Munich’s outer ring road which will take you near the Allianz Arena (home of Bayern Munich, one of the most successful football clubs in Europe) directly to the BMW Welt.
If you are, however, coming by public transport, that’s even better. The U-Bahn (German for underground) line U3 will take you from Marienplatz (the Munich central square) in just short 8 stops, a travel time of around 12 minutes. After that, it’s a short walk (maybe 5min) to one of the entrances at BMW Welt, a simple, easy, and enjoyable experience, especially if you catch one of MVG’s (Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft) older underground trains. So train nerds will be happy too. If you are flying in, you’ll use the S8 from Flughafen München to Marienplatz, then the aforementioned U-Banh to the BMW Welt.
Overall, it’s quite easy to use, efficient, and doesn’t cost much (around 8EUR/8.50USD) for a whole day ticket.
The cars never disappoint. Neither does the coffee
Overall, you are pretty sure that amazing cars in top trim levels with an abundance of premium paint finishes can be seen. Usually, BMW Welt has the ///M Performance cars on the left (when coming from the underground elevators), Rolls Royce in the middle (right across the cafe), MINI opposed to it, and now, the electric cars on the middle-right, with the luxury coupes and gran coupes all the way to the exit on the right. The same was seen this time as well.
Right in the middle is a small cafe where you can get a pretty tasty cup of coffee and something to eat. While it may be a bit on the expensive side (2.50EUR), having a cup of coffee on an early Saturday morning in the BMW Welt is a must. Apart from the gorgeous Croatian Adriatic coast or the Alpine views nearby, this might be one of the best views for your morning dose of caffeine you can think of.
Overall, the showroom floor seemed like it was ahead of a change, and the cars showcased (besides the BMW iX) was looking old a bit. There is a Frozen Blue BMW X3 M, and a Frozen White BMW M4 CSL, followed by a BMW M4 GTS race car and finally, a rather cool-looking (by my wife) BMW M4, sporting a Mint Green BMW Individual paint finish.
In the middle, a Rolls Royce Ghost and Cullinan are the two I don’t have the money for exhibits, which usually attract much less attention than the other cars, mostly drawing out curious Asian visitors to them. Sure, it’s impressive to see these bespoke luxury vehicles in person, but overall, they are not that attractive to the casual BMW fan.
In front of the Rolls Royce exhibit are two cars: a BMW Series Gran Coupe and a lovely purple BMW M240i xDrive. Both seem out of place and somewhat bunched together, but we’ve seen the BMW Welt do these kinds of things often, but it seems kind of incoherent. I’d rather see a BMW X5 or BMW X7 over there, as they would tie into the luxury high-end of the market a lot better.
The MINI collection is simple, elegant, and hip. As usual. The current showroom floor has a couple of art exhibits (which were really interesting for my kid to climb on, the warnings to keep off aside) and the brand is slowly becoming one of my favorites, both for historical and modern reasons. Overall, MINI is a great brand, showing impressively cool cars that are attractive to a wide variety of customers both young and old.
The electrified section of the exhibit is a bit weird. The BMW iX (which doesn’t appeal to me in any way) is mixed in with the BMW i4 and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, joined by the concept EVs that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger drove them in Total Recall. And not in a good way.
The final section (looking from our exit out of the elevators) is probably the most interesting one. It’s packed with the luxury examples, the BMW 8 Series Coupe, Gran Coupe, and Convertible, the M8 can also be seen, which ties in the whole thing nicely.
What we didn’t like, what we expected and how it all ties into as far as a family visit goes
There is one thing that stuck with me while at the BMW Welt this time. While it not may be as important to everyone else, it is to me. After all, BMW is a premium brand and this is something they need to address. The cars were pretty much dirty, fingerprints all over, dust on the roof and it didn’t seem pleasing with all the COVID-19 stuff still sticking with us. That is something the management needs to address, as it brings the gorgeous paint jobs to a whole new level when clean.
One of the other caveats of this trip was the fact that all the cars were locked. Literally, all! Not even the MINI models showcased were unlocked and available. Sure, I’d love to see the cars unlocked and have a chance to sit in them, but that might be a post-pandemic precaution (even though most were locked back in 2019 as well). Something should be done, even if it means having masks mandatory for the visits or while sitting in the cars, but people need to get a better impression of the cars behind the wheel. Especially for the new, electrified models, which even us, avid automotive fans, have no clue about the interior sitting position, feel, or overall comfortability as well.
Regarding the BMW Welt as a place to go with your family, go for it! If you are faced with a rainy day in Munich, on a weekend, when the shops and shopping malls are closed. My kid loved it! She sat on all the BMW bikes, ran around, and pretty much left fingerprints on every car there. One of the great things is that the BMW Welt has several dedicated parking spaces for families, so getting your kid in and out of the child seat or taking the stroller out of the car is a lot easier. Overall, I would greatly recommend this for families as there’s an abundance of playing space and lots of shiny colorful things to touch.
Just make sure your kid doesn’t try to pull the side blinkers of the BMW Isetta as mine did. Everything else is fine.
BMW Welt Photo: ©photootohp/123RF.COM