While Germany is known for amazing sausage and beer, this country has so much more to offer those looking to explore. It is a country filled with wonderful people, castles on cliffs, and highways without speed limits! What better way to explore such a great country than by car? We were fortunate to pick up our new BMW right from the factory! For all the car enthusiasts out there, this is called “European Delivery” and you literally pick up your vehicle at BMW headquarters known as “BMW Welt” (German for BMW World). After delivery you get to drive your new car around Europe before they ship it back home for you! This is the first of many posts about our Grand Tour of Europe in our new BMW M2.
We left Boston late Friday night and arrived in Munich on Saturday. With delivery early in the week, this meant we had several days to explore the lovely historical Bavarian city before we would be begin our epic road adventure.
Munich is such a walkable city, therefore we didn’t set a schedule but rather wanted to explore the streets with the locals. However, there was one must on our list, Hofbräuhaus, the famous beer hall! While it does appear in many guide books, the atmosphere is something to be experienced and you will still find many locals there… and we did! By the time we strolled in around 6pm that evening, the place was packed. As a traditional beer hall, there are no individual seats, everyone sits at long wooden tables together.
Almost immediately we struck up a conversation with our neighbors, several locals willing to give us the inside track to the city. A few hours (and a couple liters of beer) later, we were well acquainted with Munich.
Where to Stay
Wanting to stay in the center of the city, we chose Le Meridien – a chic Starwood option located a few minutes walk from the shops, museums, and theaters. With comfortable, well-equipped rooms and a fabulous breakfast buffet, it is the perfect choice for the traveler looking for comfort and convenience to all the major Munich sights.
The next morning when we woke up to our first German breakfast, we were delighted by all the different sausage options! There is certainly no chance of going hungry here!
With spacious rooms, a delectable breakfast and stylish decor, the Le Meridien is the perfect choice for a Munich getaway.
What to Do
As I said, you can walk to all the major sights in Munich if you stay near the center of town. The attraction that you just can’t miss is the Marienplatz. This main square holds the city’s 2 town halls, many shops, restaurants and the world famous Glockenspiel. During certain times of day, the Glockenspiel will play its tune to entertain everyone in the square. During the spring and summer the times are 11am, 12pm and 5pm.
And for a little culture, visit the Munich Residenz, the historical seat of power for the Bavarian kings and dukes. In fact, there is a wonderful complimentary audio guide that walks you through the entire palace. And even though several rooms were destroyed during WWII, they were beautifully rebuilt.
Last, because we were picking up a new ultimate driving machine, we had to visit the BMW Museum. The museum showcases the Company’s history, complete with what had to be hundreds of cars.
Oh and it goes without saying that any trip to Munich should include a few beer halls and beer gardens! Bratwurst and Spaetzle at Nuernberger Bratwurst Gloeckl am Dom were a seriously good call.
BMW Welt – Vehicle Delivery
Delivery day finally arrived, and it was time for us to pick up our new wheels. But first, some quick context on the M2. The newest member of the BMW M performance lineup, the M2 is a 365 horsepower car that can go from 0-60 in about 4 seconds. Still offered in a manual transmission, the car has had a waitlist since April 2016 when it first came to the States. European Delivery has always been our dream and now it was finally becoming a reality! We arrived at BMW Welt bright and early. Welt is an amazing place with plenty to do even without picking up a new car!
After checking in and signing the necessary paperwork, you are brought into the chic Owners Lounge on the 3rd floor of the building, which overlooks everything below. From the balcony, you can watch cars emerge from glass elevators and drive into positon below, hopefully spotting your own car!
Finally, it was our turn! After a quick virtual reveal of the car and all its features, it was time to walk down the magic stairs.
At the bottom was our M2! It was definitely worth the wait!
Now it was time to take it for a spin! Nothing like starting it up and driving it right out of the factory!
Driving in Europe
We’ve driven in Europe many times before, so we were aware of the differences between traffic laws (no right turn on red!) and general etiquette (no hogging the left lane). However, this would be our first time on the Autobahn. The Autobahn comes with very distinct differences from its European neighbors. Portions of it are unlimited, meaning there are no speed limits and people really do take advantage of that! While everyone may be going quite a bit faster, they pay very strict attention to the rules of the road, resulting in an extremely safe and pleasant experience. And to be honest, quite a bit more enjoyable than highway driving in the US – well behaved drivers, nice cars and maintained roads. How much better can it get? I can see why car enthusiasts love the European Delivery program. If you are going to buy a high performance car, you need to experience it in the environment for which it was designed!
I will go into the details of the entire trip in subsequent posts, but here is our route! For now, we are off to our next destination. Auf Wiedersehen!