A Trip to the Welt for a BMW European Delivery
Readers of ThruMyLens know that I’m a BMW fan and owner and have been for several years. For many US based BMW enthusiasts, the opportunity to visit Munich, Germany (where BMW is headquartered) and experience a “European Delivery” of a BMW is a an experience coveted only second to owning the cars themselves. In 2007, I first experienced a BMW European Delivery when a friend took delivery of a two-door 335i. That same friend recently ordered one of the recently released BMW 435i M Sports for European Delivery and invited me along (maybe I invited myself…).
I caught a flight from Dayton to Atlanta, then a late afternoon flight to Munich which arrived at 7:50am Munich time:
Once we made it to Munich (about 8:00 am the following day), myself and my buddy (also named John) were picked up by “Rolf.” Rolf works closely with BMW and is well known among BMW enthusiast discussion forum members (Bimmerfest, Bimmerpost, etc.). This is John’s 3rd BMW European Delivery, and each one has always started with Rolf picking him up at the airport.
We arrived to the BMW Welt by roughly 9:30am – the Welt has been open six years, but this was my first time seeing it – a fantastic example of modern architecture:
We came back in the evening (something I recommend everyone who visits the Welt does) and got to see the spectacular lighting during the evening. The color of the lights shifts from a white light, to a yellow light, and then blue – the blue was my favorite:
After arriving we checked in at the front desk located just off the entrance:
It was a long flight, and though we got a modest in-flight breakfast snack, both myself and my buddy John were hungry – after we checked in we headed straight to the upstairs cafeteria and lounge:
There was a modest selection of mostly unremarkable European breakfast selections. However, much to my delight, the Welt cafeteria was serving one of my favorite food selections which is unique to the Bavarian region in Germany – Weisswurst (it’s the white sausage pictured below on the left) with sweet Bavarian mustard.
After we ate and freshened up a bit, we went back down to the first floor and had a look around. They had some BMW models on display with some very unique options you just don’t see every day (mostly because few people order them and as a result few dealers order them). Here’s a BMW with the “frozen” paint finish which I liked much more than I expected. It’s a matte finish (not shinny) – the best way I can describe is if you’ve ever seen how a car looks after it’s been rained on and frozen over night – it sort of looks like that. It looks different (better) than the pictures on the BMW website – pictures don’t really do the finish justice:
Inside the vehicle were lots of “custom” appointments available through the BMW Individual Program which (for a price) allows customers to express their individuality and custom desires in their BMW:
Soon it was time for John to meet with the BMW representative in charge of executing his BMW European Delivery Experience, and delivering his vehicle:
The representative spent time with John going over his vehicle prior to his actually seeing it. BMW has rooms with large, interactive video displays (like giant iPads) and driving simulators – all of which are designed to better familiarize you with your new BMW. I didn’t personally find these “gee-whiz” high tech tools particularly useful – more gimmicky than anything. Perhaps they need to be better executed, but they didn’t really provide a good substitute for sitting down with the actual vehicle and demonstrating the various options and systems on the car. Fortunately, part of the European Delivery experience is doing just that – our next stop was to actually see his new 2014 BMW 435i M Sport. The first floor has a section with new cars being delivered and waiting for their new owners – each sits on a revolving platform to enhance the presentation.
Once we got downstairs, we got our first up close view:
As you can see in the above photo, John’s car was delivered with German tourist license plates on the car. Besides the cost savings you get when getting a BMW via European Delivery, the big draw for the program over traditional US delivery is the ability to drive your car in Europe. You get the tourist plates, car insurance to cover the duration of your stay, and even European maps for the Navigation System. When your trip is complete, you can take the car to any number of drop off points throughout Europe, and the car is shipped by freighter to the US and ends up at the dealer location you designate in about six weeks.
John got a good overview of the vehicle – there were quite a few changes since his last BMW from four years ago:
They even took a photo of me with John posing in front of his new car:
Before exiting the Welt, there was one final tradition to observe – the “victory lap.” Those who go through European Delivery wait several weeks, and in some cases months for their new car to be ready for pick up, then make a long trip to the Welt. So when taking delivery, owners get to proudly take a lap inside the interior area of the Welt proudly displaying (showing off) their new BMW to any and all who are in the Welt.
You maybe wondering what I thought about the new BMW 435i? In short, despite the fact that I wanted to dislike it, I really did like it better than the 2 door 3 Series models that came before it. Why? Well, I’m not happy with BMW’s decision to split up all their car lines by the number of doors they have. It used to be that the 1 Series had a 2 door and a 4 door model, as did the 3 Series. Now they’ve added a 2 Series and a 4 Series – the “odd numbered” Series have 4 doors, while the “even numbered” series have 2 doors. So what was once a 335i coupe is now a 435i Coupe. Ultimately, I think this is confusing both for past and new BMW customers. Past BMW customers are used to higher series numbers being bigger, more luxurious cars. But a 435i really is just a 2 door version. Many new customers will be scratching their heads trying to figure out the difference between a BMW 3xx model and a BMW 4xx model. “What’s the difference besides the number of doors?” Well, none really. Finally, the BMW 3 Series is such an iconic badge with such a distinguished history – 3 Series sedan, coupe, and M3. It seems a shame to split the legacy up into two separate badges. Bad idea BMW…bad idea. Despite the badge change, there wasn’t much not to like about the car – I absolutely love my 2013 BMW 335i M Sport (click here for the review) and for the time that I drove my friends 435i M Sport, I really couldn’t tell much difference between the two.
After exiting the Welt, we had the valets outside park the car and walked across the street to the BMW Museum. BMW has constructed a nice bridge walkway which connects the Welt with the Museum across the street, taking pedestrians over the busy street between the two buildings:
Here’s a photo of the museum and the “4 Cylinder” corporate headquarters for BMW:
The headquarters building at night:
With the European Delivery of my friend’s BMW 435i M Sport complete, we started the first of what would be three different automotive museums we would visit while in Germany. and toured the BMW Museum.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.