My First Trip To Europe For A BMW European Delivery
I’ve traveled pretty extensively throughout North America, and even once to South America. But until this point, I’ve never had the opportunity to go to Europe. When a good friend of mine (also named John) asked me to accompany him to Germany so he could take advantage of the European Delivery Program offered by BMW, I jumped at the chance. Not only would this give me the opportunity to see some of Europe, it was a dream of a lifetime for a German car fan and BMW owner like myself to go to the BMW factory in Munich.
We left Dayton, OH on Thursday the 16th of March and flew into Chicago O’Hare. I was a bit nervous about this as I’ve never had a good flying experience where O’Hare airport was involved. Thankfully, the flight was running on schedule.
The plane looked good too – no turbo prop commuter planes for this transatlantic flight:
The flight was scheduled to be about 9 hours, but fortunately for us we caught a nice tailwind and arrived a full hour and a half early to the Munich airport – about 7:30am Friday Germany time. Transatlantic flights now have these nifty little monitors with maps which show the position of the plane in flight – here’s a phone camera shot as we come in to Munich:
The Munich airport is the most modern airport in all of Germany, and since Munich is the birthplace of BMW, they have a special “wall” which greets visitors not long after they get off the plane.
It’s traditional for folks doing the European Delivery Program to get a photo taken in front of the “wall”:
A BMW Employee (Rolf) associated with the European Delivery Program met us at the airport and picked us up:
It was only about a 20 minute drive from the airport the BMW European Delivery center.
Once inside we made our way to the famous Bistro inside the European Delivery Center – the food there is reputed to be most excellent!
We had a small breakfast snack on the plane but it wasn’t very filling so both John and I were quite eager to partake of the Bistro’s offerings. As luck would have it, on Friday’s the Bistro has “wit worst” on the menu – a kind of German breakfast sausage that’s typically eaten with a sweet mustard sauce. Rolf highly recommended we both try it – it was fabulous!!
An Internet “BMW Fan” discussion forum called “Bimmerfest” has a sign in book for those who do the European Delivery Program (a little-know about option which is a considerable cost savings on the price of a BMW) as they are usually true BMW fans and purists.
It’s traditional to take a photograph while signing the book and post it to the Bimmerfest forum, but since I’m a well-known for my “other hobby” (watches) I take a bit of a signature photograph:
After breakfast, we said our goodbyes to Rolf, and another BMW representative sat down with John and went over all the paperwork for his new car – a BMW 335i twin turbo coupe. Having gotten my 330i sedan the year before, I’ve been working on him for several months to dump his Infiniti G35 and come over to BMW. 🙂
After signing the paperwork, it was finally time to go into the delivery center garage and pick up his new BMW:
And here it is – a vision in white!
John gets a very thorough walk-through and demonstration of the various features and capabilities of his new car.
After the once over from the nice lady at BMW, it was finally time to leave with his new care. Here it is emerging from the garage for the first time:
At this point we’ve both been in the same cloths for over 24 hours (with about 5 hours sleep on the plane) so we’re both eager to get to the hotel – only about 4 kilometers from the BMW European Delivery Center.
After a short drive in Munich city traffic, we arrive at the Munich Renaissance Marriot and check in.
The view from the balcony was quite nice.
As tired as we both are, we have to quickly unpack then drive to BMW’s headquarters in Munich for our scheduled factory tour at 1:15 Munich time.
On the way to the tour, we pass the under construction, future location of “BMW Welt” – which house the new BMW museum, as well as the new European Delivery Center. It should be open within a year, so I’ll be able to experience it when our family gets our next BMW.
We finally arrive to the main BMW factory in Munich:
We see the famous headquarters building – often called the “BMW 4-cylinder building”:
We finally find the building where the tour or “tor” starts:
Unfortunately, they don’t allow any photographs inside the factory for obvious reasons. But we’re shown the production facilities for the structural components, the paint shop, and the engine production plant among other stops on the tour. In my professional career I’ve toured production facilities of several automakers including Ford, GM, and Honda and I’ve NEVER seen more advanced and sophisticated manufacturing facilities. I was particularly impressed with the level of automation they use, as well as the stringent quality control procedures – it was all quite exciting for me as a huge BMW fan.
After the tour, we headed back toward the hotel. We were quite hungry, so we decided to venture out into the neighborhood around the hotel in search of some authentic German cuisine. This particular part of Munich was quite charming – very clean and well maintained.
After a few minutes walk, we struck up (first place we found) a quaint little German cafe called Shogenoff .
It was really a neat place with an excellent selection of freshly made German food.
The nice German lady working there didn’t speak a word of English, but we managed point and grunt our way into to an excellent meal. I got a nice pork schnitzel, a meat ball of some sort, and a nice croissant. I also discovered that “Pepsi light” was about 3 Euros (about 4 bucks US) for a VERY small bottle…that ended up costing me a lot during the trip. Now I see why German’s drink so much beer…it’s cheap by comparison.
After our meal, we walk around the vicinity of our hotel for a couple of hours, then headed back to hotel – we were both exhausted, but had a wonderful day. Tomorrow we need to be up early as we planned on meeting a very good friend and fellow Rolex collector for breakfast in downtown Munich.
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.