Munich: BMW Welt and Mercedes Showrooms – October 2011

Until recently, many car showrooms in Europe were little more than enlarged shop style premises in the high streets of cities, towns and villages, and for a comprehensive display of lots of cars, it was necessary to go to a Motor Show. All that started to change as the dealers moved out of town centres to somewhere purpose built, and it would seem that just as the range of available models has expanded, so many of especially the premium brands would appear to have each been trying to outdo each other with ever more imposing facilities. The extra space has allowed not just for the display of more vehicles, but for some historic cars to be shown on occasion, and even the addition of seating areas, coffee bars and in some cases an office area for customers to work while their car is serviced. A visit to one of the larger of such showrooms can easily provide several hours of entertainment, and indeed I have enjoyed time spent, and written reports for this site, at places like Mercedes-Benz World  at Brooklands and a whole row of showrooms in Scottsdale, Arizona. Munich is very clearly the home of BMW, with the famous kidney shaped building forming a prominent landmark to the north west of the city centre, so it is no surprise that BMW have created “BMW Welt” across the road from their world renowned Museum and factory location, and indeed t have visited this facility on previous visits to the Bavarian Capital. However, it might come as more of a surprise to learn that Mercedes have what in many ways is an even more imposing presence, not far away, right beside the Autobahn. This giant structure can house over 700 cars, and yet even though it is obvious that there are lots of vehicles contained within the building, in no way does it feel crowded.

Wondering whether some of the latest models that I was unable to inspect close up at the recent Frankfurt IAA were on show, my friend Christian Wimmer and I went to have a look. Here is what we found.

The G Class has become something of a cult model. It has also become rather costly, though to compensate for this, a utility version which lacked even floor mats, let alone carpets is now available, priced at just over half the retail price of a new G350.

The new SLK is starting to become evident on European roads, though you may need to do a double take to realise that it is the new model.
No such challenges identifying the SLS, with both coupe and convertible cars on display. I would not choose the colour of either of these models, but the cars themselves are very desirable indeed.
Examples of the current and previous generation CLS were parked up next to each other. You decide which you prefer.
AMG featured in a corner, with C Coupe, CL and CLS cars to be seen, and other AMG models starred among the more prosaic models from their respective ranges .
Plenty of the more “ordinary” cars were on show, too.

Parked up next to the cafe was the Classic Mercedes of the week, a particularly nice 1956 300SC model. We did observe that when this car was new, the owner would have felt far more special than any current Mercedes driver, as the chances of ever seeing another car like this one would have been practically zero. Indeed, less than 300 of these cars were made during the 1950s.
Having seen three examples of the very recently revealed F30 model 3 series out on the road – one of them rather cheekily parked up at the Mercedes showroom, I did pop into BMW Welt, hoping that I might see some more. None were on show at all. Instead, BMW were focused on the relatively new 1 series, with 3 cars on show outside and a further 2 inside.
Of more interest to most people were the pair of new M5s. One of them was periodically started up and driven across the building, with a few gratuitous blips of the throttle for good measure.
On a previous visit., the classic BMW Isetta had been the car that was being paraded around the inside of the building, but this time it appeared to be resting.
The innovative i3 and i8 cars were on show in the middle of the complex.
Other production cars from the range are shown, and most of which are left  unlocked, so presenting a welcome opportunity to have a good look at them. This includes some of the more rarely seen models such as the Active Hybrid 7 series and X6 cars.
On my previous visit, a classic E21 BMW 318 was parked up outside, and as I have not previously posted these pictures, though they would making a fitting finale to a summary of what is an entertaining way for a car enthusiast to spend a few hours in Munich.
This classic 335 was on show in the main hall
2011-10-28 13:11:02

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