8 German auto museums to check out
Do you love cars? It becomes second nature when you live in the country that patented the gas-powered automobile, a land with wide-open roads and no speed limits. If cars captivate you, make a trip to Germany’s famous auto museums. And if you think that cars aren’t your thing, just wait — you’ll soon have a need for speed.
Auto & Technik Museum – Sinsheim
You’ll be blown away by more than 320,000 square feet of exhibition space featuring historical automobiles, military vehicles, motorcycles and the largest Formula One race car showcase. Soar through the sky during a tour of the Concorde, the supersonic aircraft poised in mid-takeoff over the museum. Reminisce about the past while walking by a DeLorean DMC-12, the timetraveling car from “Back to the Future.” Obsessed with rare cars? Catch a glimpse of Brutus, an innovative auto with an early 1900s design and the engine of a WWI German aircraft. Or imagine the excitement of sitting behind the wheel of the Blue Flame, a 1960s rocket-powered vehicle that reached ground speeds topping 600 mph.
BMW Welt (BMW World) – Munich
Trace the history of Germany’s famed luxury car at the BMW Museum, and lead inquisitive kiddos through a family tour of the Junior Museum. Lust after futuristic concept cars that trump the best of sci-fi’s renditions. Drool over sleek BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royces in BMW Welt. At the BMW plant, see how your fantasy car becomes reality.
Maybach Museum – Neumarkt
Only 160 Maybach limousines exist around the globe today, but you can lay eyes on 16 of these classic coaches at the dedicated museum in Neumarkt. Also check out the vintage bicycles and motorcycles created by Express Werke.
Mercedes-Benz Museum – Stuttgart
This Stuttgart museum’s open floor plan, curved walls and 1,800 geometric windows complement the elegance of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Start at the top and wander down the double-helix walkways while admiring 160 vehicles and 1,500 displays. Find yourself at the finish line as Mercedes race cars maneuver a banked track. Discover the power beneath the hood during a tour of the Untertürkheim engine production facility, available Tuesdays and Fridays.
Porsche Museum – Stuttgart
More than 80 automobiles and 200 exhibits chronicle Porsche’s car-making history. Sections of the museum are devoted to Porsche standards, such as speed, capability and dependability. From late-May to mid-July, join Porsche in commemorating 100 wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the infamous French race that tests drivers to reach distances of more than 3,100 miles in one day. Or have a peek at Porsche’s long line of experimental vehicles and prototypes between September and January.
Volkswagon Autostadt – Wolfsburg
The Volkswagon Autostadt, or AutoCity, covers dozens of acres with walking paths, green areas and numerous architectural masterpieces, including a museum and several pavilions. The ZeitHaus museum is home to some groundbreaking cars, including the Bugatti 57 SC, Horch 670, Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Miura. After exploring the museum, stroll the grounds to the pavilions dedicated to VW’s flagships — Škoda, Lamborghini, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, SEAT, Porsche, Volkswagon and VW commercial. Then visit the 200-foot-tall glass towers, where special hydraulic equipment moves vehicles to temporary storage. Test your skills and VW’s performance while dodging danger on the Safety Training course in a borrowed VW, and conclude your outing with a meal at one of 10 restaurants.
Walk through this astounding glassenclosed factory to watch every step of the manufacturing process. Make reservations for the scheduled group guided tours, or request a private tour. Combine your love of cars with an evening of entertainment at the hosted concerts and events.
Technik Museum – Speyer
Marvel at the technological advancements that have transformed the automobile from early 20th century limousines and classic mid-century Porsches to the sexy sports cars and futuristic utility vehicles of today. Gawk at quintessential autos, tread along the wing of a Boeing 747, climb inside a submarine and feel tiny while standing under the space shuttle. After a day at one of these museums, you’ll long to burn rubber. Hit the autobahn and put the pedal to the metal. On your mark… get set… GO!