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      08-28-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
jlsm511
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France/Germany Trip Report to BMW, MB and Porsche (Image Heavy!)

After seeing so many ED threads, the desire to visit Germany only grew, but knowing a ED trip was years away, I decided to go with my friend and see all the sights as tourists. In 7 days we visited 2 countries and did everything we had set out to do. I'll save you all the details on Paris and focus only on the car things there and on Germany as a whole. This is an experience every gearhead should do at some point, because it has given me a new appreciation and view on the automotive history, and specifically the 3 German Marques we visited.

Note: Sorry the photos are displayed in reverse, from newest to oldest, trying to fix that but photobucket doesn't seem to have a sort-by-date feature :/

Day 1: Miami-Paris
The first three days of our trip would take us to Paris. We flew Air Canada from Miami to Toronto on an E190 and connected to our flight to Paris on a 777-300ER. Both flights were uneventful and the service was quite good.















Day 2-4: Paris
Saw some interesting car's in Paris, some that you never see in the US. Also stopped by the Mercedes-Benz showroom on the Champs-Elysee (very good) and the BMW Showroom on George V (major disappointment). Since we were in the area we also swigged by the home of the FIA (Formula 1's governing body), unfortunately Jean Todt was out :/




























Day 5: Paris-Munich

We took an early morning (6am ) flight from Paris to Munich. We flew on Lufthansa, with a connection in Dusseldorf. I was amazed with the quality and service you could get on a short 45 minute flight. Not only was there breakfast (cereal with yogurt), there was also 2 drink runs. Overall, I was very impressed by the quality of service on LH and by how well maintained and how good these 15+ year old planes looked.














Day 5: Munich City Center

After the hour long trek from the Munich Airport to the central station, we checked in at the Le Meridien (which I wholeheartedly recommend by the way, centrally located, ridiculously large rooms for Europe, and awesome beds) and made our way to the City Center. After walking around we made our way to the Hofbräuhaus for some dinner and bier!
















Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 02:18 PM.
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      08-28-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
jlsm511
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Day 6: Porsche

We again woke up in the wee-small hours of the morning to take the train to Stuttgart to visit the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz Museums. The 2.5 hour long train was uneventful and gave us some wonderful views of the Germany Countryside. Upon arriving in Sttutgart, we took the S-Bahn to “Neuwirtshaus”, and got our first view of the Porsche Museum. The architecture is of course stunning, and the early hour at which we arrived meant that everything was quiet and relatively empty. Once inside we went through the museum and I must say I left feeling let down. Not to say that the Museum wasn't interesting, which it was, just like there wasn't enough. I would later feel the opposite about both the BMW and Mercedes-Benz Museums. There were of course some amazing examples of Porsche Engineering on display, and some interesting models and concepts. Overall however, if I had to choose between the Porsche Museum and the Mercedes one, I'd choose Mercedes.






































































































Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Add content
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      08-28-2012, 01:04 PM   #3
jlsm511
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Day 6: Mercedes-Benz

After leaving the Porsche Museum, it was time to get back on the S-Bahn and head towards “NeckarPark” and the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Unlike the S-Bahn stop for the Porsche Museum which basically leaves you at the front door to the Museum, the stop for the MB Museum requires a good 10-15 minute walk to get there. Upon arriving, the first thing you see is the spinning Silver-Star on the roof and a line up of cars out front. When we went, there was a group of G-Wagon's from the various generations and in various body styles. Once inside we purchased our tickets and first went to eat at the Restaurant. The service was excellent and the food was amazing! Best pasta ever! After lunch, we went back upstairs and took the retro looking elevators up to the top level and began the Museum Tour. I must give MB credit for this, since the layout they have chosen is amazing. You basically start at the top, and work your way down. Everything is very well presented (except the low light which made the photo's hard to take) and employees were always on hand to answer questions. This barrier free idea that is popular in Europe is very interesting, since most of the cars are presented with no barrier preventing you from getting close. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but I have a newfound appreciation for MB after this trip. After we were done, we took the S-Bahn back to the Main Station and now took the High Speed ICE back to Munich. Have to admit, these were some of the smoothest trains I've ever been on, and even though they were late to arrive, still managed to make up 20 minutes getting back to Munich.









































































































































































Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 01:25 PM.
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      08-28-2012, 01:05 PM   #4
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Day 7: BMW Museum

The next day, we slept in a little (8 am) and headed towards the Welt. The architecture of the Welt is striking and very impressive. Unfortunately, I guess I expected a little more on the inside and was let down. Apparently August isn't a very good month to travel to Europe, everything closes (the BMW, MB and Porsche factory tours were all unavailable) and they took this time to renovate the Welt. The only things they had inside were the M Models and the new 1 Series. After a few minutes looking around we walked across the street to the BMW Museum. We would be taking the BMW City Tour later on and the City Tour includes access to the Museum, so we paid and made our way inside. The videos and photos of the moving balls don't capture how impressive it really looks in person. Truly a marvel of German Engineering. The Museum is well laid out, and has a good mix of the old, semi-old and new. It was nice to see a E46 CSL in the flesh, as well as the various M Engines and of course the CSL and Mclaren F1. After the Museum we went across the street and had lunch at Pizza Hut (the Restaurant at the Welt was overpriced) before again going to the Welt to sign some papers and drive the Beast.











































































































































Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 01:32 PM.
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      08-28-2012, 01:05 PM   #5
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Day 7: BMW-on-demand: M5

BMW has had this program at the Welt for a while and is now bringing it to the States. I hope it does well here since it lets you really test out these cars for a reasonable fee. After signing our lives away, we went downstairs to the garage where we were introduced to our ride for the next 2 hours. An Alpine White F10 M5 (with 21000 miles on the odometer already) with what I think is the Cohiba Brown Individual Interior and this nasty Dark Red Sycamore Wood trim. Sorry, wood trim is fine on an S Class or 7, but it just does not fit the personality of this car, imo. After getting shown how to turn on the car, how the iDrive works, and that you can program the suspension, gear shifts, etc. (I was about to tell the guy I read bimmerpost and that I knew all this, but I just let him do his job), we got in and hit the Autobahn. My friend keeps asking me what I think of this car, and its hard to describe, so I guess I'll have him read this post. I've driven the F10 550i, and I've driven the E60 M5 and E92 M3. The ride on comfort was fairly comfortable, but that may be more because of the quality of the German Roads then because of the car. The gear shifts were smooth at speed, but if you leave it on sport and are just cruising, it can get a little jarring. The fit and finish of the car was impeccable and save for some very slight vibrations at 155mph, the car drove amazing. The acceleration was unlike anything I'd ever experienced, as were the brakes. I can just imagine how good the Carbon Brakes will feel. The HUD was very useful, since it also shows you the speed limit, or conversely, when you are on a derestricted section of the Autobahn. Since we only had the car for two hours, we decided to go the Munich Airport Spotting Hill, see the view and then head back to the Welt. It worked out well, since the drive to the airport took a good 40 minutes each way, and it took us through some derestricted parts of the Autobahn. The car was sublime, and easily the best car I've driven. I'm sad I had to give her up. The only negatives I can say is that BMW must not take very good care of these cars. The vibrations at high speeds were apparently caused by the front tires, which had 20% tread left; and twice a warning came up saying the engine oil was low. I made sure to tell this to the agents who helped us, although neither caused the drive to be anything less then enjoyable and amazing. If any of you can participate in this amazing program, I say go for it. For about $200 with gas, we got to drive an M5 for two hours, and those two hours were pretty freaking incredible!



































Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 01:48 PM.
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      08-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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Day 7: BMW City Tour/BMW Group Classic




















































































































































Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 02:13 PM.
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      08-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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Day 8: FRA-MIA













Last edited by jlsm511; 08-28-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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