A poke around BMW’s museum in Munich

Published: 01 January 2015

BMW Turbo concept

BMW’s museum round the corner from its headquarters in Munich is a treasure trove of rarities, racers, design icons and concepts. We’ve had a wander round, camera in hand, to snap a few highlights.

BMW museum Munich
BMW museum Munich

First exhibit in the museum is a load of balls. These wire-suspended orbs constantly rearrange themselves into abstract patterns, occasionally taking the shape of an aerofoil or a car silhouette. It’s oddly mesmerising.

BMW 3/15PS

This is where the BMW story starts as far as four-wheeled transport goes. The 1929 BMW 3/15PS was an evolution of a car called the Dixi, itself a version of the Austin Seven built under licence in Germany. This is the two-seater van version, available from 1930.

BMW museum Munich
BMW 3 series Munich museum

Every evolution of the BMW 3-series is under the museum’s roof, but arguably more elegant than all of them is the 1600 saloon of the ’60s (below), considered to be the direct forerunner of the 3-series.

BMW 1600 

Brabham BT52

With Bernie Ecclestone at the books, Gordon Murray at the drawing board and Nelson Piquet at the wheel, the turbocharged Brabham BT52 swept all before it to take the 1983 F1 title. This was the ‘grenade engine’ era – with the boost of the scale, the 1.5-litre BMW four-cylinder motor developed as much as 850bhp in qualifying trim. Race engines mustered ‘only’ 640bhp or thereabouts, to make sure they went the distance.

BMW clay model

Current-gen 3-series full-size clay model interesting enough, but what’s in the hall underneath it slightly more so.

BMW Efficient Dynamics concept

The i8 production car looks futuristic but it’s easy to forget just how expressive the original Vision Efficient Dynamics concept car was, first surfaced at the Frankfurt show in 2009.

BMW nameplates Munich museum

Find BMW’s naming system confusing? This probably won’t help.

BMW 507 BMW Z8

That’s the BMW Z8 from the Brosnan-era Bond flick The World Is Not Enough in the background. Easy to see how (and why) it cribbed its design cues from the fifties 507 in the foreground.

BMW CSL Batmobile Roy Lichtenstein art car

One of the famous Art Car series, with Roy Lichtenstein the artist behind this CSL racer’s livery.

BMW M3 GTR

The American Le Mans Series-conquering M3 GTR from 2001. Before being wheeled into the museum the GTR was temporarily brought out of retirement to win the Nurburgring 24 hours in 2004 and 2005.

BMW M3 GTR

And that’s how big the Gurney flap on the rear wing is, if you wondering.

BMW M3 touring car

Believe it or not, the E30 BMW M3 is the most successful Touring Car of all time, racking up an unbeaten number of race wins across Europe through the late ’80s and early ’90s.

BMW M1

Not much can upstage a space hopper-orange BMW M1 for presence...

BMW Turbo concept

...except perhaps the original BMW Turbo concept car it evolved from. Only two were built; one’s in the museum, the other under wraps in BMW’s private collection in a warehouse across town together with all kinds of other treasures. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take a camera inside...

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