2016 F82 M4
- Yas Marina Blue
- Full Black Merino Leather
- Carbon Fiber Trim
- 6 Speed Manual
- Executive Package
- Lighting Package
- 19" Forged Silver 437M Wheels
- Adaptive M Suspension
- Side & Top View Cameras
In a sleep-deprived state, we arrived in Munich early Friday morning. Due to our plane's late arrival, we had a slight miscommunication with our SiXT driver, but eventually we found him. We wafted away in a white BMW X5, but with all the commotion of not meeting our driver on time, we'd forgotten to take out cash at the airport's ATM. Fortunately, our driver was kind enough to drive us to a local bank—we tipped him handsomely. Soon, we arrived at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in Munich. We checked in, and took a long, well-deserved nap.
Onwards to The BMW Welt!
We dedicated the rest of the day to explore The Welt. But first things first: we headed straight upstairs to the Premiere Lounge to have our paperwork done. We also took advantage of the complimentary food and beverages (and WiFi of course). With that out of the way, we went to the main floor, thoroughly inspecting every exhibit the Welt had to offer. There was a surprising lack of things to see despite the large and impressive facility. So with a surplus of time, we took a stroll outside the building and the surrounding area.
Later that night, we had a fantastic meal at EssZimmer at the top level of The Welt. We had nothing but praise for this restaurant—they received their first Michelin Star only 8 months after opening! The service had Germanic efficiency, tastefully conceived food, and a top-notch experience to boot. Dinner over 3 hours, but it was deceptively well-paced. The bonus: a complimentary ride back to the hotel in a long-wheelbase 7 series.
With jet lag in full effect, taking it easy was not only desired but necessary for day two. We arrived early morning at The Welt to grab a quick complimentary breakfast, then met up with fellow forum members in the midst of their deliveries. As they went through the delivery process, it was hard to believe that in less than forty-eight hours, I would be in their spot, picking my own shiny new car.
After our friends' arrival from Brighton, we toured the BMW Museum. With fantastic, rare vehicles on display, the whole experience felt chaotic, but perhaps that was how the space was designed. Luckily, the tickets were complimentary from BMW, otherwise I would have hesitated on attending.
After the museum, we headed to Munich's city center, checked in at our friends' Airbnb, and walked to Oktoberfest. It was a shock: the size, the activities, the noise, everyone was in their traditional lederhosen and dirndls, celebrating to no end. Blame it on the jet lag, but I was particularly unfestive and unhappy. We decided to call it a day and relax back at the Leonardo Royal Hotel.
The Leonardo Royal Hotel was a little club-like in the lobby where the bar/restaurant is located. "Trendy" would sufficiently describe this hotel. But the room was comfortable, and the location is an ideal walking distance to The Welt.
Oktoberfest! (Day Three)
Refreshed, we went back to the heart of Munich for brunch. On a whim, we tried 'Brasserie Tresznjewski' in Munich and found the food delightful. All I had was sausage, eggs, bacon, potatoes—how can anyone make anything this simple so good? Afterwards we headed to Marienplatz. We did a little shopping, and stumbled across Asam's Church: a Baroque style church built in the 1700's.
We rounded back to Oktoberfest. Full of energy, today's visit was much more enjoyable. Though we couldn't find a open beer garden, an open wine garden was more than satisfying. The atmosphere was no different than the other beer gardens: loud, social, and full of alcohol. A perfect Oktoberfest. That night we walked over to the popular Augustiner-Keller restaurant to grab dinner and several litres of beer. Delivery is now just several hours away.
Delivery Day! (Day Four)
After what felt like a lifetime, the day had come. It was a brisk, sunny Monday morning. We checked out from our hotel and proceeded to The Welt via Uber. With our bags checked at the Premium Lounge, we settled for a quick breakfast, but really, who can eat at a time like this? We signed both the guestbook and 'Das Buch', then wandered around to take a quick peek at my car (with unsuccessful results). Finally 9:40am came around, and we situated ourselves by the standing digital placards where we would meet our Delivery Specialist, Bastian.
All events between walking down 'The Stairway to Heaven' and the end of the delivery process were a complete blur. This car had completely taken over all my senses. Luckily, my fantastic and ever-patient girlfriend Michelle had everything documented with photographs and GoPro video.
In short, Bastian went over the main features of the car, handed us the 'gifts' that the program had to offer, had us sign the release forms, and his colleague took a photo of Michelle and I as a memento. Now, the car was finally mine.
This car has presence. Aggressive front, flared wheel arches, wide tires, intimidating rear, and expertly proportioned. It was bigger than I would have liked, coming from an E46. I will certainly get used to it, but I suspect this will be the largest car I will ever own. The carbon fiber roof contrasts suberbly with the Yas Marina paint job. The interior was a fantastic place to be: every surface was covered in leather. The instrument cluster was clean and simple. I'm glad they didn't go to an all-LCD route: analogue baby! The shifter is smooth, precise, and a joy to use. The clutch pedal felt strange, almost like the pedal is hollow. It just did not feel 100% solid. I may need more seat time to get more familiar with it.
Yas Marina Blue is a lovely color in person, adding spice to a monochromatic automotive world of black, grey, and white. Dark and rich in overcast light, but bright and metallic in direct light. I'm usually conservative when it comes to car colors, generally choosing a monochromatic palette. But it's a special car, and for that, it deserves a special color.
After the delivery process, we took our Victory Lap inside The Welt. Then, for the very first time, we drove the car outside and into The Welt's underground car park. Not used to the size of the car, I scratched a rear wheel on a concrete pillar. It was awfully ironic: damaging your new car minutes after picking it up, and at its birthplace! Still flustered, we entered The Welt's gift shop to clear our minds of it, and got a few gifts—including the complimentary engraved keychain and safety vests. Small things, but it helped.
Then we were whisked away to the BMW Factory Tour where for two hours, experiencing first-hand the inner workings of the main BMW plant. A few neat facts: 1) The facility is built on top of large coiled springs to reduce vibration and shock, to prevent disturbing the surrounding residences. 2) The overall waste that each vehicle produces equals less than 80 grams of material, or less than a candy bar. 3) I managed to not wee myself.
After the tour, we had a quick lunch at Bavarie in The Welt, took the U-Bahn to obtain our complimentary Bucherer stopwatch in downtown Munich, retrieved the car, and set off to Hotel Weinbauer in Schwangau.
We started early that day, in time to visit the popular Neuschwanstein Castle. The views were breath-taking, the castle elaborate. Unfortunately the experience itself was lackluster at best. The tour was expensive and didn't offer much to see. It was too touristy and too commercialized—everywhere you look you see tour buses or tour groups polluting the beautiful charm of the countryside scenery. Although it was worth visiting since it was our first time, it wasn't a place to visit more than once.
Immediately after the tour, we did a quick photo at the official 'Bimmerfest Spot.'
Afterwards we headed south into Austria to visit Highline179. Highline179 is one of the longest and tallest pedestrian bridges in the world. At 114.6 meters tall, 406 meters long, the bridge spans across the B179 and links two mountain tops where historic forts reside. It was challenging to walk across, as both Michelle and I are terrified of heights. Even though the bridge was well engineered with the use of aluminum, steel, and concrete, the bridge swayed far too much for our liking. Eventually found a bit of courage, and attempted crossing the bridge, one terrifying step at a time.
After Highline179 (we did make it over the bridge, and back), we headed back north and into Füssen to explore and grab a late lunch at La Perla Ristorante Pizzeria. Food was brilliant, so with our bellies full and our minds happy, we walked around Füssen. It was smaller than I thought and there was not a lot to see or do, but otherwise quaint.
We returned to Hotel Weinbauer to rest up and have dinner at the hotel restaurant. The restaurant was nice, charming, and the food was good, authentic German cuisine.
Today was our big travel day. We checked out of Hotel Weinbauer and plotted a route through the German Alps on the Alpenstraße, hoping to see some great sights. Sadly, the weather was dreary for the entirety of the 250+ miles. With the damp roads, I didn't get the opportunity to really let the car loose.
Despite the overcast day, the drive was picturesque. We drove around the beautiful Walchensee with its crystal-clear water. We did some mountain carving around Oberaudorf. Fog began forming as we got to the summit. If only the weather cleared up, we would've had a spectacular view.
A late lunch was at Feuriger Tatzlwurm Hotel & Spa, found along our journey near Oberaudorf.
It was our first of three nights at the Hotel Bloberger Hof. Unanimously we decided this was the best hotel. As it happens, it was also the cheapest and had the best hotel restaurant.
Our first stop was the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest). We hopped on the required bus ride up to the mountain top where the Eagle's Nest resides, hoping that either the weather cleared up, or we climbed high enough in elevation to clear the weather. Sadly, it got worse as we climbed. When we arrived at the top, visibility was probably only 50 feet. It snowed as well: the walkways were quite slick. It would have been so nice if we got to see the Eagle's Nest's true offering!
Next stop was Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden (The Salt Mines in Berchtesgaden, Austria). The tour was terrific! We thought it would be just another walking tour, but no! Despite cheesy presentations, there were beautiful views, and crazy slides used by miners: we wondered how these would have passed Health and Safety! It was simply good fun.
Afterwards we raided the local supermarket in Berchtesgaden for snacks and gifts, and returned back to Hotel Bloberger Hof for another outstanding meal.
We planned a full day in Salzburg proper: it had the charm of Füssen and the life of Munich. This was the most enjoyable destination of the entire trip, with so many delightful activities to do and places to visit. First up was the Mirabell Garden, the garden where they shot part of the classic film The Sound of Music. We then checked out the town square where the shops and markets prevail. The scenery was ever camera-ready, the architecture wizened and whimsy, the energy cheery and infectious. We had lunch at L'Osteria Pizza & Pasta where the prices were quite fair for their exorbitant pizza sizes.
A few things are worth mentioning about Salzburg: 1) The Catholic Church of Kollegienkirche near the city center was pristine with its grand, all-white structure that made the gold accents really stand out. 2) Mozart's childhood home was just a yellow building with lots of people out front—there was also a fee to take the tour. 3) Finding parking was terrible.
Hohensalzburg Fortress was a spectacular visit. Construction started in the 11th century, and the fortress's current state involved hundreds of years' worth of upgrades. We took the tram up the huge hill where the fortress resides. The tour was engaging and we felt like we really explored a variety of areas of the fortress. Naturally, the views from up top were gorgeous.
We ended the day with our last amazing meal from the Hotel Blobergerhof.
We began our trek back to Munich, taking the Alpenstraße again. Along the way we stopped in Prien am Chiemsee for a few hours, walking around the lake and eating lunch. It was still dreary and cold out so we didn't make our way to the island of Herreninsel to visit Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee.
After we dropped our friends off at the airport, we had time to spare. Michelle and I checked in at our last hotel for the trip, Novotel Hotel at the Munich airport, and that night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant where we indulged in what we missed most: burgers and fries.
Day Ten & Eleven
With our final day, Michelle and I wanted to do a quick day trip that was north of Munich but nothing too far away. We wanted to go to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, that was just a bit too far. Instead we decided to do a quick trip to Nürnberg, Germany. At last, the weather was a beautiful, sunny day—perfect for driving the M4 around.
Our first stop was lunch at Hans im Glück, a hip burger joint with really interesting burger combinations. I wasn't adventurous enough to try them, but my bog-standard burger was more than good enough. We went to nearby Handwerkerhof Nürnberg after lunch. Handwerkerhof Nürnberg is a small marketplace dedicated to traditional craftsmanship. One such store was owned by tinsmith Georg Stanisavljevic—a proud and talented man, one of two remaining tinsmiths in Nürnberg. He was just lovely.
Nearby to Handwerkerhof Nürnberg was the modern art gallery Neues Museum. Admission was just €1! From what little we saw there, many pieces were industrial design products. I saw a few pieces by one of my favorite industrial designers: Dieter Rams from Braun!
OK, so if you didn't know, we are big nerds. So when we stumbled across Ultra Comix nearby the museum, we had to pay a visit. It was three floors of geekdom, from your tried-and-true comic books, to LARP costumes and questionable figurine sets.
That concluded our day in Nürnberg. We drove back to our hotel, while breaking 140mph on the autobahn—don't worry, I still kept it under 5500rpm. We enjoyed another meal at the hotel restaurant while watching American Football in German. Surprisingly, it attracted a small German crowd, attentively watching the game.
The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and drove to the nearby gas station. The car got washed up before we dropped it off at Log In Out. It was cheap and painless. Within 10 minutes, the car was ready to go.
Log In Out took only 15 minutes, which didn't give me enough time to say goodbye to the M4. The kind lady made sure we had everything out of the car, then drove off. It was sad seeing the car go, but damn did it sound nice.
We then walked to the terminal, checked our bags, had lunch, and finally took off for home.
Our journey of our M4 re-delivery experience at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina.