Driving south from Frankfurt, we considered stopping in Stuttgart to see either the Mercedes Benz or Porsche Headquarters, or both, but we chose to press on to Munich with plans to tour the BMW complex instead. BMW has a triplex set-up right in the center of Munich with a small factory next to the corporate offices, next to their museum, next to their flagship dealership. It is like Disneyland for German auto enthusiasts - and with extraordinary architecture to boot (and I don't mean Das Boot).
Now, I have never been a luxury or sports car enthusiast, but I am glad they exist. I can appreciate them, just never had that itch to own one.
I have however, ALWAYS had the itch to own motorcycles and I have had several over the years, including four different BMW's (including the rare and controversial K-1 - see below), with an RT in my garage right now. I think it has something to do with my Mother calling me "Michael, Michael Motorcycle" during my youth. So, yes, I blame her! :) And if you're going to have a "vehicular passion", it is BY FAR, the cheapest one to be possessed by.
BMW was originally the Rapp Motor Company that designed a few successful aircraft engines. It then changed it name, expanded and moved on to motorcycles next (yeah, take that you car snobs), and then finally, cars.
Many people may not know it, but the famous four-quadrant logo is actually classic and clever German design, and one with a mysterious origin - from Wikipedia: The circular blue and white BMW logo or roundel evolved from the circular Rapp Motorenwerke company logo, from which the BMW company grew, combined with the blue and white colors of the flag of Bavaria. The logo has been portrayed as the movement of an aircraft propeller with the white blades cutting through a blue sky—first used in a BMW advertisement in 1929, twelve years after the roundel was created—but this is not the origin of the logo itself. Who knew?
The museum was wonderful, even if we had to fight through all of the High School fields trip crowds. Our kids actually enjoyed it and we even saw all of the Rolls Royce history exhibit (which BMW has owned since 1998). Again from Wikipedia: Although the Rolls-Royce brand has been in use since 1906, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars subsidiary of BMW AG has no direct relationship to Rolls-Royce branded vehicles produced prior to 2003. The Bentley Motors Limited subsidiary of Volkswagen AG is the direct successor to Rolls-Royce Motors and the other various predecessor entities that produced Rolls-Royce and Bentley branded cars between the foundation of each company and 2003, when the BMW-controlled entity started producing cars under the Rolls-Royce brand. Whew.
I doubt you'll ever see one of us driving a "Beemer" car, but if you have one (or a 'Benz or Audi), we'll surely take a lift!