Germany is renowned for exceptional engineering, and the country’s automotive industry is at the forefront of that remarkable accolade. BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz – virtually every luxury vehicle on the market comes from Germany, and given how revered driving is in the country, you would rightly expect there to be no shortage of picturesque roads and thrilling speedways on which to practice the skill. The German countryside is covered in ribbons of black asphalt that winds through thick forests and alongside magnificent castles. Drivers with a need for speed get their fill of it on autobahns and racing tracks found across country.
Imagine the thrill then, of buying your favourite German vehicle and taking it on a 3 to 4 hour joyride from its place of origin to your M Residence in Prague or Vienna. It’s not as difficult to buy a vehicle in a foreign country as you might think, and there are a number of companies that specialize in transporting cars from one place to another even if your primary residence is an entire ocean away.
Munich is the home of BMW, and there are three must-see destinations for the manufacturer that are within walking distance of each other: the BMW Museum, which traces the history of the company; BMW World – an architectural masterpiece of a building that is the delivery centre for BMWs and houses a number of exhibition halls and design studios; and of course the factory itself, where the world’s Ultimate Driving Machines are brought to life.
Mercedes Benz has its museum and manufacturing facilities in Stuttgart – both of which pay tribute to the on-going legacy of the man who is credited with inventing the modern automobile, Mr. Karl Benz. Porsche is located in Stuttgart as well, with a museum that boasts over 80 of brand’s iconic models. Audi’s international headquarters is located in Ingolstadt, and if you’re in the market for a Volkswagen, you’ll have to make your way to the city of Wolfsburg.
Regardless of where you buy, once you’re behind the wheel of your new work of moving art, there are a couple things to put on (and immediately check off) your to-do list.
Of all the scenic drives in Germany (and there are many) perhaps the most jaw dropping is Castle Road – 1,200 kilometers of pavement that winds leisurely from Mannheim all the way to Prague. It will take you 3 – 4 days to travel the entire distance, but you can jump on the roadway at any point and still have plenty to see. Mannheim, Nuremburg, Heidelberg and Bamberg are all great places to start off. Castle Road is basically a series of small, winding back roads marked by easy to follow signs. Depending on where you start you’ll encounter incredible sights such as Heidelberg Castle, Castle Hotel Colmberg, Rothenburg ob de Tauber (a spectacularly preserved medieval town) and the Imperial Castle of Nuremburg, which hosts the best Christmas market in all of Germany. There’s not a bad time of year to make the trip. Late May through September and Christmastime are high season, but throughout the year every castle hosts special events that range from period costume performances to music festivals and ghost tours.
If your new car begs to be driven with speed, then a visit to the Nürburgring Race Track is in order. Established in 1927, the track is regarded as one of the toughest Grand Prix circuits in the world. This Formula 1 World Championship track offers drivers the thrill of car racing firsthand. Take a speed driving lesson there, and then unleash the engine on a heart-pounding spin.
International shipping for vehicles is possible through a variety of specialty companies. The first thing to confirm is that your new vehicle meets the emissions and safety standards of the country where you’ll be shipping it to (this should be established prior to purchase). Google international sea shipping companies for a list of who to contact, or simply work with the dealer you plan to buy from – they will offer all the help you need and a lot of important insight.