After re-opening, the BMW Museum is expecting 400,000 visitors each year. Ever since its original opening in 1973, the 'Museum Bowl', as it is affectionately called, has not only been the home of the BMW Museum, but also a true landmark in architecture. Now, in creating the new concept for the Museum, the Museum Bowl has been enlarged by the directly adjacent single-storey building belonging to the BMW Group Headquarters, the so-called 'Four-Cylinder', enlarging the exhibition area to 5,000 sq m or 53,800 sq ft.
A central path guides the visitor through time and space, showing him the way to the individual exhibition highlights. But nobody is forced to follow a specific sequence when visiting the exhibition areas – rather, there is enough space for all visitors to find and create their own, individual way through the Museum.
Separate areas within the Museum focus on the overriding topics of Design, Technology, Model Series, Company History, Motorsport, the History of the Motorcycle, and the BMW Brand. These individual 'Houses', as they are called, are made up of several rooms on various levels highlighting different aspects of each specific theme. As an example, the 'Technology House' is subdivided into the rooms 'Engines', 'Lightweight Technology', and 'Aerodynamics'. And each 'House' has its own identity additionally borne out by its unique, characteristic design.
The 'Mediatecture' is made up of a layer of LEDs directly connected with a layer of glass, interacting with one another to illuminate the Exhibition Houses. The facades are made up of more than 700 sq m (7,532 sq ft) of LED surfaces and a total of 1,765 million light-emitting diodes serving as the central source of light for the Museum, presenting the entire exhibition in the 'right light' in the genuine sense of the word.
The facade areas surrounding the central unit within the Museum, the BMW Square, are actively illuminated in a constantly changing process, this special media effect on the facades de-materialising and dynamising the static elements.
A further highlight is the 'Acousmonium' creating an area of sound under-lining the visual impressions of the exhibition through its consistent, ongoing acoustic effect. Interactive elements form different levels of information and actively integrate the visitor into the exhibition itself and everything that is going on. Apart from touch-sensitive surfaces, the 'Company House', for example, presents extra-large, oversized picture books. Then, looking at the photos and leafing through the books, visitors hear a text explaining the particular events shown in the photos and described on the accompanying pages, thus receiving helpful background information.
;Another important innovation in the use of audiovisual media offers visitors the same fascinating experience at the end of their Museum tour: This is a panorama projection on the inner wall of the shell to be admired around the upper edge of the Museum Bowl. Here, at this particularly point free of pillars or support elements and with a wall area up to 120 metres or 394 feet in length and up to 6 metres or almost 20 feet in height, high-performance beamers offer an impressive 360° panorama film projection.
The various lines of development of the BMW brand and the company are demonstrated by the vehicles BMW has built and created in the last 90 years, original BMW exhibits arousing particular memories among many visitors. The most significant favourites and eye-catchers to be admired in the new BMW Museum include the Isetta, the BMW 2002, the R32 motorcycle, the BMW 328 and the BMW 507, as well as the H2R world speed record car. Automobiles, motorcycles, racing cars, engines and components impressively demonstrate the diversity, continuity and innovative power of the brand, with all exhibits naturally having been restored lovingly and true to the original from top to bottom.
Museum Educational Programme for groups of young visitors between 6 and 13 years and 14–18 years. Beginning of programmes to be agreed individually. The public opening of the new BMW Museum will be on 21 June 2008. Guided tours are available from Monday to Friday from 9:00–16:00, and on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10:00–16:00. Tours are available in German and English.