Monday, March 31, 2014

A Visitors Guide to the Audi Museum and Forum in Ingolstadt, Germany

 The Audi Museum, located in the town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany was opened in 2000 and is co-located with one of their main assembly plants. This is also the same location where many new Audi's are delivered to their owners.  Any American Audi owner will be intimately familiar with this facility if they selected the European Delivery option.  I had the change to visit this museum a short while ago and though I'd take a moment to share my experience to help others interested in going.  Before visiting, I checked out the official website as well as some blogs but didn't seem to find all the info I was looking for and hope this post answers those questions for others.
  The closest major airport to  Ingolstadt is Munich, which is approximately 70 kilometers and an a little less than one hour's drive away.  Once outside of the city limits of Munich the highway (autobahn) leading to Ingolstadt will have those famous circular white signs with three gray diagonal lines indicating an unrestricted zone.  If you are unfamiliar with those signs or driving in Germany the best thing to keep in mind is stay to the right.  If you are not passing, get out of the left lane.  Those HID daytime running lights may look really far behind you, but believe me, when they are moving two times your speed, will be on your rear bumper in seconds.   On these unrestricted sections of the autobahn, most cars in the middle and left lanes will be travel around 120 miles per hour (around 200 KPH) but there are always a few that will be closer to 180 mph (290 KPH).    Don't bother trying to catch them or keep up with them and just get out of the way.  German drivers are not competitive like American drivers and do not feel slighted or superior based on their highway speed.  If there is slower traffic in front of you, just be patient as they will move over to the right as soon as possible.  Do not attempt to pass them on the right or you could end up paying some hefty fines in addition to the scorn of all the drivers on the road.
  Once at the museum, there is a small outdoor parking area and a larger parking garage accessed through an underground entrance.  A small parking fee is charged for utilizing the parking area, however when you purchase entrance tickets to the museum, you can have your parking ticket validated.  However, we attempted to use this service during our visit but ended up stuck at the exit to the parking lot because our ticket would not raise the gate.  It took a quick run back to the parking payment machine with euro in hand and a few honks from the cars waiting behind us to finally get the gate open.
  While slightly smaller and older than the Porsche, BMW or Mercedes Museum, the Audi facility is worth a visit especially if you are a fan.  Some of the highlights of the museum include the history of the four rings and the Auto Union,
  After touring the museum, it's worth taking a few extra minutes to head into the building located to the left of the museum.  This is the Audi Forum, where a large percentage of new vehicles are delivered to their owners.  It's an interesting site seeing all the new cars lined up under the bright lights ready for their owners.  A mildly amusing game can be made of trying to pair the new car with the guests in this area.  Is it the young 20 something guy with wife and kids in tow picking up that new RS7 or the 60 something retiree and his wife.  The Audi shop is also located in this building and has options for every buyer and price range.  All the standard branded items from pens, hats, jackets to model cars are available.  While the prices were similar to what is found in the Audi catalogs from any stateside dealer, there were a few discounted and discontinued items available during our visit.
  While there are factory tours available, we were not able to take advantage of that opportunity during this visit or find out much information about booking a tour.  Maybe next time.
  The museum is open Monday through Sunday 9 am to 6 pm with a 4 Euro entrance fee.  Check out their official website here.