We recently took another road trip to visit the museums of standout car manufactures Mercedes Benz and Porsche.
We embarked on a nearly 700-mile road trip to Stuttgart, Germany. This route would take us through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and finally through to Germany.
We took the 09:20 euro tunnel crossing from Folkestone to Calais and arrived in France 35 minutes after we set off. This is definitely the way to travel, no waiting around for ferry’s, just off and on the train in a little over half an hour.
The journey through France went well, we even managed a stop off at Reims, the Champagne region of France. We decided to extend our drive to Germany and head through Belgium and Luxembourg, this extended the journey by quite a while but it was good to spend some time driving and seeing more than just the motorway.
Our vehicle of choice to undertake this mammoth journey was the Abarth 595! And it turned out to be a great choice. It went for hours, up hills, through heat, flat out and not once did it complain. That could have been the Ferrari in it, who knows.
We arrived at our hotel in Stuttgart, which was only a stones throw away from the Mercedes Museum. By the time we arrived it was late, so it was time to freshen up and head to the hotel bar for a couple of beers and to reflect on the long journey we had just undertaken and accomplished.
The next morning we were up fairly early and off to the Mercedes Museum. As we were only a couple of hundred metres down the road we took a leisurely stroll and enjoyed the heat wave Germany was basking in.
After our short walk we arrived at the museum and it is a work of art. The building is a work of art and more impressive than I expected. There was a bride and groom having their wedding photos taken outside when we arrived. There was also an outside seating area, with am accompanying bar and food stall. Behind some partitions were a live jazz band, when mixed with the glorious weather, the smell of BBQ and watching a couple have their wedding photos made for a great welcome to the museum.
As we were in Stuttgart for the weekend we decided to split the museum visits into two consecutive days. This meant we could spend more time at each and also have a more relaxing weekend.
After we finished viewing the Mercedes Museum and had bought some souvenirs from the shop we headed to the showroom, which is attached to the museum. The museum is spread across three floors and the cars get more expensive as you head on up the floors. At the top there are a lot of AMG series to ogle over and you wish you could drive them all.
We left the showroom and headed to the outdoor BBQ and bar and did what everyone who arrives in Germany should do, order currywurst and a beer.
The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking and generally enjoying the time away from the office.
On the Saturday we were up and ready to go to the Porsche Museum, after fuelling up on breakfast buffet.
The Porsche museum wasn’t as close to our hotel as the Mercedes museum so we had to make a short drive. After about 15 minutes in the car we were very close, the traffic leading up to the museum is a bit slow but once you start to edge closer and the museum building becomes visible you are filled with excitement. The building is magnificent, a true testament of German engineering.
The building is big, white and has used a lot of straight edges, glass and lights to create a jaw dropping contemporary building.
Once through the traffic and you pass the museum building you are directed to the underground car park. This is exciting in itself as it has us wondering what Porsches we might find. Incidentally we didn’t see as many as we were hoping for, but we did see a few. One that really stood out was bright yellow GTS, with black wheels. This car looked like a beast and instantly I wanted it. I have a loyalty to Porsche and they are a brand I love and admire. Their cars are sublime and once you have driven one of their flag ship models you will quickly realise what all this fuss is about.
We took the lift up to the museum and walked over to the reception area. The reception area at Porsche wasn’t as impressive as Mercedes and the Mercedes museum is a lot larger, but we were still excited and couldn’t wait to enter. At both museums you are given an audio guide, I found them very interesting but we didn’t use them all the time. They are great for when you want to learn a little history here and there, otherwise you can read a lot of the information scattered around museums.
After passing the reception desk of Porsche you have to get on the escalator and it is a long ascend into a white room. As everything is white, the museum looks very crisp and contemporary and the neutral background supplies a blank canvas for the cars to bring the museum to life.
The set up is the same as Mercedes in that the museum has been made in a way that you follow a timeline from the very first car or engine in Mercedes case, through to the latest. Along the way you learn plenty about how the brand was built.
There are a lot of cars to marvel at and I felt like a child in a sweet shop, except I wasn’t able to buy all the sweets I wanted.
Once we had finished walking around the museum we headed for the gift shop and made some novelty purchases. Which we thought would be great souvenirs to remind us of our trip to Stuttgart.
We headed for the exit and as we headed there something caught my eye; it was the Porsche Drive desk. We weren’t 100% sure what it was, but had a good idea, so we went to investigate.
We approached the desk and asked how it works and the gentleman behind the desk explained that they offered Porsche’s to rent by the hour. We were then shown a menu of all the different Porsche’s they had available. At the top was, of course, the Porsche 911. I asked which 911’s they had and was happy when given the response of they have a 911 GTS available. Without hesitation we booked it.
The prices of Porsche Drive are great, or so we thought. We hired a 911 GTS for 3 hours and it cost, in total £179.50 (there is also a €2,500 deposit to pay, but as a long as you bring the car back in one piece you get this back).
We were asked if we were interested in one of their pre-programmed routes, which they put in the cars sat-nav. We were asked if we would like a scenic route, a driver’s route or a mixture of both. We went for a mixture, one that took us on the autobahn and also some nice twisty roads.
We left the building and our Porsche GTS was brought over to us. It was the yellow one with black wheels that I had seen when we arrived in the car park, which made my day. The GTS had around 50 km on the clock, so it was brand new. There were lots of people looking at the car and even people coming over to touch it, which our Porsche Drive supplier told off as it this point any damage to the car was our responsibility. We checked the car for damage, had a brief safety talk and off we went.
It wasn’t long before we hit the autobahn and the car was put into super sport mode and we unleashed 430 bhp through the wheels and onto the tarmac. The sound of the car was phenomenal and it made the hair on your neck stand up. We pulled into the fast lane and overtook car after car, with ease.
The sat-nav took us off of the motorway and onto the twisty roads and we were able to utilise the Porsche 4wd system. The GTS we had was also PDK and made for magnificent gear shifts, the only thing we had to do was worry about the acceleration, braking and steering, the gear changes were seamlessly handled on our behalf.
This £100,000 + supercar was every bit as savage as it looked and to be able to put it through its paces on the autobahn and back roads was stunning. The bang for buck this experience achieved was outstanding. But like all good things, it had to come to an end and we returned, begrudgingly to the Porsche Museum.
It was our last night in Stuttgart before heading back to the UK, so we headed out for some food and drink and then got ourselves ready for the early morning departure.
We would recommend visiting the museums, if you’re a car fan and we would certainly recommend taking Porsche Drive up on their offer of hiring a Porsche 911.
For more information on any of the items covered, visit:
Thanks for reading!