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BMW logo

49 production models

45 discontinued models

history
Contrary to some opinions, BMW does not stand for Best Motors in the World company. Sure, BMW-branded automobiles are regarded as being some of the few engineering forms close to perfection, but the letters stand for something less boisterous and more good-natured: Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Works.

The secret to their success does not lie in precise astrological predictions or mischievous and blatant employ of corporate espionage, but rather in a dedication to quality and constant pursuit of excellence. Unlike most of the auto manufacturers out there, BMW hasn't focused on a vehicle as a whole but started from its primary source of power, the engine, which has been perfected by generations of engineers over a close-to-a-century time span. The 'cardio-approach' BMW took resulted into obscenely efficient performance-happy engines that literally rocketed the company formed by Karl Friedrich Rapp in October 1913 straight to the sky.

Rapp's company, 'Rapp-Motorenwerke' - that would later become BMW - focused mainly on aircraft engines due to the large demand at the time, fueled by the imminence of Wold War I. Despite the need for aircraft engines, Rapp failed to sale his powerplants due to a reliability flaw caused by unwanted engine vibrations. However, his neighbor Gustav Otto, who was also the owner of an aircraft engine plant, enjoyed a great deal of success.

Struggles to keep 'Rapp-Motorwerke' afloat failed and, by 1916, Karl Rapp resigned under the weight of the financial difficulties that had been pressing against the factory's lungs for a few years. As in the case of other car brands, such as Bentley or Aston Martin, expected and highly predicable 'Hollywoodian' rescuers came along and fended off the threats. Austrian triumvirate formed by new company owners Franz-Josef Popp and financier Camillo Castiglioni relaunched the Motoren Werke by persuading Gustav Otto into a merger that would prove mutually beneficial. Thus, the 'Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke' or BFW was formed.

Shortly after the new entity was born, its name turned into the murmur of what would later become a shout-out for quality automobiles: BMW. By the time the 20's came with the Charleston and its afferent bizarre fashion sense, BMW had already developed a range of highly-appreciated airplane engines that had garnered tons of acclaim - especially after the 1918-improved Type IIIA engine successfully powered a biplane to the impressive height of 16,404 feet in a mere 29 minutes.

The beginning of the 20's also happily slapped BMW with its still unchanged to this day logo, mimicking the motion of a white propeller on a sky-blue background. While enjoying the heights of an appreciated and sought for brand, BMW was brutally pulled back to earthy existence once the World War was over. The Treaty of Versailles prohibited BMW from continuing its activity and the company switched to manufacturing air brakes for railway cars.

Forced by the Versailles-imposed conditions, the company found itself searching for other alternatives and soon enough came to focus on developing motorcycle engines. Over a two-year period of time (from 1920 to 1922), BMW built two motorcycle models, the Victoria and the Flink. Their success was consequently marked by the building of the first BMW factory, that would further kick the brand to new heights.

Although BMW motorcycles encountered sales problems due to defective suspension, the company still managed to hold a constant leading position in aeronautical engineering. By 1927 the company was the proud  holder of just over one third of the aviation records of those time, with an astonishing 29 out of an overall 87. Two-wheeled vehicles quickly turned into four-wheeled ones in 1928, when the Austin license-built Dixi 3/15 rolled out the factory doors.

Only one year later, BMW made the headlines once again, this time by setting a new motorcycle-speed record through their Ernst Henne ridden 750 cc bike, that reached the speed of 134.65 mph (216.75 km/h).

Swinging from breaking world records to engineering innovations, BMW hit the bull's eye once more in 1932, with the launch of their new car model, the 3/20 PS. The 782 cc 4 cylinder powered car was the first one independently produced by BMW. Shortly after the waves of acclaim generated by the new machine, the company announces its next model, the 303 saloon, that would bring a persistent trait in all future BMW engine configurations: the 6 cylinder one.

Only years after the launch of the 303 in 1933, BMW continued its world record breaking streak, at the same time with the beginning of a new chapter in its cylinder-powered existence: the development of the company's first roadster, the 328 model (1936), and a row of motor sport wins over the following two years.

As time passed by, BMW got bigger and bigger and, shortly before the Wold War II outbreak, took over some more factories in the vicinity of Berlin. More motor sport wins were to follow, with Baron Fritz Huschke von Kanstein winning the Mille Miglia race in 1940s.

Needless to mention, war necessities threw the company into military equipment production policies once more. Despite the lengthy world conflict, BMW developed some of its greatest pieces of machinery, such as the R57 Wehrmacht military motorcycle, as well as the 109-300 jet engine which was one of the first jet engines in the world to enter mass production.

After recovering from the 1944 bombings that heavily damaged their plant in Munich, BMW received permission to repair Allied army motorized equipment at their plant in Allach. Due to BMW's versatility and need for mechanized faming implements and spare parts, the first BMW bicycle was born. Soon after the genesis of the leg-powered two-wheeled vehicle, BMW received a hard blow from the US army, that had ordered the dismantling of the Munich and Allach plants.

After a 5-year absence from the Germany industry, BMW returned in style. Crossing the ocean all the way to New York, BMW debuted their first motorcycle in almost 2 decades - following their last one at the beginning of the 40's. More success awaited in the line for BMW, as their R68 motorcycle model developed in the 50's quickly became a standard-setter among international motorcycle manufacturers. Meanwhile a previous model, the  R67/2, reached the 100,000 threshold in 1953.

BMW receives further acclaims in the years to come, as it establishes itself as an engineering force to be reckoned with. The 1955 Isetta, powered by a 12/13 hp motorcycle engine, becomes a favorite among customers. The result? Over 160,000 units are sold, transforming the Isetta into a symbol of the post-war decade.

Besides coming up with newer models and bending technological improvements on their cars, BMW also held a privileged position among race winners around the world. After the development of the 507 and 600 models, BMW unleashed a shout of childish joy, grabbing an impressive win in the 1958 Austrian GP, through Ernst Hiller.

With the help of Herbert Quandt, BMW, still a share-owned company, is brought one step closer to independence. Exterior offers of selling or fusion were turned down despite the enormous profits such a transaction would have led to. The 700 model entered the production lines, together with the R69, BMW's top motorcycle line-up model.

The 60's brought a multitude of achievements with the 1500 and 1600 series, as well as a range of new sedans, the 2500, 2800, American Bavaria and the 2.5 CS and 2800 CS coupe models. BMW proved once more that it hasn't left its king-of-the-hill-of-racing spot, as Austrian racing driver Dieter Quester scored several victories in the Formula Two series (as well as a triple European touring car champion title in 1968, 1969 and 1977).

However, BMW did not stop there. After having bestowed a great deal of mechanics magic upon the world, the company resumed its entertainment through development and unveiled the 2002 Turbo model in 1973. Following the success of its earlier aircraft engine, the 2002 Turbo is one of the first ever turbos to enter mass-production.

Production lines that would become worldwide pieces of success soon came out, such as the 6 and 7 series and the recently reconstructed BMW M1 model. By the end of the 70's, BMW had dug deep into other car-improvement related fields as well, and electronics proved to be the perfect ground for growing BMW's next generation of computerized car devices. Economic fuel research then became top priority. Not only the company was quick in adapting to the fast-moving tendencies of those times, but it also became a steady and reliable supplier of armored cars for different private and public clients.

Racing never lost its fans, consequently BMW never lost enthusiasm in racing. The 80's marked (finally) BMW's involvement in Formula One racing. It was in 1983 that BMW was handed its first title in the series, with Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet becoming king of the Formula One World Racing Championship. At the same time, the 5 series entered a new enhancement stage and was gifted the 518i engine and the powerful M535i. 'M' set a new standard in power and stamina. The M5 and M3 models launched in 1985 and 1986 consequently joined the pinnacle of engineering accuracy and true power and beauty among sports cars enthusiasts.

Research started to be heavily reinforced and reached new uncharted areas through the employment of over 6,000 people. Once the Z1 one came along, the profits kept pile-up trend. Caring for the customer and staying ahead of competition was proof enough that BMW had turned into a true, mature brand. Expansion was inevitable and much like a Big Bang, BMW spreads across the world and inaugurated a new car plant in the US, namely in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The models that were in production at the time slowly received touring versions, which helped BMW cover an even larger slice of the market.

BMW would later reveal the Z8, a successor of the 507, who later made it to the movies. The world wasn't enough and so were BMW's achievements in their own vision. Since 1999, they have been constantly delivering performance vehicles or 'motorized attire' for their wealthy customers out there. Racing has remained a pleasurable and profitable hobby for the German marque, which emerged victorious in three consecutive FIA WTCC seasons from 2005 to 2007. Only recently, BMW engineers and designers paid homage to the M1 through a modern day replica of the sharp-angled 70's original. Sadly enough, the M1 will not be revived through mass production.
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production models:
sort:yearname
BMW X1 specs and photos

BMW X1

suvs

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

4 generations

2022 - present
BMW M8 Coupe specs and photos

BMW M8 Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

2 generations

2022 - present
BMW 8 Series Coupe specs and photos

BMW 8 Series Coupe

coupes

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2022 - present
BMW 3 Series Touring specs and photos

BMW 3 Series Touring

wagons

Gasoline · Diesel · Mild hybrid diesel · Hybrid gasoline · Mild hybrid

9 generations

2022 - present
BMW 8 Series Convertible specs and photos

BMW 8 Series Convertible

convertibles

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2022 - present
BMW X7 specs and photos

BMW X7

suvs

Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid · Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2022 - present
BMW 7 Series specs and photos

BMW 7 Series

sedans

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Hybrid gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid · Electric

12 generations

2022 - present
BMW M8 Convertible specs and photos

BMW M8 Convertible

convertibles

Gasoline

2 generations

2022 - present
BMW 3 Series Sedan specs and photos

BMW 3 Series Sedan

sedans

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Mild hybrid diesel · Hybrid gasoline · Mild hybrid

10 generations

2022 - present
BMW X4 specs and photos

BMW X4

suvs

Gasoline · Diesel · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

3 generations

2021 - present
BMW X3 specs and photos

BMW X3

suvs

Diesel · Gasoline · Mild hybrid · Mild hybrid diesel · Hybrid gasoline

6 generations

2021 - present
BMW 2 Series Coupe specs and photos

BMW 2 Series Coupe

coupes

Diesel · Gasoline

3 generations

2021 - present
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe specs and photos

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

coupes

Diesel · Gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

3 generations

2021 - present
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer specs and photos

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

hatchbacks

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Hybrid gasoline · Mild hybrid

3 generations

2021 - present
BMW 4 Series Coupe specs and photos

BMW 4 Series Coupe

coupes

Diesel · Gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

3 generations

2020 - present
BMW 5 Series Sedan specs and photos

BMW 5 Series Sedan

sedans

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Hybrid gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

11 generations

2020 - present
BMW 5 Series Touring specs and photos

BMW 5 Series Touring

wagons

Diesel · Gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

8 generations

2020 - present
BMW 4 Series Convertible specs and photos

BMW 4 Series Convertible

convertibles

Diesel · Gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

3 generations

2020 - present
BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo specs and photos

BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo

hatchbacks

Diesel · Gasoline · Mild hybrid diesel · Mild hybrid

2 generations

2020 - present
BMW M4 Convertible specs and photos

BMW M4 Convertible

convertibles

Gasoline

2 generations

2021 - present
BMW M4 specs and photos

BMW M4

coupes

Gasoline

2 generations

2020 - present
BMW M5 specs and photos

BMW M5

sedans

Gasoline

11 generations

2021 - present
BMW 1 Series specs and photos

BMW 1 Series

hatchbacks

Gasoline · Diesel

6 generations

2019 - present
BMW X6 specs and photos

BMW X6

suvs

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Hybrid diesel

4 generations

2019 - present
BMW X5 M specs and photos

BMW X5 M

suvs

Gasoline

3 generations

2019 - present
BMW X5 specs and photos

BMW X5

suvs

Diesel · Gasoline · Hybrid · Mild hybrid diesel

6 generations

2018 - present
BMW M3 Sedan specs and photos

BMW M3 Sedan

sedans

Gasoline

5 generations

2020 - present
BMW M2 specs and photos

BMW M2

coupes

Gasoline

3 generations

2019 - present
BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer  specs and photos

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer

hatchbacks

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2018 - present
BMW X6 M specs and photos

BMW X6 M

suvs

Gasoline

3 generations

2019 - present
BMW i3 specs and photos

BMW i3

hatchbacks

Electric · Hybrid

3 generations

2017 - present
BMW 2 Series Convertible  specs and photos

BMW 2 Series Convertible

convertibles

Gasoline · Diesel

2 generations

2017 - present
BMW 1 Series 3 doors specs and photos

BMW 1 Series 3 doors

hatchbacks

Diesel · Gasoline

4 generations

2017 - present
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo specs and photos

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

sedans

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2016 - present
BMW Z4 Roadster specs and photos

BMW Z4 Roadster

convertibles

Gasoline

6 generations

2018 - present
BMW iX1 specs and photos

BMW iX1

suvs

1 generation

2022 - present
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe specs and photos

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

coupes

Diesel · Gasoline

1 generation

2019 - present
BMW M8 Gran Coupe  specs and photos

BMW M8 Gran Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

2022 - present
BMW i4 specs and photos

BMW i4

suvs

Electric

1 generation

2021 - present
BMW M3 Touring specs and photos

BMW M3 Touring

wagons

Gasoline

1 generation

2022 - present
BMW M4 CS specs and photos

BMW M4 CS

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

2017 - present
BMW X2 specs and photos

BMW X2

suvs

Gasoline · Diesel · Hybrid

1 generation

2018 - present
BMW X4 M specs and photos

BMW X4 M

suvs

Gasoline

2 generations

2021 - present
BMW iX3 specs and photos

BMW iX3

suvs

Electric

1 generation

2020 - present
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe specs and photos

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

sedans

Diesel · Gasoline

1 generation

2019 - present
BMW X3 M specs and photos

BMW X3 M

suvs

Gasoline · Hybrid

2 generations

2021 - present
BMW 1 Series Sedan specs and photos

BMW 1 Series Sedan

sedans

Gasoline

1 generation

2017 - present
BMW iX specs and photos

BMW iX

suvs

Electric

1 generation

2021 - present
BMW iX M specs and photos

BMW iX M

suvs

Electric

1 generation

2022 - present
 
discontinued models:
sort:yearname
BMW 1 Series Cabriolet specs and photos

BMW 1 Series Cabriolet

convertibles

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2010 - 2013
BMW 1 Series Coupe specs and photos

BMW 1 Series Coupe

coupes

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2010 - 2013
BMW 1 Series M Coupe specs and photos

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

2010 - 2012
BMW 1500/1600 specs and photos

BMW 1500/1600

sedans

Gasoline

2 generations

1966 - 1975
BMW 2000 CS specs and photos

BMW 2000 CS

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1965 - 1969
BMW 2002 specs and photos

BMW 2002

coupes

Gasoline

2 generations

1973 - 1975
BMW 2800 CS specs and photos

BMW 2800 CS

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1968 - 1971
BMW 3 Series  Cabriolet specs and photos

BMW 3 Series Cabriolet

convertibles

Gasoline · Diesel

6 generations

2010 - 2013
BMW 3 Series Compact specs and photos

BMW 3 Series Compact

hatchbacks

Gasoline · Diesel

2 generations

2001 - 2005
BMW 3 Series Coupe specs and photos

BMW 3 Series Coupe

coupes

Gasoline · Diesel

7 generations

2010 - 2013
BMW 3.0 CSi specs and photos

BMW 3.0 CSi

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1971 - 1975
BMW 3.0 CSL specs and photos

BMW 3.0 CSL

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1971 - 1975
BMW 3/15 PS specs and photos

BMW 3/15 PS

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1929 - 1932
BMW 3/20 PS specs and photos

BMW 3/20 PS

convertibles

Gasoline

1 generation

1932 - 1934
BMW 303 specs and photos

BMW 303

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1933 - 1934
BMW 3200 specs and photos

BMW 3200

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1962 - 1965
BMW 326 specs and photos

BMW 326

sedans

Gasoline

1 generation

1936 - 1941
BMW 327 specs and photos

BMW 327

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1938 - 1941
BMW 328 specs and photos

BMW 328

convertibles

Gasoline

1 generation

1936 - 1939
BMW 335 specs and photos

BMW 335

sedans

Gasoline

1 generation

1939 - 1941
BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo specs and photos

BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo

hatchbacks

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2013 - 2017
BMW 501/502 specs and photos

BMW 501/502

sedans

Gasoline

1 generation

1952 - 1964
BMW 502 Coupe specs and photos

BMW 502 Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1954 - 1955
BMW 503 specs and photos

BMW 503

coupes

Gasoline

2 generations

1956 - 1959
BMW 507 specs and photos

BMW 507

convertibles

Gasoline

2 generations

1956 - 1959
BMW 6 Series Convertible specs and photos

BMW 6 Series Convertible

convertibles

Gasoline · Diesel

4 generations

2015 - 2018
BMW 6 Series Coupe specs and photos

BMW 6 Series Coupe

coupes

Gasoline · Diesel

6 generations

2015 - 2018
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe specs and photos

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

sedans

Diesel · Gasoline

2 generations

2015 - 2018
BMW 8 Series specs and photos

BMW 8 Series

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1989 - 1999
BMW i8 specs and photos

BMW i8

coupes

Hybrid

2 generations

2018 - 2020
BMW i8 Roadster specs and photos

BMW i8 Roadster

convertibles

Hybrid

1 generation

2018 - 2020
BMW Isetta specs and photos

BMW Isetta

hatchbacks

Gasoline

1 generation

1955 - 1962
BMW M1 specs and photos

BMW M1

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

1978 - 1981
BMW M3 Cabriolet specs and photos

BMW M3 Cabriolet

convertibles

Gasoline

3 generations

2008 - 2013
BMW M3 Coupe specs and photos

BMW M3 Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

7 generations

2010 - 2013
BMW M4 GTS specs and photos

BMW M4 GTS

coupes

Gasoline

1 generation

2015 - 2016
BMW M5 Touring specs and photos

BMW M5 Touring

wagons

Gasoline

2 generations

2007 - 2010
BMW M6 Cabrio specs and photos

BMW M6 Cabrio

convertibles

Gasoline

3 generations

2014 - 2018
BMW M6 Coupe specs and photos

BMW M6 Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

4 generations

2014 - 2018
BMW M6 Gran Coupe specs and photos

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

sedans

Gasoline

1 generation

2013 - 2018
BMW Z1 specs and photos

BMW Z1

convertibles

Gasoline

1 generation

1988 - 1991
BMW Z3 Coupe specs and photos

BMW Z3 Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

2 generations

1998 - 2002
BMW Z3 Roadster specs and photos

BMW Z3 Roadster

convertibles

Gasoline

2 generations

1997 - 2003
BMW Z4 Coupe specs and photos

BMW Z4 Coupe

coupes

Gasoline

2 generations

2006 - 2009
BMW Z8 specs and photos

BMW Z8

convertibles

Gasoline

1 generation

2000 - 2003