Headquartered in Germany, BMW is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world. In fact, the company is part of the “German Big 3,” the top three luxury automakers in the world (Audi and Mercedes-Benz are the other two). BMW manufacturers motorcycles and engines in addition to automobiles and owns and produces both Mini and Rolls-Royce brand cars. They sold over 1,845,000 automobiles along with 117,100 motorcycles in 2012.
The history of BMW is a fascinating one. The company was established in 1917 to build aircraft-engines for the German military. They were forced to cease production of these engines after the end of World War I in 1918 by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty.
BMW soon shifted its focus from aircraft engines to motorcycle production. By 1923, they were one of the leading motorcycle manufacturers in the world. BMW automobiles began to appear on the market in 1928. But what really earned BMW recognition and success as a company was the BMW Dixi, their most successful car to date.
During the period of German rearmament in the 1930s, BMW began to once again produce aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe. It produced several very successful aircraft engine designs that were widely used during World War II.
Though BMW continued to produce cars after World War II, they fell into steep financial decline by 1959. With threat of liquidation looming, company shareholders decided to cash in on the current car boom. The first car produced after this point used BMW’s motorcycle engine in an Italian Iso Isetta body.
With the success that this initial car brought the company, BMW started to manufacturer automobiles in earnest. Over the years from the 1970s to the present, they shifted their focus over to the luxury car market. BMW is currently considered one of the most reputable companies in the world (indeed, Forbes.com ranked it as #1 in 2012).
BMW’s current flagship model is their BMW 7 Series automobile. They have manufactured this car since 1977.
The BMW 7 Series is available both as a sedan and as an extended-length limousine. It is among their most luxurious offerings. Though the 7 Series has gone through several different generations, each of them has brought with it the utmost in luxury. In fact, BMW’s latest technology and features tend to go into the 7 series before trickling down into other lines of cars.
A high-performance, more modified version of the 7 series is also available. It goes under the name “Alpina B7.” It features performance, rather than luxury, focused features. Among these are a revised engine and specially designed wheels.
BMW currently produces a wide variety of different models of cars with twenty-four in total. Though some of these models are in their first generations of production, many of the more popular ones have gone through several generations already.
The BMW Series category of cars includes the 1 Series E81 (available as a coupe or a convertible), the 2 Series F22 (available as a coupe or a wagon), the 3 Series E93 (available as a convertible), the 4 Series F32/F33/F36 (available as a couple or a convertible), the 7 Series (available as a sedan), the 5 Series F10 (available as a sedan or a wagon), the 6 Series F12 (available as a coupe, convertible, or a gran coupe), the 1 Series F20 (available as a hatchback), the 3 Series F30 (available as a sedan or a wagon), and the $ Series (available as a coupe). BMW additionally produces two progressive activity sedans in the form of the 3 Series Gran Turismo and the 5 Series Gran Turismo.
In addition to the car models above, BMW produces a wide range of luxury sports activity vehicles. These include their X1 (compact crossover SUV), X3 (compact crossover SUV), X5 (mid-size crossover SUV), and X6 (sports activity coupe). They additionally offer a sport roadster branded as the Z4.
A number of high-performance models of their cars are also available as M models. Their current M models include the M3 Sedan, M4 Coupe, M5 Saloon, M6, X5 M SUV, and X6 M SUV.
The BMW i3 Sedan is BMW’s first fully electric car.
With such a long and prestigious history in the automobile industry, BMW has had a long list of previous models of cars that are no longer produced today.
The most well known among these is no doubt BMW’s New Class models. Produced from 1962 to 2002, these cars were celebrated for their four-cylinder M10 engine, fully independent suspension, and front disc brakes.
Ever since the first BMW motorcycle was produced in 1923, the company has been active in motorsports racing. They have been particularly successful in rally racing, formula one, and touring car racing.
BMW is also a charter member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their environmental stewardship and performance.