BMW is a German manufacturer of sports-luxury automobiles and utility vehicles as well as motorcycles. From roadsters to crossovers, BMW are typically recognized for their performance, handling and luxury appointments. The famous M division handles the brand’s ultra-high-performance models. [...]
The ‘30s brought several new models such as the 6-cylinder 303, a mid-size sedan that introduced the brand’s famous kidney grille. Others followed, such as the compact 321 and the 328 convertible sports cars.
After WWII, BMW was in a financial crisis; they decided to purchase the license and tooling for the Isetta microcar from Italian firm Iso. A four-seat version named the 600 also appeared. Meanwhile, the 501 was introduced in 1952, followed by the 502 which featured a V8 engine, the first for a German manufacturer after the war. The 503 and 507 roadsters also appeared from 1956 to 1959. The compact, rear-engined 700 proved successful for BMW.
The New Class line of coupes and sedans arrived in the 60’s in a succession of model designations: 1500, 1502, 1600, 1602, 1502, 1800, 1802, 2000 and—the most famous of them all—the 2002 sport sedan, spiritual predecessor of today’s 3 Series. From the New Six line of cars came the famous 3.0CS coupe and CSL racing derivatives.
BMW’s single-digit series designations were born throughout the ‘70s, starting with the 5 Series, the 3 Series, the 6 Series and the 7 Series. In 1978, BMW’s most famous sports car was introduced, the mid-engined M1. It was sold until 1981.
In the eighties, the brand’s four main car lines soldiered on. The 3 Series, available in coupe, sedan, wagon and cabriolet body styles, added an all-wheel drive version called the 325iX, and the 7 Series received the company’s first V12 engine. Meanwhile, the M-branded performance models continued with the M5, the M6 and the M3. The Z1 roadster appeared in Europe in 1989, and that same year, the 8 Series coupé was launched in replacement of the 6 Series and enjoyed a 10-year production run.
The 3rd-generation 3 Series appeared in 1990, and soon after came a truncated liftback version called the 318ti. A new roadster was introduced in 1996 as the Z3, while a coupe version was also offered from 1999 to 2002. Both versions of the Z3 received their M-badge variant, called the M Roadster and M Coupé.
In the 2000s, the German brand released in limited-run Z8 roadster, launched the Z4 to replace the Z3, revived the 6 Series in coupé and cabriolet body styles and introduced the 1 Series coupé and cabriolet. BMW’s line-up also started to add sport-utility vehicles, such as the compact X3 as well as the mid-size X5 and X6. Hybrid versions were also developed, becoming the ActiveHybrid 7 and ActiveHybrid X6.
Today, BMW’s product range consists of the compact 1 Series and 3 Series, the mid-size 5 Series sedan and Gran Turismo hatchback, the 6 Series, the 7 Series sedan and ActiveHybrid 7, the X1, X3, X5, X6 and ActiveHybrid X6 crossovers and sport-utilities as well as the Z4 roadster. M-badged versions include the 1 Series M Coupé, the M3 in coupé, sedan and cabriolet formats, the M5, the X5 M and the X6 M.