BMW is a German car manufacturer that has been creating some of the most sought-after cars for over 100 years. Be it small convertibles, family sedans or SUVs, the company offers something for everyone with its legendary models and its current range of new models. Find out more about BMW!
BMW’s origins date back to 1916, when Karl Rapp founded Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aviation Works) to license French designs – Rapp had previously tried to build his own, but without success. At the outbreak of World War I, he saw an opportunity to create an airline company that could support Germany’s military ambitions by providing combat aircraft for the army and navy. The first planes were produced at the Rappa factory in 1917, but these were French designs. In 1918, Rapp left to become a pilot and handed the company over to his brother Gustav, who managed it from 1916. Gustav changed the company’s name from Bayerische Flugzeugwerke to BMW (Bavarian Aviation Company). The first BMW planes, including the mass-produced Junkers D.I, made their debut in 1917, although BMW was too small to mass-produce these planes during the war.
In 1926 they became so famous that they were invited to a partnership by the Albatross Flugzeugwerke; both companies merged with Fokker-Flugzeugwerke to form Albatros-Flugzeugwerke. It was at this time that BMW developed the tradition of painting its planes red, which soon became synonymous with all German WW1 military aircraft. The merger did not take long; the two companies split up again in 1929 after disagreements between shareholders about the plans in which the company should go.
The first BMW Automobile Division was established in 1921, followed by other divisions such as aircraft engines quickly. In the 1920s, the company struggled until the economic conditions stabilized; at that time, it produced parts and other elements for the needs of other car companies. In 1929, BMW began production of its first complete car, the Dixi 3/15 DA-3. The company’s first real success in car production was in 1933 with the 3/20 PS and 3/18 sedans based on the Dixi; They were reliable cars built on a ladder frame, ensuring durability and ease of production. BMW began assembling complete cars in 1934 and becomes an independent car manufacturer in 1936 when Dixi is bought out by BMW’s parent company, Rapp Motorenwerke.
After World War II, the occupying Allied powers divided the assets of Rapp Motorenwerke; since they were mostly used for military production during the war, BMW could retain its name, logo and still focus on aero engines. In 1948, the company began producing well-received motorcycles, which led to the creation in 1952 of the Automobile Department, which produced the first vehicle in 1954. In 1959, BMW began producing cars for the US market, which was a new, lucrative source of income for the company. The BMW New Class and the iconic sports car BMW 507 appeared in 1960.
The first BMW supercar appeared in 1973 with the launch of the M1 coupe, powered by a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produced 277 hp. The successor to the M1 model, the BMW M5, made its debut in 1984. In 1986, BMW bought a large portion of Glas at a bargain price, saving it from bankruptcy. During this time, BMW has established itself as an industry leader thanks to technological advances and forward-looking design; the company has produced, among others the first 850i all-wheel-drive luxury sedan. In 1992, BMW began production of its first luxury sport utility vehicle, creating a segment that did not exist before.
A few years later, in 1999, BMW launched the hugely successful 3 Series compact car. In 2002 and 2003, BMW successfully launched the X5 and X3 compact SUVs. In 2004, BMW purchased Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; the sale closed in January 2005 for over $ 800 million. As a result of this purchase, BMW began selling cars under both brands, including the Phantom luxury sedan and the world’s first production-ready autonomous vehicle, the BMW iDrive system.
BMW introduced its first electric vehicle in 2013, having released several different models of it since then. The company also began producing plug-in hybrid vehicles, which are still available for sale today. In 2015, BMW announced that it would focus on improving urban transport with its self-driving cars to increase safety and improve the quality of driving for residents of large metropolises. BMW also continues to produce high-end luxury cars as well as sports coupes, convertibles and sedans.
Models currently produced by BMW include: compact luxury sedans of the 2 series, 3 series, 4 series and 5 series; compact X1, X3 and X5 SUVs; Z4coupe; 6-series, 7-series and 8-series coupes; X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes (SAC); M vehicles (M3, M5) sport sedans; luxury series 1 vehicles; 7 series luxury vehicles; Z8 sports car; the Z3 convertible; Z4 roadster; Mini Cooper line.