The BMW badge is one of the most coveted in the business. The blue and white roundel represents the flag of Bavaria and also depicts a white spinning propeller against a blue sky. Today's Beemers are some of the best driver's cars on the road and offer superb reliability and good looks.
BMW Car Reviews
BMW started in 1916 as an aircraft engine manufacturer, under the name Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (BFW), which was changed to Bayerische Motoren Werke in 1917. Following the end of the First World War and the Versailles Armistice Treaty the company was forced to cease aircraft engine production. This caused a shift to motorcycle production, with their first motorcycle being produced in 1923, and later to car production.
BMW bought the Dixi manufacturing company, who were producing the Austin Seven, under licence, in 1928 to make the BMW 3/15 their first car, before beginning to produce and design their own cars in the early 1930’s. As the Second World War broke out, BMW production again shifted to aircraft engines. Again, following the end of the war, BMW found themselves in difficulty as demand for the engines being produced dried up and a ban was imposed on their production. They wouldn’t return to producing motorcycles until 1948, and cars until 1952.
In 1959, with the company in financial crisis, there was a proposal to be taken over by Daimler-Benz, but small shareholders railed and formed a counter proposal to avoid the merger. In 1962 they launched the BMW 1500, the ‘New Class’, and managed to re-define themselves as manufacturers of high quality vehicles. This ‘new class’ continued to be developed, and were the predecessors to the 3 and 5 Series.
In 1994 BMW acquired the Rover Group, which included Rover, Land Rover and MG. These manufacturers have since been sold, however BMW still maintain the rights to the new mini, which was launched in 2001. Today, BMW are pushing innovation forward with their development of hybrid engines and the efficient dynamics.
The 1 Series is a medium family car available in a number of different body shapes; 3 or 5 door hatchback, convertible or coupe. Since its initial introduction in 2004, as a replacement for the 3 Series compact, it has become a popular model with people seeking the quality BMW offers, at a more affordable price. If performance is the main concern, the 1 Series M Coupe provides it with a highly tuned engine and a host of additional extras.
The 3 Series first began production in 1975, as the follow up to the ‘New Class’ launched in 1962. The 6th generation of the infamous model was unveiled late in 2011, arriving in show rooms in 2012. The 3 Series accounts for around a third of BMW’s total car sales, and has been ever-present since it was first introduced. A number of different body shapes are available; saloon, coupe, convertible and touring (estate), depending on whether you’re looking for a medium executive car, large family vehicle, or a sportier coupe. As can be expected there are a range of engines to choose from, including the more highly turned M sport and M3 models.
The 5 Series offers a large executive vehicle that has been around since 1972 and continues to be upgraded, now in its 6th generation. It is BMW’s second most popular model after the 3 Series, and got its name from being the fifth in the ‘new series’ of BMW’s. Today it is offered as a saloon, touring (estate) or gran tourismo model. The touring and gran tourismo editions provide extra space, with the gran tourismo considered a coupe-estate crossover, giving it the advantage of the extra room, with the more sleek design expected from a coupe. There is also an M5 model available as a high performance option.
Now in its 3rd generation, the 6 Series has been around for longer than people realise. Originally launched in 1976, as a replacement to 3.0CS, there was a 14 year hiatus between its discontinuation and the second generations release in 2003. Currently for sale as a coupe, convertible or gran coupe with the choice of the 6.4 litre petrol or diesel engine, or the 6.5 litre petrol.
The BMW 7 Series is a large luxury car. It is highly revered, and thought of as their flagship vehicle, through which a number of BMW’s innovative technologies and exterior design themes are first applied. It is only available as a saloon but can be chosen with a longer wheel base to give the extra space, if required.
In the X Series range there is the X1, X3, X5 and X6. They offer crossover 4 wheel-drives, with the number referring to the series from which they derive. For example the X5 is a large 4x4 derived from the 5 Series, built for comfort and practicality, and the X6, derived from the sportier 6 Series is more focused on performance. Despite being 4x4’s, the X Series vehicles also focus on the on road ability that has made their saloon counterparts so desirable.
The Z4 is a rear-wheel drive sports car, first introduced in 2002 as a replacement for the Z3. The first generation model was available as a roadster or coupe. The coupe has since been discontinued for the second generation, with the company going in favour of a hardtop roadster. Three engines are available, from 3.5 to 2.5 litres, all of which provide an impressive amount of poke.