BMW, or the Bayerische Motoren Werke as it is known in German, is one of the top car makers in the world. Their cars offer many things. First and foremost is luxury and comfort. But don't forget performance. Some BMW models are simply incredible when it comes to performance numbers. The brand also offers the latest gadgets in their cars including satellite navigation, parking aids, and every other driver assists.
For the past eight decades, the famous grille of BMW models is easily recognized around the world. Certainly, a BMW is a classy car. But did you know the company, founded in 1916, started out making aircraft engines? After the First World War, it moved on to first motorcycles and later, automobiles.
Its first car was produced in the late 1920s although it was a copy of an Austin model at the time. After that, BMW started making its own cars and designs, and the company quickly established itself as an important automaker, not only in Germany but the rest of Europe as well.
Following the Second World War, BMW took some time to get back into the business, and it was only in the 1950s that it began producing vehicles. Much like the company's start in the car manufacturing, it first copied a car under license. This small micro car has become a sought-after model today.
Some models followed with BMW building its reputation globally as well. And today, BMW has a range of incredible models in many different categories. But can you identify them?
A hybrid sports car first seen in 2014, the i8 is not only good for the environment, but it is possibly one of the best looking cars on the road today. And for a hybrid, it is incredibly quick, going from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.
Based on the two-seat Isetta microcar, the 600 microcar was bigger and could seat four occupants. It was the first four-person car produced in Germany after the war but was not much of a success in terms of sales. The 600 was powered by a 600cc engine.
Part of the X-series of SUVs, the X5 was introduced by BMW in 1999 and remains in production today. This was the first SUV produced by the company. It is currently in its third generation and offers two gasoline and diesel powerplant options.
Powered by a 4.9-liter V8 motor, the Z8 Roadster not only looked good, but it offered excellent performance as well. Built between 2000 and 2003, the Z8 had been developed since 1993. The company produced 5,703 of them.
BMW M models have a reputation as some of the finest passenger cars ever produced. The M5 was no different, but this was also a beast thanks to its 400 brake horsepower V8 engine.
A truly beautiful and classic styled 2-seat roadster, the 315/1 was marketed from 1934 to 1937. It was powered by a 1.5-liter engine capable of 40 brake horsepower.
Now in its seventh generation, the 5-series was introduced in 1972. Larger than the 3-series, this was the first model to use the number naming convention employed by BMW to this day.
Only 252 units of the 507 convertible were built by BMW between 1959 and 1959. Elvis Presley owned two 507s, which he bought in Germany while stationed there with the U.S. Army.
The Z4 Roadster first hit the streets in 2002 and is still a part of the BMW fleet. Although the first generation included a convertible with a soft-top roof, this was changed to a retractable hardtop from the second generation onwards.
This mid-sized luxury crossover SUV based on the BMW 6 series platform was first produced in 2007. Now in its second generation, around 7,000 are sold in the United States each year.
Introduced in 2002, the 1-series offered BMW fans a smaller car than both the 3 and 5-series. The first generation included a hatchback, not a model type often found in the BMW range.
The first car designed exclusively by BMW, the 3/20 was produced from 1932 to 1934. It was available in three body options, a four-seat saloon, four-seat cabriolet, and a two-seat convertible coupe. The 3/20 was powered by at 788 cc motor.
BMW produced a little over 500 examples of this sports touring car from 1962 to 1965. The 3200 Coupe was essentially seen as a 2-door grand tourer and was powered by the first-ever V8 car engine produced by the company.
The i3 is an electric vehicle offering from BMW. Obviously, people buy cars such as these to have as little impact on the environment as possible, but as you would expect from a BMW model, the i3 offers so much more. Performance and handling are both impressive while the interior is top class. This is the perfect car for the environmentally conscious.
Designed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro, the M1 sports car was released in 1978 and built for a three-year period, in which 453 were made. This was BMW's first mid-engined car and was powered by a 3.5-liter double overhead cam straight six engine. It had a top speed of 162 mph.
An economy model in the 02 series, the BMW 1502 first entered production in 1975. Powered by a 1.5-liter engine, the 1502 was marketed until 1977, even though production on the rest of the 02 range was stopped in 1975.
A compact car from BMW, the 2 Series has a range of body styles including a coupe, active tourer and grand tourer. It was first introduced in 2010.
The smallest of BMW's SUV models, the X1 entered the market in 2009. It is currently in its second generation and is powered by either turbo gasoline or diesel engines. Around 100,000 have been sold in the United States since 2012.
Sold for a period of nine years from 1966 to 1975, the BMW 1602 was a two-door cabriolet that included a high-performance version, the TI. This model was not sold in the United States as it did not meet emission requirements at the time.
Released as a 4-door sedan and a 2-door or 4-door cabriolet, the BMW 326 was produced between 1936 and 1941. Powered by a 1.9-liter straight six engine, close to 16,000 were built during a five-year period.
This two-door, two-seater came in the form of a coupe or cabriolet. BMW produced it between 1956 and 1959, with 413 built over that period. It was aimed in particular at the US market, but saleswise, it performed poorly.
Introduced by BMW in 1975, the 3-series is one of the German car maker's top selling brands. In fact, worldwide, over two million of these vehicles have been sold in the last 60 months.
A small family car, the 303 was manufactured by BMW from 1933 to 1934. This was the first of the maker's models to feature the grille that is so famous today as well as being the first BMW vehicle to have a six-cylinder engine.
The most expensive model from BMW, the Gran Coupe was first introduced in 2011. It has a range of powerplant options including diesel and gasoline with the biggest engine a 4.4-liter S63 V8 twin-turbo.
BMW first showed a concept car in 1991, and three models of the Nazca C2 were built before BMW pulled the plug on the project. Powered by a 5.7-liter V12 engine, the Nazca C2 was capable of 193 mph and produced 350 brake horsepower.
The X3 is a compact crossover SUV and part of the X range. It is based on the 3-series platform and was first produced in 2003. The second generation X3 offers two gasoline and two diesel engined models.
Produced from 1936 to 1940, the Roadster from BMW is simply beautiful. This two-seater, open top sportscar was powered by a 2.0-liter straight six engine coupled to a manual 4-speed transmission. Only 464 were built.
The beautiful BMW 501, a mid-sized luxury car designed by Peter Schimanowski, was marketed by the Bavarian auto manufacturer from 1952 to 1962. It was available in three body styles: 4-door sedan, 2-door cabriolet, and 2-door coupe. Top-of-the-range models were powered by a 2.5-liter V8 engine.
Marketed from 1965 to 1969, the BMW 2000 C was two-door coupe part of the BMW series called the New Class. It was powered by a 2.0-liter engine, which produced around 100 brake horsepower. Just over 13,000 were produced during that five-year period.
BMW introduced the 7 series in 1977. It is currently in its sixth generation and is the flagship of this German automaker’s fleet. It comes with a range of engine options including a hybrid model.
The Zagato Roadster was introduced by BMW in 2009 and remained in production until 2016. This was the first BMW convertible to have an automatic hardtop roof. The top of the range model was powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine capable of producing 335 brake horsepower.
An off-road roadster, the Z18 was a concept car from BMW in 1995. It was powered by a 4.4-liter V8, which produced 355 brake horsepower. Incredibly, the body of this vehicle was built out of plastic.
Launched in 2014, the BMW X4 is a 5-door compact crossover SUV. It features a range of engines from 2.0 to 3.0 liters, including diesel and gas driven options.
The 3/15 was the first car produced by BMW and made its debut in 1927. It was originally made under license from Austin in Great Britain until in 1929 when BMW made their own version. BMW also released the DA-3 Wartburg, a sports car version of the 'Dixi,' as it was known.
Around 180,000 models of the BMW 700 were built during its production run from 1959 to 1965. The 700 came in various body styles including saloon, coupe, and convertible. The 700 was powered by a 700 cc motor.
Although it had a strange shape (often called the clown shoe), the M Coupe was another winner from BMW in the 1990s. Released in 1998, the first generation was powered by a 3.2-liter straight-six engine.
The first generation of BMW's famed 3 series was released in 1975 and remained in production until 1983. Over 1,3 million were built and included a convertible model designed with the help of Baur Coachbuilders.
A coup in the Grand Tourer class, the E9 was produced by BMW from 1968 to 1975. It helped to put BMW on the racing map as it was very successful in touring car events around Europe. Around 30,000 were built in total.
One of the most adaptable racing cars ever seen, the BMW E30 M3 won seven touring car championships, two rally championships and was even successful as a hill climber.
First introduced in 1989, the first generation 8 Series was marketed until 1999 as a Grand Tourer and powered by either a V8 or V12 engine. BMW has plans to relaunch the series at some point in 2018.