100 Years of BMW: The Most Significant Models in its Record Books

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 10, 2016

Bayerishce Motoren Werke, or as most of us call it, BMW, is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this March and as you may know already it unveiled the amazing Vision Next 100 Concept.

This luxury vehicle, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company started out in Munich, Germany way back in 1916 and has since then become one of the world leaders in automobile production.

Even during the brink of economic hardship during the World War I and II, this German brand was able to endure financial hardships by building some of the best automobiles of all time.

We bring you a list of some of the most important BMW cars that has walked (or ran) the earth.

BMW Dixi

It was only after the First World War and in the 1920s that BMW was able to build its first car prototypes. And it wasn’t until 1928 that the Dixi was born. By that time, the German economy was slowly falling apart and large cars were not a commodity.

When BMW bought the German manufacturer Automobilwerk Eisenach, it brought with it the license to the Austin 7 (which was before licensed from Austin Motor Company).

The Dixi basically looked like the Austin 7 except that it was left-hand drive and in 1929 was then called as the BMW 3/15. The Dixi was BMW’s first car to wear its signature propeller badge.

BMW 700

It was in 1950 when BMW felt the downfall of the German economy. But all thanks to the four-door BMW 700, the company regained its finances and slowly made its way past financial doom.

The rear-engined 700 only weighed 612 kilograms and was one of the first cars to use a monocoque chassis construction.

The 700 did not only keep BMW afloat but it also paved the way for the ‘Neue Klasse’ of saloons and coupes which became the forefather of the next generation BMWs.

BMW 2002

The next BMW superstar was developed between the 60s and the 70s. The “crowning model in the Neue Klasse”, the 2002 was a sporty and compact forerunner of the 3 Series and has since then set the standards for the modern BMW.

Back then, it was one of the first to have a unibody design and had an independent rear suspension. It was also famous for possessing two of BMW’s most famous hallmarks: deft handling and perfect weight distribution.

Another version of the 2002, the 2002 Turbo, was the first car ever produced in Europe to make use of the turbocharger. The 2002 Turbo was lightweight and powerful and inspired models such as the 1M Coupe and the new M2.

BMW 3-Series E21

From the day it was released to the public, the BMW 3 Series has been one of its staples for more than four decades and since then has earned a right to be on a pedestal. It has become a standard for premium German cars combining comfort, luxury, power and technology.

Once the original E21 3 Series was produced, it outshined Vauxhalls, Rovers and Fords and it was able to nearly double BMW’s sales figures in three years. Even after 6 generations, the E21 3 Series remains to be one of the world’s most popular and best-loved cars.

BMW M1

Oddly enough, BMW being one of the most revered auto manufacturing companies, has since produced only one true supercar. That is, the legendary M1.

It was intended to be used to compete in the Procar Championship series but later on was reverse homologated for street use.

On top of its Guigiaro-styled bodywork, it can create 277 horsepower from its 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine and has a maximum speed of 162 mph. There are only 453 of these babies, and right now, it is considered to be one of the rarest and most priced BMW cars in history.

BMW M3 E30

The “God’s Chariot” as most people call it, the E30 M3 built by BMW M holds the record for winning the most races in motorsport history.

It was built on the second-generation 3 Series with an upgraded suspension, better brakes and naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. E30 M3 was also the first BMW with the hallowed M3 badge. Its razor-sharp driving dynamics sets it apart from the other M3s even with only 217 horsepower.

BMW i8

And lastly is the BMW i8. This stunning beauty does not sacrifice looks for performance. It has a very futuristic body design powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine alongside its electric motor.

A hybrid car, the i8 produces a maximum output of 357 bhp and a fuel economy rating of 134.5 mpg.

BMW does not disappoint as it does not sacrifice efficiency for hybridisation and electrification in the i8. Even with its hybrid power and efficiency, the i8 has always maintained the most basic ingredients to become a true-blooded Bimmer.

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