BMW AG is a car, motorcycle, engine and bicycle manufacturer headquartered in Munich, Germany. The company owns the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. It is among the top three German premium car manufacturers, which are leading in sales worldwide.
In 1913, two small aircraft engine companies were founded in Munich by Carl Rapp and Gustav Otto. After the outbreak of the First World War, their products increased dramatically, and the owners of the two companies decided to unite. So in 1917, a company called Bayerische MotorenWerke (“Bavarian Motor Plants”) appeared.
After the war, the release of aircraft engines in Germany was banned under the Versailles Treaty. Then the owners of the company redeployed to the production of motorcycle engines, and later motorcycles. However, despite the high quality of the products, the business of the company did not go well.
In the early 1920s, businessmen Gothoer and Shapiro bought BMW. In 1928, they acquired a car factory in Eisenach, and with it the right to produce Dixie cars, which were turned into British Austin 7.
The subcompact Dixi was quite progressive for its time: it was equipped with a four-cylinder engine, an electric starter and brakes on all four wheels. The car immediately became popular in Europe: in 1928 alone, 15,000 Dixi were produced. In 1929, the model was renamed the BMW 3/15 DA-2.
During the Great Depression, the Bavarian automaker survived by the release of a licensed subcompact. However, it soon became clear that the manufacturer of aircraft engines with a worldwide reputation could not be content with the release of a British car. Then BMW engineers began working on their own car.
The first BMW model of its own design was 303. It immediately got a powerful start on the market thanks to a 1.2-liter six-cylinder engine with a power of 30 hp. With a weight of only 820 kg, the car had excellent dynamic characteristics for that time. At the same time, the first outline of the design of the characteristic grille of the brand in the form of elongated ovals appeared.
The platform of this car was then used to produce models 309, 315, 319 and 329.
In 1936, an impressive BMW 328 sports car appeared. Among the innovative engineering developments in this model were an aluminum chassis, a tubular frame and a hemispherical engine combustion chamber, which ensured more durable and productive pistons and valves.
This car is considered the first in the popular lineup CSL today. In 1999, he entered the top 25 finalists of the international competition “Car of the Century.” 132 automotive journalists from all over the world voted.
BMW 328 became the winner of many sporting events, including Mille Miglia (1928), RAC Rally (1939), Le Mans 24 (1939).
In 1937, the BMW 327 appears, notable for being produced with a break until 1955, including in the zone of the Soviet occupation. She was represented in the coupe and convertible. Initially, a 55-horsepower engine was installed on the cars, and later an optional 80-hp power unit was proposed.
The model received a shortened frame from the BMW 326. The brakes were equipped with hydraulic all-wheel drive. The metal surfaces of the body were mounted on a wooden frame. The doors of the convertible opened forward, the coupe – back. To achieve the required angle of inclination, the front and rear glass were made of two parts.
A six-cylinder in-line engine from the model 328 with two Solex carburetors and a double chain transmission from BMW 326 was installed behind the front axle. The car accelerated to 125 km / h. Its price ranged from 7,450 to 8,100 marks.
During World War II, the company did not manufacture automobiles, but focused on the production of aircraft engines. In the postwar years, most of the enterprises were destroyed, some fell into the zone of occupation of the USSR, where cars from the existing components continued to be produced.
The remaining plants, according to the plan of the Americans, were subject to demolition. However, the company began producing bicycles, household goods and lightweight motorcycles, which helped maintain production capacity.
The first post-war car begins to be produced in the autumn of 1952. Work on its design began before the war. It was a model 501 with a six-cylinder inline engine of 2 liters and a power of 65 hp. The maximum speed of the car was 135 km / h. According to this indicator, the car was inferior to its rivals from Mercedes-Benz.
Nevertheless, he presented some innovations to the automotive world, including curved glasses, as well as lightweight light alloy parts. The model did not bring the company a good profit at home and bought up badly abroad. The company was slowly approaching the financial abyss.
The Bavarian automaker decided to concentrate on the production of mass cars. The first of these was the model Isetta with an interesting appearance. It was a compact car with a door that opened in front of the body. It was a very cheap car, ideal for moving quickly over short distances. In some countries, they could be controlled with motorcycle rights only.
The car was completed with a single-cylinder engine of 0.3 liters and a power of 13 hp. The power plant allowed it to accelerate to 80 km / h. For those who like traveling, a small trailer with one and a half beds was offered. In addition, there was a cargo version of the model with a small trunk, which was used by the police. Until the early 1960s, about 160,000 units of the car were produced. It was he who helped the company to withstand financial difficulties.
In 1955, the BMW 503 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The refusal of the central pillar made the car’s body particularly stylish, a 140-horsepower V8 was located under the hood, and the maximum speed of 190 km / h finally made you fall in love with it. However, the price of 29,500 German marks made the model inaccessible to the mass buyer: only 412 BMW 503 units were produced.
A year later, the stunning 507 Roadster appears, on the design of which Earl Albrecht Hertz worked. The car was completed with a 3.2-liter V8 engine, which developed 150 hp. The model accelerated to 220 km / h. She is also known for the fact that out of 252 copies released one bought Elvis Presley who was serving in Germany.
By 1959, BMW was again on the verge of bankruptcy. Luxury sedans did not bring enough cash infusions, like motorcycles. The buyers who recovered after the war no longer wanted to hear about Isetta, and the financial situation was so deplorable that at the shareholders meeting on December 9 the question arose of selling the company to a competitor – Daimler-Benz. The last hope was the release of the BMW 700 with the body of the Italian company Michelotti. It was completed with a small two-cylinder engine of 700 cubic meters. cm and 30 hp This motor clocked a small car up to 125 km / h. BMW 700 was accepted by the public with a bang. For all the time of manufacture, 188,221 copies of the model were sold.
Already in 1961, the company was able to direct the proceeds from the sale of the “700” to the development of a new model, the BMW New Class 1500. However, the most important thing was that the car made it possible to avoid an unfriendly merger with a competitor and helped BMW stay afloat.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961, a novelty was shown, which finally secured the brand’s future high status in the world of auto. It was the 1500 model. In design, it was characterized by the recognizable “Hofmeister bend” on the rear roof pillar, the aggressive front end and the characteristic “nostrils” of the grille.
BMW 1500 was equipped with a 1.5-liter engine with a capacity of 75 to 80 hp. From the start to 100 km / h, the car accelerated in 16.8 seconds, and its maximum speed was 150 km / h. The demand for the model was so overwhelming that the Bavarian automaker opened new factories to satisfy it.
In the same year 1962, the BMW 3200 CS was launched, the body of which was developed by Bertone. Since then, almost all BMW dvuhdverki had the letter C in the title.
Three years later, a coupe with an automatic transmission first appears. It was the BMW 2000 CS, and in 1968, the model 2800 CS overcomes the 200 km / h mark. Manned a 170-strong row “six” car was able to accelerate to 206 km / h.
In the 70s there are cars 3-series, 5-series, 6-series, 7-series. With the release of the 5-series, the brand ceased to focus only on the niche of sports cars and began to develop the direction of comfortable sedans.
In 1972, the legendary BMW 3.0 CSL appears, which can be considered the first project of the M. division. Initially, the car was produced with a six-cylinder in-line engine with two carburetors with a capacity of 180 hp. and a volume of 3 liters. With a car weight of 1,165 kg, it accelerated to the “hundred” in 7.4 seconds. Mass models reduced by the use of aluminum in the manufacture of doors, hood, bonnet and trunk lid.
In August 1972, a version of the model with the Bosch D-Jetronic electronic injection system appears. Capacity increased to 200 hp, acceleration time to 100 km / h was reduced to 6.9 seconds, and the maximum speed was 220 km / h.
In August 1973, the volume of the engine was increased to 3,153 cubic meters. cm, power was 206 hp Special racing models were equipped with engines of 3.2 and 3.5 liters and power, respectively, 340 and 430 hp. In addition, they received special aerodynamic packages.
The “Batmobile”, as it was called, became the winner in six European touring class championships. He distinguished himself also by the fact that the first among the models of the brand received a 24-valve engine, which was later installed on the M1 and M5. With it, tests were conducted ABS, which then went to the 7-series.
In 1974, the world’s first turbocharged production car, the 2002 Turbo, was released. Its 2-liter engine developed 170 hp This allowed the car to accelerate to 100 km / h in 7 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 210 km / h.
In 1978, there appeared a unique in the history of the road sports car with a central location of the engine. It was developed for homologation: in order to participate in races of groups 4 and 5, it was necessary to manufacture 400 serial auto models. Of the 455 M1s released from 1978 to 1981, only 56 were racing and the rest were road copies.
The design of the car was developed by Giugiaro from ItalDesign, and the work on the chassis was given to Lamborghini.
3.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine producing 277 hp was placed behind the driver’s seat and transmitted torque to the rear wheels through a five-speed transmission. Before the “hundred” the car accelerated in 5.6 seconds, and the maximum speed was 261 km / h.
In 1986, the BMW 750i comes out, which first got the V12 engine. With a volume of 5 liters, he developed 296 hp This car was the first, the speed of which was artificially limited to 250 km / h. Later, other large automakers began to introduce this practice.
In the same year, the fantastic Z1 roadster appears, which was originally developed as an experimental model as part of a brainstorming session. Not limited to anything, engineers “painted” a car with excellent aerodynamics, thanks to the special construction of the bottom, a plastic body on a tubular frame and a futuristic appearance. The doors did not open in any of the usual ways, but were drawn into the rapids.
In its manufacture, the automaker has mastered the technology of using xenon lamps, as well as an integrated frame, door mechanism and pallet. In total, 8,000 model cars were assembled, and 5,000 were pre-ordered.
In 1999, the first BMW SUV appears – a model X5. His sporting character has caused a real hype at the Detroit auto show. The car was characterized by impressive ground clearance, traction control and all-wheel drive for off-road, as well as sufficient power to compete on equal terms with passenger models of the brand on asphalt.
In the years 2000–2003, the BMW Z8 is produced, a two-seat sports car, which many collectors of the brand call one of the most beautiful cars in history.
When creating a design, designers sought to show the model 507, which would be produced at the beginning of the XXI century. She received an aluminum body on a spatial frame, a 5-liter engine with a power of 400 hp. and a six-speed manual gearbox Getrag.
The model was used as a Bond car in the film “And the Whole World Is Not Enough”.
In 2011, BMW AG founded the new BMW i division, which specializes in creating hybrid and electric cars.
The first models released by the division were the i3 hatchback and the i8 coupe. They debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The BMW i3 was launched in 2013. It is equipped with a 168 hp electric motor. and rear wheel drive system. The maximum speed of the car is 150 km / h. The average fuel consumption in the version i3 RangeExtender is 0.6 l / 100 km. The hybrid version of the car received a 650-cc internal combustion engine, which recharges the electric motor.