Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (German pronunciation: German for Bavarian Motor Works), usually known under its abbreviation BMW , is a German luxury vehicle, motorcycle, and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It is one of the best-selling luxury automakers in the world. The company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index. Headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, BMW owns Mini cars and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcars under the BMW Motorsport division and motorcycles under BMW Motorrad, and plug-in electric cars under the BMW i sub-brand and the “iPerformance” model designation within the regular BMW lineup.
The New Class (German: Neue Klasse) was a line of compact sedans and coupes starting with the 1962 1500 and continuing through the last 2002s in 1977. Powered by BMW’s celebrated four-cylinder M10 engine, the New Class models had a fully independent suspension, MacPherson struts in front, and front disc brakes. Initially a family of four-door sedans and two-door coupes, the New Class line was broadened to two-door sports sedans with the addition of the 02 Series 1600 and 2002 in 1966.
Sharing little in common with the rest of the line beyond power train, the sporty siblings caught auto enthusiasts’ attention and established BMW as an international brand. Precursors to the famed BMW 3 Series, the two-doors’ success cemented the firm’s future as an upper tier performance car maker. New Class four-doors with numbers ending in “0” were replaced by the larger BMW 5 Series in 1972. The upscale 2000C and 2000CS coupes were replaced by the six-cylinder BMW E9, introduced in 1969 with the 2800CS. The 1600 two-door was discontinued in 1975, and the 2002 was replaced by the 320i in 1975.
The 1 Series, originally launched in 2004, is BMW’s smallest car. Currently available are the second generation hatchback (F20/F21) and its two-door counterparts, the 2 Series coupe and convertible (F22/F23). The 3 Series, a compact executive car manufactured since model year 1975, is currently in its sixth generation (F30); models include the sports sedan (F30), the fourth generation station wagon (F31) and the Gran Turismo. Starting with the current generation, the 3 Series coupe and convertible are now branded as 4 Series models (F32 and F33 respectively). The 5 Series is a mid-size luxury car, available in sedan (F10) and station wagon (F11) forms. The 5 Series Gran Turismo (F07), which debuted in 2010, created a segment between station wagons and crossover SUV.
BMW’s full-size flagship executive sedan is the 7 Series. Typically, BMW introduces many of their innovations in the 7 Series, such as the iDrive system. The latest generation (G11) debuted in 2015. Based on the 5 Series’ platform, the 6 Series is BMW’s grand touring luxury sport coupe/convertible (F12/F13). A 2-seater roadster and coupe which succeeded the Z3, the Z4 has been sold since 2002.
BMW X3 (F25) The X3 (F25), BMW’s second crossover SUV (called SAV or “Sports Activity Vehicle” by BMW) debuted in 2010 and replaced the X3 (E83)-), which was based on the E46 3 Series’ platform, and had been in production since 2003. Marketed in Europe as an off roader, it benefits from BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The all-wheel drive X5 (E53) was BMW’s first crossover SUV (SAV), based on the 5-Series, and is a mid-size luxury SUV sold by BMW since 2000. A 4-seat crossover SUV released by BMW in December 2007, the X6 is marketed as a “Sports Activity Coupe” (SAC) by BMW. The X1 is now in its second generation and extends the BMW X-lineup.