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Information about BMWBayerische Motoren Werke AG (info) (BMW), (English: Bavarian Motor Works) is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company. Founded in 1916 (101 years ago), it is known for its performance and luxury vehicles. It owns and produces the MINI brand, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The New Class (German: Neue Klasse) was a line of compact sedans and coupes starting with the 1962 (55 years ago) 1500 (517 years ago) and continuing through the last 2002 (15 years ago) in 1977 (40 years ago).
Powered by BMW's celebrated four-cylinder M10 engine, the New Class models featured 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 (417 years ago) and 2002 (15 years ago) in 1966 (51 years ago).
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 (45 years ago). The upscale 2000C and 2000CS coupes were replaced by the six-cylinder BMW E9, introduced in 1969 (48 years ago) with the 2800CS. The 1600 (417 years ago) two-door was discontinued in 1975 (42 years ago), the 2002 (15 years ago) replaced by the 320i in 1975 (42 years ago).
The 1 Series was launched globally in Autumn 2004 (13 years ago) and shares many structural, chassis, powertrain, hardware and electronic elements with the larger 3 Series. The model was started to provide a lower point of entry into the BMW range as the 3 Series moved gradually up-market. Initially launched as a 5-door hatchback, a 3-door version was also launched in Jul. 2007 (10 years ago). The 1 Series is priced between the MINI and the current E90 3 Series. Because the coupe is the only rear wheel drive vehicle in its class, it is somewhat considered the successor to the BMW 2002 (15 years ago).
The 1 Series coupe (E82) and convertible (E88) went on sale in the United States in model year 2008 (9 years ago) as the 128i and the 135i. Other countries received the 120i and 125i in both platforms. The convertible, unlike the 3 Series convertible, uses a soft-top instead of a folding hardtop. This is lighter, cheaper to manufacture and preserves more trunk space than the folding hardtop would allow.
The 1 Series is the only car in its class to offer rear wheel drive, perfect (50:50) weight distribution and highly advanced independent aluminum suspension.
The BMW 3 Series is a compact executive car manufactured since model year 1975 (42 years ago). The 3 Series is currently in its fifth generation, the E90 Current models include the sport sedan (E90), station wagon (E91), coupe (E92), and convertible (E93). Since its first generation, the 3-Series is considered to be the benchmark, and the 3-Series' competitors are often judged on how close they come to this car. In some countries, it has even outsold significantly cheaper models, most notably Ford Mondeo in the UK.
The 3 series is one of BMW's most important models, as it accounts for a majority of its worldwide sales.
A mid-size executive car. For model year 2008 (9 years ago), BMW has revised the 5 Series with a slightly redesigned interior, subtle exterior details, and new motor options.
The M5 is the Motorsport division's version of the 5 Series. The new M5 (built on the E60 5 series chassis) is powered by a F1-inspired V10 engine, producing 507 hp (378 kW) and is mated with a 7-speed SMG transmission, which is capable of a top speed of about 330 km/h (production variants are restricted to 250 km/h, or 155 mph). BMW has also recently added a 6-speed manual transmission for 2007 (10 years ago) and newer models.
The 6 Series is BMW's grand touring luxury sport coupe, based on the 5 Series' platform. Currently available as the 650i in coupe (E63) and convertible (E64) models in the United States, elsewhere available in a diesel and petrol straight-6 option - 630i & 635d. The BMW 6 Series returned in 2004 (13 years ago) after a 15-year absence from BMW's model lineup.
M6: A high performance version of the 6 Series. Developed by BMW's M Division, it is powered by the same 5.0 L V10 507 hp (378 kW) engine seen in the BMW M5. It is currently available in Russia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia and South Africa.
BMW's full-size flagship executive sedan. Typically, BMW introduces many of their innovations first in the 7 Series. For example, the somewhat controversial iDrive system debuted in the 7 Series. The 7 Series Hydrogen, featuring one of the world's first hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines, is fueled by liquid hydrogen and emits only clean water vapor. Since the infrastructure for refueling a hydrogen fueled engine is not widely available, the V12 engine also runs on gasoline. BMW has also developed a newer, more efficient hydrogen combustion engine, now on par with some of the most efficient diesel engines. Numerous engines also power the 7 Series worldwide. BMW offers diesel, straight 6, V8 and V12 motors, as well as the Alpina tuned supercharged V8. It is also available in a bulletproof version.
BMW's second crossover SUV debuted in Nov. 2003 (14 years ago) as a Model Year 2004 (13 years ago) (called SAV or Sports Activity Vehicle by BMW) and is based on the E46/16 3 Series platform. For 2007 (10 years ago), the X3 is powered by the N52 inline 6 cylinder engine that debuted on the 2006 (11 years ago) E90 3 Series. In 2007 (10 years ago) a face lift was given to the X3, including an X-drive update, suspension adjustments, an engine upgrade, and aesthetics inside and out.
As well in 2007 (10 years ago) the BMW X3 range extended with smaller engines including the 4-cylinder petrol and diesel option. These options now becoming available to countries across Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
Marketed in Europe as an off-roader, it benefits from BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.
The BMW X5 (E53) is a mid-size luxury SUV (SAV) sold by BMW since 2000 (17 years ago). It features all-wheel drive and a line of straight-6 and V8 engines. For non-U.S. models there is a 3.0 L diesel engine.
The BMW E70 automobile platform replaced the BMW E53 as the X5's underpinnings in Nov. 2006 (11 years ago). The E70-based X5 SAV features many new technological advancements including BMW's iDrive system as standard equipment and, for the first time in a BMW, an optional third row seat.
The current generation incorporates safety innovations for the crossover segment, such as a unique rear framing section to protect 3rd row occupants from injury due to an impact.
The U.S. E70 features either a 3.0si(253 hp)or a 4.8i(350 hp) powertrain. In most parts of a 3.0d(232 hp)is offered and in North America and most parts of Europe a 3.0sd(282 hp) powertrain is available. For the 2010 (7 years ago) model year the X5 will receive the new iDrive system and the BMW individual audio system along with various other minor updates. Another addition for 2010 (7 years ago) will be the X5 M with 408 kW/555 hp from an all new Twin Turbo V8, it is the first production engine in the world with a common exhaust manifold encompassing both rows of cylinders and Twin Scroll Twin Turbo Technology. It has a more aggressive bodykit and a lowered ride height
The Branding for the X5 from late 2008 (9 years ago) onwards follows the new BMW branding scheme, for example the X5 3.0sd is now called the X5 XDrive 35D and the 4.8 i is called the X5 XDrive 48I.
A crossover coupe SUV released by BMW in dec. 2007 (10 years ago). The X6 is stated as the Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) by the BMW. Great design with the combination of a SUV and a coupe.
From 2008 (9 years ago) the BMW X6 SAC was available as a X6 xDrive 30d, X6 xDrive 35d, X6 xDrive 35i or a X6 xDrive 50i.
With high under-pinnings and luxury features from the BMW 6 Series, the BMW X6 seats only four persons in total. The rear seats share a centre console based from the BMW 3 Series Coupe (E92).
An all new version of the 550i/650i's engine (N62) is being used in the X6 with twin turbo technology from the 135i/335i. The standard engines 340 bhp (250 kW) will be increased to 410 bhp (310 kW). The advanced twin turbos will be placed in the 'v' of the V8 engine, therefore the exhaust and intake manifolds will be in the un-traditional position - exhausts top of the engine and engine intakes directed to the outer sides of the 'v'.
Like the BMW X5 (E70) the BMW X6 will also have an upcoming M version, being the BMW X6 M. Seen in the 2009 (8 years ago) MotoGP as one of the pace cars.
A 2-seater roadster and coupe which succeeded the Z3. From 2006 (11 years ago) the Z4 Roadster is available as a 3.0i (3.0 L I6 with 215 hp), a 3.0si available with the new generation 3.0 L I6 with 255 hp (190 kW), a 2.5si with a 2.5 I6 with 218 bhp (163 kW) or a 2.0i with a 150 bhp (112 kW) 2.0 L I4. The Z4 coupé is available only in the high-performance 3.0si trim powered by the 3.0 L 255 hp (190 kW) I6. The Z4 (E85 Roadster/E86 Coupe) was built at the Spartanburg plant. Its successor, also named Z4 (E89) - this time a coupé-convertible with folding hardtop- will be built in Regensburg alongside the (E93) 3-Series Cabrio.
Z4 M models The new M Roadster and M Coupe have been released with an E46 M3 motor (3.2 L, 333 hp) and also features the M braking, suspension, and styling characteristics.
MotorcyclesBMW began building motorcycle engines and then motorcycles after World War I. Its motorcycle brand is now known as BMW Motorrad. Their first successful motorcycle, after the failed Helios and Flink, was the "R32" in 1923 (94 years ago). This had a "Boxer" twin engine, in which a cylinder projects into the air-flow from each side of the machine. Apart from their single cylinder models (basically to the same pattern), all their motorcycles used this distinctive layout until the early 1980 (37 years ago). Many BMWs are still produced in this layout, which is designated the R Series.
During the Second World War, BMW produced the BMW R75 motorcycle with a sidecar attached. Featuring a unique design copied from the Zündapp KS750, its sidecar wheel was also motor-driven. Combined with a lockable differential, this made the vehicle very capable off-road, an equivalent in many ways to the Jeep.
In 1983 (34 years ago), came the K Series, shaft drive but water-cooled and with either three or four cylinders mounted in a straight line from front to back. Shortly after, BMW also started making the chain-driven F and G series with single and parallel twin Rotax engines.
In the early 1990s, BMW updated the airhead Boxer engine which became known as the oilhead. In 2002 (15 years ago), the oilhead engine had two spark plugs per cylinder. In 2004 (13 years ago) it added a built-in balance shaft, an increased capacity to 1170 (847 years ago) cc and enhanced performance to 100 hp (75 kW) for the R1200GS, compared to 85 hp (63 kW) of the previous R1150GS. More powerful variants of the oilhead and hexhead engines are available in the R1100S and R1200S, producing 98 hp (73 kW) and 122 hp (91 kW), respectively.
In 2004 (13 years ago), BMW introduced the new K1200S Sports Bike which marked a departure for BMW. It is both powerful (the engine is a 167 hp (125 kW) unit derived from the company's work with the Williams F1 team) and significantly lighter than previous K models. It was BMW's latest attempt to keep up with the pace of development of sports machines from the likes of Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki. Innovations include a unique electronically adjustable front and rear suspension, and a Hossack-type front fork BMW calls Duolever.
BMW was one of the earliest manufacturers to offer anti-lock brakes on production motorcycles starting in the late 1980 (37 years ago). The generation of anti-lock brakes available on the 2006 (11 years ago) and later BMW motorcycles pave the way for the introduction of sophisticated electronic stability control, or anti-skid technology – a first for production motorcycles – later in the 2007 (10 years ago) model year.
BMW has been an innovator in motorcycle suspension design, taking up telescopic front suspension long before most other manufacturers. Then they switched to Earles Fork, front suspension by swinging fork (1955 to 1969 (48 years ago)). Most modern BMWs are truly rear swingarm, single sided at the back (compare with the regular swinging fork usually, and wrongly, called swinging arm).
Some BMWs started using yet another trademark front suspension design, the Telelever, in the early 1990 (27 years ago). Like the Earles Fork, the Telelever significantly reduces dive under braking.
HistoryAfter World War I, BMW was forced to cease aircraft (engine) production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. The company consequently shifted to motorcycle production in 1923 (94 years ago) once the restrictions of the treaty started to be lifted, followed by automobiles in 1928-29.
The circular blue and white BMW logo or roundel is portrayed by BMW as the movement of an aircraft propeller, to signify the white blades cutting through the blue sky – an interpretation that BMW adopted for convenience in 1929 (88 years ago), twelve years after the roundel was created. The emblem evolved from the circular Rapp Motorenwerke company logo, from which the BMW company grew, combined with the white and blue colors of the flag of Bavaria, reversed to produce the BMW roundel.
BMW's first significant aircraft engine was the BMW IIIa inline-six liquid-cooled engine of 1918 (99 years ago), much preferred for its high-altitude performance. With German rearmament in the 1930s, the company again began producing aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe. Among its successful WWII engine designs were the BMW 132 and BMW 801 air-cooled radial engines, and the pioneering BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet, which powered the tiny, 1944-45-era jet-powered "emergency fighter", the Heinkel He 162 Salamander. The BMW 003 jet engine was tested in the A-1b version of the world's first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262, but BMW engines failed on takeoff, a major setback for the jet fighter program until successful testing with Junkers engines.
By 1959 (58 years ago) the automotive division of BMW was in financial difficulties and a shareholders meeting was held to decide whether to go into liquidation or find a way of carrying on. It was decided to carry on and to try to cash in on the current economy car boom enjoyed so successfully by some of Germany's ex-aircraft manufacturers such as Messerschmitt and Heinkel. Therefore the rights to manufacture the tiny Italian Iso Isetta were bought using a modified form of BMW's own motorcycle engine. This was moderately successful and helped the company get back on its feet. The dominating shareholder of the BMW Aktiengesellschaft since 1959 (58 years ago) is the Quandt family, which owns about 46% of the stock. The rest is in public float.
In 1992 (25 years ago), BMW acquired a large stake in Californian-based industrial design studio DesignworksUSA, which they fully acquired in 1995 (22 years ago). In 1994 (23 years ago), BMW bought the British Rover Group (which at the time consisted of the Rover, Land Rover and MG brands as well as the rights to defunct brands including Austin and Morris), and owned it for six years. By 2000 (17 years ago), Rover was making huge losses and BMW decided to sell the combine. The MG and Rover brands were sold to the Phoenix Consortium to form MG Rover, while Land Rover was taken over by Ford. BMW, meanwhile, retained the rights to build the new MINI, which was launched in 2001 (16 years ago).
Chief designer Chris Bangle announced his departure from BMW after serving on the design team for nearly seventeen years. He will be replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk, Bangle's former right hand man. Bangle was famously (or infamously) known for his radical designs such as the 2002 (15 years ago) 7-Series and the 2002 (15 years ago) Z4. In Jul. 2007 (10 years ago), Husqvarna was purchased by BMW for a reported 93 million euros. BMW Motorrad plans to continue operating Husqvarna Motorcycles as a separate enterprise. All development, sales and production activities, as well as the current workforce, have remained in place at its present location at Varese.
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