BMW’s 108 years of Luxury and High Performance

Behind BMW’s history: The best cars we know today came from the century-old brands that are chaptered with stories to tell. Each one holds a goal: to establish its name in the realm of the automotive industry. One of the most anticipated brands to produce high-quality and high-performing cars is the German automaker BMW. From its struggling beginnings up to its fame, their car lineage is rooted in its rich history, thus, producing an array of one of the most sought-after cars.

The origin of BMW is dated back to October 1913 when Karl Friedrich Rapp founded his aircraft engine company Rapp-Motorenwerke. Even with the high demand for his services, Rapp experienced financial burdens until 1916, when a bulk of orders for airplane engines saved his business from going under. Rapp eventually partnered with business owner Fran-Josef Poop, and gave birth to the Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (BFW). The company then later transitioned into the world-renowned BMW.

Origin of an icon

BMW or Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, which translates to Bavarian Engine Works Company, originated from the German State of Bavaria. Its roots were the representation of its logo flaunting the white and blue colors of the State of Bavaria.

Expanding from airplane manufacturers to motorcycles, the German automaker started making cars in 1928 after acquiring Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach. BMW 3/15, produced as a “Dixi” car between 1927-1929, then as BMW from 1929-1932, was the first BMW car.

After bouncing back from the second world war outbreak, they were able to produce their first automobile, the 501. Marketed as a luxury vehicle, 501 features a large interior that could accommodate six people. The car only lasted for seven years. But little did they know that this has started the long journey they have conquered in establishing the name of BMW. Now, it has become one of the best and anticipated automakers in the world.

BMW's 2002 first turbocharged production car in 1973.

BMW’s iconic cars setting records

Over the decades, BMW has been personifying luxury with its lines of sedans to sports cars. As a well-established brand in the automobile industry, it has produced one of the world’s well-known, high-performing and sophisticated cars. For example, the BMW 507 (1956-1959) has been one of the most beautiful and best-looking cars ever made. It was designed to perfection by industrial designer Albrecht von Goertz. American importer of European luxury car became responsible for its production when it convinced BMW to produce a sports car to cater to American buyers. Its rarity, with only 252 examples ever produced, now racks up millions in an auction.          

BMW’s best-selling vehicle of all time, the BMW 3 series, is also making history. This is when it rolled off its 10th million BMW 3 series out from their Munich assembly line in 2015. Since its debut in 1976, it has been a total standout with its compacted responsive features.

BMW 507 (1956-1959) has been one of the most beautiful and best-looking cars ever made.

Champion prowess in racing stage

As BMW equates to powered and legendary performance, some of its produced cars set records in racing history. For example, 1986 BMW E30 M3 is BMW’s most successful racing car with a total of 18 titles across ten rallies and touring championships. With its 2.3-litre naturally aspirated engine, it managed to win the 24 Hours Nürburgring five times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1994). As well as Spa 24 Hours for four times (1987, 1988, 1990, and 1992) despite competing with many turbocharged cars.

Another remarkable car was the 1998 BMW V12 LMR when it debuted as victors at the Sebring 12 Hours behind Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto, and Jörg Müller. It also took home the Le Mans 24 Hours championship behind driver Yannick Dalmas, Pierluigi Martini, and Joachim Winkelhock. 2008 BMW-Sauber F1.08 also made remarkable performance when it came in 2nd place in the Canadian Grand Prix courtesy of drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica.

THE 1998 BMW V12 LMR when it debuted as victors at the Sebring 12 Hours behind Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto, and Jörg Müller.

BMW’s future of sustainable mobility

With its eternal slogan “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, BMW ultimately paves its way to deliver sought-after cars in its line-up. Like other manufacturers, the German automaker also announced electrification plans for its future cars. By 2023, 13 EV models will be produced that include all major series models of a fully electrified offering.

BMW’s “Neue Klasse”, earlier known as the lineage of sedans and coupes that helped the company in the 1960s, is finally getting a new chapter. This includes using secondary materials such as recycled steel, plastics, and aluminum in their cars and the introduction of a new generation of battery technology.

With the Brand commitment to sustainable mobility, BMW aims to help with the reduction of greenhouse gases. The car brand announced to avoid the emission of over 200 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030. This can be done by reducing the carbon footprint of its vehicles throughout their life cycle.

The BMW Concept i4 brings electrification to the core of the brand.


Over the century, BMW has been synonymous with luxury and performance. From its roots of aircraft engines to powerful cars, there is no other goal for the brand than to develop and deliver high-performing cars. Now that it is embarking on sustainable mobility, BMW promises luxury or powerful performance and reimagines a future where cars won’t just be for the road, but definitely for the world.

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All photos used are credit to the owners.