2016 is the hundredth year in BMW’s history as a company. There are plenty of excellent concept vehicles being revealed as part of the centennial, but let’s take a moment to look back on some classic landmarks in BMW’s history.
Produced from 1936 to 1940, the 328 was BMW’s first serious effort in designing performance sports vehicles and one of the earliest models to display the company’s signature kidney grille. Its specs were quite impressive for the time, armed with a 2.0L straight-6 engine that offered 76 HP, not to mention a lightweight aluminum body. It garnered much acclaim and secured over 100 class wins, including the Alpine Rally and the formidable Mille Miglia.
This late-1950s roadster is often cited as the most beautiful BMW ever built, but its merits don’t rest on good looks alone. Its aluminum 3.2L V8 engine was nothing to sneeze at, yielding 140 HP and giving its competitor, the Mercedes Benz 300SL, a run for its money. Unfortunately, the manufacturing costs of the 507 nearly bankrupted the company, making this model a financial disaster. Still, its status as an icon of vehicle design is undeniable. Even Elvis had to have one.
BMW New Class
Due to rapidly declining profits and other factors, the end of the 1950s was a dark time for BMW. Enter the New Class, a line of sedans and coupes running between 1962 and 1977. Models like the 1500, 1800, and 2000 allowed BMW to enter the midsize sport sedan market with a vengeance. Excellent performance, smart design, and accessibility lead to a surge in financial success, allowing BMW to pay their stockholders for the first time in two decades.
The impact of the New Class was significant in BMW’s engineering approach and culture. It led to the 02 Series, which housed such legends as the 2002 Turbo, one of the first turbocharged cars ever. After the success of the 2002, BMW’s carefully-executed approach to luxury performance sedans and coupes would culminate with the 3 Series, established by the E21 in 1975. This became BMW’s best-selling series to date and one of their flagship accomplishments.
Whether you’ve got one of the classics or you’re considering an eco-friendly i3, BMW always has something exciting to discover. To get the most out of yours, call (403) 768-3166 and a certified technician at Motorwerkes will be happy to help!