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Surprising Facts About Your BMW You Didn’t Know

BMW, known for its luxury, performance, and advanced engineering, has been at the forefront of the automotive industry for over a century. While you may be familiar with the brand’s prowess, there are some lesser-known facts that are sure to surprise and impress even the most ardent BMW enthusiast. In this article, we’ll delve into some fascinating tidbits about BMW and its vehicles that you may not have known.

  1. The origin of the iconic logo: Many people believe that the BMW logo represents a spinning propeller, but the truth is slightly different. The blue and white quarters of the logo actually represent the colors of the Bavarian Free State, where the company was founded. The propeller association came about later, as a result of a 1929 advertisement featuring an airplane with the logo superimposed over its propeller.
  2. BMW started as an aircraft engine manufacturer: BMW was founded in 1916 as Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works), initially producing aircraft engines. It wasn’t until 1923 that they began manufacturing motorcycles, and their first car, the Dixi 3/15, was introduced in 1928.
  3. The New Class revolutionized the brand: In the 1960s, BMW was facing financial difficulties and was on the verge of being bought out by Mercedes-Benz. The introduction of the Neue Klasse (New Class) line of cars in 1962, including the popular BMW 2002, helped turn the company around and solidified its reputation for producing sporty, well-engineered vehicles.
  4. The M Division was born from racing: BMW’s high-performance M Division was founded in 1972, originally to support the brand’s racing activities. The division’s first road car, the legendary M1, was introduced in 1978, followed by a series of M-badged vehicles that are now synonymous with power and performance.
  5. BMW owns MINI and Rolls-Royce: BMW acquired the British car manufacturer Rover Group in 1994, which included the MINI brand. Although BMW later sold most of the Rover Group, they retained the rights to MINI. In 1998, BMW also purchased Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, bringing two of the most iconic British car brands under German ownership.
  6. The BMW i sub-brand focuses on sustainability: BMW i, established in 2011, is the brand’s sub-division dedicated to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The i3, an all-electric urban car, and the i8, a plug-in hybrid sports car, are the first two models produced under the BMW i umbrella. The sub-brand emphasizes sustainability, with the use of recycled materials, carbon fiber, and renewable energy in production.
  7. BMW’s headquarters is called the “Four-Cylinder”: BMW’s headquarters in Munich, Germany, is a distinctive building designed by Austrian architect Karl Schwanzer. Completed in 1973, the building is shaped like a four-cylinder engine and has become an iconic symbol of the brand.
  8. BMW’s first electric car was built in 1972: Long before the establishment of the BMW i sub-brand, the company experimented with electric vehicles. The BMW 1602 Elektro-Antrieb, unveiled at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, was the brand’s first attempt at an electric car. The vehicle had a range of only 37 miles and a top speed of 62 mph, but it marked the beginning of BMW’s ongoing interest in electric mobility.
  9. The BMW Art Car Project: Since 1975, BMW has collaborated with world-renowned artists to transform its vehicles into stunning works of art. The BMW Art Car Project has seen the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons apply their unique artistic visions to BMW models, turning them into masterpieces that have been displayed in museums and galleries worldwide.
  10. Motorcycle production outpaced car production: In BMW’s early years, motorcycles played a pivotal role in the company’s success. In fact, until 1959, BMW had produced more motorcycles than cars, with models like the R32 and R75 making a significant impact on the motorcycle industry.
  11. BMW’s connection with James Bond: Over the years, BMW vehicles have made several appearances in the iconic James Bond film franchise. The BMW Z3 Roadster, for example, was featured in the 1995 film “GoldenEye,” and the BMW 750iL starred in “Tomorrow Never Dies” in 1997. In 1999, the BMW Z8 was showcased in “The World Is Not Enough.”
  12. BMW’s largest market is not Germany: While BMW is a German brand, its largest market is actually the United States. In recent years, China has also become a significant market for BMW, with sales in both countries surpassing those in Germany.
  13. The BMW Film Series “The Hire”: In 2001 and 2002, BMW produced a series of eight short films, collectively known as “The Hire.” These films featured Hollywood stars like Clive Owen, Madonna, and Gary Oldman and were directed by renowned filmmakers such as Guy Ritchie, Ang Lee, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. The series was a groundbreaking marketing campaign that highlighted the performance and luxury of BMW vehicles.
  14. BMW’s naming convention: BMW uses a specific naming convention for its vehicles, typically consisting of a number followed by two or three letters. The number represents the series (e.g., 3 Series, 5 Series, etc.), while the letters denote the body style, engine type, or other specifications. For example, “i” represents an electric or hybrid model, “M” stands for the high-performance M Division, and “x” indicates the presence of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
  15. The Nürburgring connection: BMW has a strong connection with the Nürburgring, a legendary German racing circuit known for its challenging layout and demanding conditions. The company has a dedicated facility near the track, where it tests and develops new models, fine-tuning performance and handling characteristics. The Nürburgring has become a benchmark for BMW, and the brand’s vehicles are often seen lapping the track during development.


These are just a few of the fascinating facts about BMW and its rich history. With a legacy of innovation, performance, and luxury, BMW continues to captivate drivers around the world. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a recent convert, there’s always something new to learn about this iconic brand.

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