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BMW - 12 fun facts

Facts you may not know about BMW


BMW's slogan is "The Ultimate Driving Machine". BMW has been one of the most successful automobile companies worldwide but what do you know about them? Here we give you a few interesting facts about the German manufacturing giants. 

BMW fun facts

  • BMW began in 1916 as a small factory that produced aircraft engines.

The company continued making aircraft engines in 1917 and 1918. They returned to making aviation engines from 1933 to 1945. It did not produce its first motor car until 1928.


  • BMW was originally formed from BMW's two predecessor companies: BMW AG (Bavarian Motor Works) and Rapp Motorenwerke.

Karl Rapp first suggested the name BMW in 1913 for his own business, before it was adopted by the newly formed company in 1916.


  • BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke.

This translates to Bavarian Motor Works in English.


  • BMW's best selling car of all time is the 3 series.

The 3 series debuted in 1976 and the 7th generation 3 series was launched in 2019.


  • BMW started making motorcycle engines in 1917 and BMW made their first 'twin' motorcycle engine, the 'boxer' in 1923.

The motorcycle side of the business is now named BMW Motorrad. It has been based, since 1969, at the company's Berlin-Spandau factory.


  • BMW owns Mini.

As part of the original purchase of the Rover Group in 1994, BMW inherited the Mini brand. Following the break up of the Rover Group in 2000, BMW retained the Mini name. In 2001, the first new Mini was produced.


  • BMW owns Rolls-Royce.

Rolls Royce Motor Cars Ltd was created as a subsidiary of BMW in 1998. This followed the acquisition of the rights for the Spirit of Ecstasy and the Rolls Royce trademarks by BMW from Volkswagen AG.


  • The BMW logo features the flag of Bavaria.

The blue and white element of the BMW logo are taken from the flag of the Federal State of Bavaria


  • BMW developed its first electric car in the early 1970's

BMW fun facts 2The 1602e was launched in 1972 but only had a range of less than 40 miles. It was not considered viable or a success so was dropped at that time. Today BMW provide the 'i' Series of electric vehicles, that are proving very popular with the motoring public.


  • The first car BMW produced was called the Dixi.

The Dixi was first built in 1928 and produced some pretty impressive figures for the day. It had a top speed of 75 miles per hour from only a 15 horse power engine. The fuel economy was good too, producing over 50 miles to the gallon.


  • BMW were nearly bought out by Mercedes-Benz.

Following World War II lots of German companies struggled to find a way back to success. BMW, like many, were not allowed to make aircraft engines or motor cars immediately after the war. They resorted to producing kitchen ware to survive.

After years of struggle BMW found themselves in such financial strife that they were nearly taken over by rivals Mercedes-Benz (then Daimler-Benz).

However, investment from the German industrialists Herbert and Harald Quandt saw BMW saved and eventually flourish.


  • BMW has featured in a Formula 1 Championship winning car

In 1983, the Brabham driven by Brazilian Nelson Piquet won the Formula 1 world title. The car was powered by a BMW engine. It is the only time a BMW engine has been in a F1 world title winning machine.


So how many of those BMW facts did you know? We hope we have taught you something you did not know before.