Bayerische Motoren Werke, commonly referred to as BMW, was formed on 7th March 1916 in Munich, Germany. The company has a history of varied manufacturing interests that first began with creating aeroplane engines during World War I. The treaty of Versailles banned Germany from producing warplanes, and as a result, BMW turned to motorbikes. As they dove into the world of automobiles, they began setting new records for altitudes and speed. The BMW cars with their impressive engines bagged first positions in Formula 1 races. The German multinational manufacturer is now an automobile giant famed for its beautiful designs and consistent quality.
But this is not all that makes the brand unique, and here are a few things that you may not know about BMW.
BMW and its logo
Since the company started as an aeroplane manufacturer, the infamous logo is thought to depict a propeller. But the logo is a homage to the company’s hometown in Germany. It showcases the flag colours of the state of Bavaria and has become a symbol of luxury and prestige.
By 1919, the manufacturer turned to producing bikes and unveiled the first bike R32, in 1923. In 1937, BMW created the world’s fastest motorbike that reached a top speed of 173.7 mph. The motorbike was able to achieve this speed by being aerodynamic and power efficient.
BMW and its First Car
BMW’s first car was the English Dixi 3/15 PS that they began manufacturing in 1929. They acquired the vehicle’s license to build from the Austin Motor Company, which built the chassis. The Dixi utilized a four-cylinder engine that generated 15 horsepower. And the model was later renamed BMW 3/15.
BMW Kitchen Utensils
The company has manufactured varied products and one of them includes kitchen utensils like pots and pans. The Allies banned the production of automobiles until the end of the Second World War, the 1940s. The company took drastic steps to sustain itself and produced utensils and bicycles for a brief period. In 1948, the manufacturer resumed the production of motorbikes and by 1952, the cars.
BMW and Mercedes – Merged?
BMW and Mercedes are two of the leading automobile brands that value luxury and can be aptly called rivals in the industry. In 1959, BMW was almost bankrupt, mainly due to the Cold War. Mercedes’ parent company Daimler-Benz attempted a hostile takeover. Countless BMW employees, mechanics, and families bought the stocks in opposition. Eventually, Herbert Quandt took control by buying a majority of the shares, keeping alive the rivalry between the two brands.
The BMW Headquarters – A tribute to its engines
Located in Munich and designed by Karl Shwanzer, the BMW headquarters is a high-rise tower built from 1968 to 1972. The 101-meter tower is the global corporate headquarters of the manufacturer and symbolizes the four cylinders of the car engine. The museum building next to the tower depicts the engine head. Remarkably, the cylinders are suspended on a central support tower. The building is a striking example of modern architecture in Munich.
BMW – First electric car in 1972
The automobile manufacturer was at the forefront of electric cars long before they hit the road. The BMW 1602e debuted at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Powered by 12 batteries, the car could run 19 miles at a time. The electric engine was by Bosch, and the automobile had to be kept cool with an inner fan. It was never a market product as the vehicle’s horsepower was about half of the fuel cars and could only hold a charge for up to 20 minutes. But the design served as a foundation in the development of its electric cars today.
The BMW CSL
“On the wings of a BMW”, says the German manufacturer. The BMW 3.0 CSL was the final version of a car developed for motorsport in 1973. The car brandished its capacity, output, extremely lightweight construction, and additionally, an aero package for those nailing sharp turns. The vehicle was a prime example of form follows function, earning the nickname “Batmobile”.
The Italian microcar Isetta, also called the bubble car, was built under license in various countries. But, in 1995, BMW made the Isetta its own. They re-engineered a majority of the vehicle, and it was the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world. It also became the world’s first mass-production car to achieve a fuel consumption of 3 L/100 km. Because of its distinct shape and bubble-like windows, it also earned the nickname of the lion-hearted weasel.
BMW and Airplane Interiors
BMW’s design subsidiary BMW Designworks has been designing cockpits since 2004. Recently, their collaboration with Singapore Airlines exhibits a luxury cabin layout with explicit attention to detail. The interiors are visually and acoustically appealing to the passenger, shaping lounge-like islands. BMW said that the design language was to “reassign and apply the overriding design principles (of its road cars) and knowledge of the effects of design”.
Rallye BMW (2017). 5 FUN FACTS ABOUT BMW THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU. [online]. (Last updated 7 December 2017). Available at: https://www.rallyebmw.com/5-fun-facts-about-bmw-that-might-surprise-you/ [Accessed 18 October 2021].
Carina Ockedahl (2019). 20 surprising facts about BMW. [online]. (Last updated 1 July 2019). Available at: https://www.msn.com/en-in/autos/photos/20-surprising-facts-about-bmw/ss-AAAySrG#image=11 [Accessed 18 October 2021].
The Factfile. 39 Interesting Facts About BMW Cars. [online]. Available at: https://thefactfile.org/bmw-facts/ [Accessed 18 October 2021].