As we are all coping with the developing global situation these days, we wanted to provide some cool topics to help alleviate your boredom and keep you entertained while staying at home.
In the automobile world, there are a few names that resonate across time and that need no introduction. This includes people that don’t care about the automotive industry and even people that can’t drive. BMW is one of those names, because let’s face it: who doesn’t recognize the legacy logo and signature grille nowadays.
However, whether you are a fan, an enthusiast or a pro at all things BMW, there is always more knowledge to be learned and more information to be discovered. As such, we have compiled a list of fun facts about BMW since its existence that we think you might not know. Without further ado, let’s cruise down the list.
1) BMW was not the founding name.
BMW means Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates to Bavarian Motor Works in English, and its official founding date is 1916 as it originally emerged from the renamed aircraft engine manufacturer Rapp Motorenwerke. This manufacturer was located in Munich, the capital of the Bavarian state in southern Germany, where the brand name was changed to BMW in 1922 and the rest is history.
2) The first official BMW car was the Dixi.
BMW started specializing in the manufacturing of automobiles in 1928, and in that same year it bought Automobilwerk Eisenach (Eisenach car factory) that already had plans to build the Dixi, giving BMW the rights to build it, allowing it to claim this symbolic car as its first-ever commercial automobile. The cars were branded BMW Dixi at first but eventually the Dixi part was dropped in 1929 as the car got a slight updated from the DA-1 model, and was now called the BMW 3/15 DA-2.
Bonus fact: Although it is BMW’s first official car, the design of the Dixi was not originally by BMW, and the same vehicle was built in Japan and the United States under different names.
3) The BMW logo might not mean what you think.
“Many people believe the BMW logo is a stylized propeller. But the truth is a little different.”
Fred Jakobs - Archive Director, BMW Group Classic
After having emerged from the pivoting of Rapp Motorenwerke into the automotive market, BMW did not have a logo to go along with its new brand name and even its first advertisement did not feature any BMW emblem or symbol.
However in October 1917, the fresh firm received their first company logo which retained the round shape of the Rapp Motorenwerke logo, having a black ring around it and bearing the German manufacturer’s name.
Today, the logo has experienced a fresh iteration of its design, but the fundamentals remain the same. The white and blue colors are the colors of the State of Bavaria in Germany, representing the home of BMW and everything it stands for in terms of its history and origin.
Evolution of the BMW logo
4) BMW ventured into electric mobility more than 40 years ago!
You might think the i3 to be the first electric vehicle manufactured by BMW, but the reality is that they have been developing this technology since 1972 during the Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany.
BMW featured two electrically powered test vehicles converted from the BMW 1602 models, which served as a means of transport for members of the organizing committee as well as camera cars for events with long distances. The car itself bore batteries that weighed more than 350 kilograms, and could power the car for a mere 60 kilometers; an unsustainable scenario for any kind of production car at the time. This led BMW to establish several research and development projects that focused on developing and improving the efficiency of electric-powered vehicles; a definite win that sees BMW reaping the benefits today.
5) The BMW Group headquarters represents world’s biggest 4-cylinder engine.
Marking its four-cylinder heritage for which it is known for, BMW wanted to commemorate this by designing its headquarters in Munich in that very shape, creating a lasting landmark for the city of Munich and marking a milestone for BMW.
Dubbed “the biggest four-cylinder in the world”, the unmistakable monument was designed by Austrian architect Professor Karl Schwanzer and officially opened its doors on May 18th 1973. Since then, it has become an iconic architectural wonder that adorns the Munich skyline and projects the superior quality f BMW as an authentic automotive powerhouse.
6) BMW’s signature grille is called a Kidney Grille.
In addition to the logo, one of the most differentiating features of a BMW model is its signature grille at the front, aptly named Kidney Grille due to its striking resemblance to human kidneys. Ask anyone who isn’t a fan of cars in general and they will probably instantly recognize it as a BMW. It was first introduced in 1933 and the first model to feature it was the BMW 303. Today, there are many versions of that classic kidney-shaped grille, including the 3D-like, futuristic one on the BMW Concept 4. There are very few car manufacturers around the world that can claim such a unique and recognizable feature on their models.