Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (Bavarian Motor Works), commonly known as BMW is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916.
Headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, BMW produces motor vehicles in Germany, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Automobiles are marketed under the brands BMW (with sub-brands BMW M for performance models and BMW i for plug-in electric cars.
BMW also owns and produces Mini cars, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW is part of the “German Big 3” luxury automakers, along with Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which are the three best-selling luxury automakers in the world.
BMW has a history of success in Formula One, BMW powered cars having won 20 races. BMW also has a long and successful history in touring car racing, winning many championships worldwide.
The slang terms Beemer, Bimmer and Bee-em are variously used for BMWs of all kinds, both cars and motorcycles.
BMW began using the slogan “The Ultimate Driving Machine” in the 1970’s.
The circular BMW logo incorporates the blue and white colors of the flag of Bavaria and has been compared to an aircraft propeller with the white blades cutting through a blue sky.
The original Mini was a line of British small cars manufactured by the British Motor Corporation from 1959 until 2000. Performance versions of these models used the name Cooper and Cooper S. It is considered an icon of the 1960s. A new range of Mini’s has been produced by BMW since 2001.
Since 1975, a series of 19 “BMW Art Cars”, have been painted by famous artists including David Hockney, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and others. The cars have been shown at the Louvre, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The 2009 project by Robin Rhode did not create an art car, but rather used a BMW Z4, driven over a giant canvas to create a work by applying paint with the car’s tires.
Several other artists have produced “Unofficial Art Cars” – Keith Haring painted a red BMW Z1 in 1987- Andy Reiben created an artwork called 3 Series Fluidum, iridescent, fluorescent and photo luminescent paints were used to create a unique BMW 3 Series (F30). In 1979, racing driver Peter Gregg purchased a BMW M1 Procar and commissioned his friend Frank Stella to paint it for him. In 2016, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville commissioned artist Christie Chandler to paint a BMW X6 for their annual awards gala at TPC Sawgrass.
BMW is one of the world’s leading auto manufacturers when it comes to blending performance and luxury. Along the way, the brand has created some truly legendary, unique, and absolutely cutting-edge vehicles – along with one or two oddballs we can’t help but love. From all-out performance cars to quirky microcars and everything in between, BMW’s reputation is well-earned, and has spawned dozens of future and current classics.