5 Amazing Facts About BMW That You Wouldn’t Believe

Written by: Becca Marsh
Reading time: 3 mins
Last updated: March 17, 2021

Did you know that BMW started out by making airplane engines?

5 awesome BMW facts

BMW is one of the world’s largest car designers and manufacturers.

The German vehicle company has been around for over a century, but where did it all begin?

Has BMW always made cars?

Here are 5 amazing facts about BMW that you wouldn’t believe.

BMW used to specialize in airplane engines.

BMW IIIa aircraft engine

Before manufacturing cars, BMW made airplane engines.

BMW started in 1916 as a merger between Rapp Motor and Otto Werk.

There was a high demand for German aircraft engines during World War I, so the two corporations joined forces to make aircraft engines.

The engines were renowned for their fuel efficiency and ability to reach high altitudes.

BMW seized production after World War II when the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

The treaty banned Germany from manufacturing warplanes, so BMW was out of business.

This was when BMW turned to the design of cars.

The BMW headquarters is designed like their car engines.

BMW skyscraper headquarters in Munich

The BMW headquarters in Munich was designed by Austrian architect Karl Schwanzer and took four years to build.

Construction work took place from 1968 to 1972 with the aim of being finished in time for the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The building is situated next to Olympiapark, and it has been the BMW headquarters since 1972.

The design is based on a BMW engine, with four towers representing four cylinders of an engine.

The four towers are interconnected and are suspended on top of a singular base.

The building’s total diameter is 171.6 feet (52.3 meters) with a height of 331 feet (101 meters) tall.

There are a total of 22 floors in the building, 18 of which are used as office space.

BMW made its first electric car in 1972.

1602e orange electric car

BMW was ahead of its time by creating its first electric car in 1972.

The BMW 1602e was never made available to the public, mostly because it could only hold a charge for up to 20 minutes!

Another fault was that being electric meant that the vehicle’s power was about half of the other cars they had for sale.

Although the project was left for many years, an interest sparked in electric vehicles again in the 1990s.

The 1602e became a great foundation for BMW in designing and developing electric cars into what they are today.

BMW holds the Guinness world record for longest drift.

Two BMW cars drifting

On December 11, 2017, Johan Schwartz set two new world records for BMW.

After drifting for eight hours and covering 232.5 miles (374 kilometers), Schwartz set a new record for “Greatest distance vehicle drift in 8 hours.”

To promote the release of the BMW M5, BMW hired Danish racing driver Schwartz to break the existing record.

However, this wasn’t the only record attempt that day.

Matt Mullins, an American professional driver, was out to break Longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted)” with Schwartz for BMW.

The two managed to get 49.25 miles (79.26 kilometers), breaking the previous record of 17.72 miles (28.52 kilometers).

You might be wondering how they managed such a distance without having to refuel.

Well, BMW teamed up with Detroit Speed, who built a “custom dry break fuel system.”

This meant that they could top up fuel whilst driving!

BMW has a back story to its logo.

BMW logo on a car steering wheel

There is a myth that BMW’s logo comes from their history in building planes.

BMW stands for “Bayerische Motoren Werke,” which translates to Bavarian Engine Works.

One of BMW’s first advertisements, when they produced plane engines, was published in 1929.

It showed two planes, and in their spinning front propeller, “BMW” was highlighted.

In 1942 BMW published an article in “Flugmotoren-Nachrichten” (Aircraft Engine News), confirming that the spinning propeller was their official logo.

Since converting to manufacturing cars, the logo was kept by BMW but has developed slightly over the years.

It is said that the blue and white colors on the logo stem from the official colors of Bavaria, the region the company was started.

 

BMW has been designing engines for over 100 years, and they are still creating innovative designs.

The German engineering group has made some of the most iconic vehicles of our time and has adapted their business over many years.

They have stuck to their roots as a Bavarian-based company and are proud of their heritage.

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