BMW Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.57/5 Average
11,080 Total Reviews
Make Overview:

BMW is an acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG -- or, in English, Bavarian Motor Works. Whatever you call it, the German-based company is one of the world's most respected automakers, renowned for crafting luxury cars and SUVs that offer superior levels of driving enjoyment.

Founded in Munich, the company began in the early 1910s as an aircraft manufacturer. BMW's current logo, designed to represent white propeller blades against a blue sky, reflects these origins; its blue-and-white color scheme also references Bavaria's blue-and-white checkered flag.

It wasn't until 1928 that production began on the first BMW automobile, the Dixi. The car proved tremendously popular, and its success helped the manufacturer weather the Depression. BMW's best-known pre-World War II vehicle was the Type 328 roadster, a supple two-seater that racked up more than 120 victories on the motorsport circuit between 1936 and 1940. Postwar BMW cars maintained this tradition, with several racing, rallying and hill climb victories.

The early 1950s saw the launch of the BMW 501, a roomy, voluptuous sedan that was resplendent with all of the hopefulness of that era. It was soon followed by the 502, which was powered by the world's first light-alloy V8, foreshadowing BMW's ongoing commitment to developing new technology. The best-selling BMW of that decade was the Isetta, a petite two-seat "microcar" typically powered by a 12- or 13-horsepower engine. The mid-'50s also saw the debut of the limited production and breathtakingly beautiful 507 sports car, which had an alloy body and used the 502's V8 for propulsion. In the 1960s, BMW sales strengthened significantly, thanks in part to the immense popularity of the 1500, a sporty family sedan.

By the 1970s, BMW was establishing itself as a full-fledged car company. It was a pioneer for many emerging technologies, including turbocharging and advanced vehicle electronics. BMW of North America was established at that time, and consumers who coveted both sports and luxury cars became loyal "Bimmer" owners. The '70s also saw the birth of BMW's three-tier sport sedan range consisting of the compact 3 Series, midsize 5 Series and large 7 Series cars and the creation of its performance M division. Though the 3 Series could be had with four-cylinder power, it was the company's inline-6 engines that developed BMW's reputation for spirited, yet highly refined performance. At decade's end, the limited production, short-lived M1 supercar debuted.

Throughout the 1980s, BMW became the unofficial poster car of yuppies, as the brand ostensibly signified one's financial success as well as a passion for driving. The elegant 6 Series coupe debuted, and the latter part of the decade saw the high-performance M division working its magic on various production models.

In the early 1990s, BMW replaced the 6 Series with the powerful (V12-powered at first) but heavy 8 Series grand touring coupe. A bit later, BMW introduced its popular Z3 roadster. The company also opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in the latter half of the 1990s.

The 2000s brought a midsize SUV (the X5) as well as a compact SUV (the X3) as BMW joined the hot-selling segment. Since then, BMW has replaced the Z3 with the Z4, introduced the compact 1 Series, produced hybrid versions of a few models and debuted the X6 fastback crossover. The company has also expanded its empire to include Mini and Rolls-Royce and continues to build motorcycles, something it has done since the 1920s.

BMW's famous advertising slogan describes each of its vehicles as "the ultimate driving machine," and it's not mere hyperbole. Over the past couple of decades, BMWs have become the standard for performance and luxury in most of the "over $30,000" segments. With family-friendly wagons, crisp sedans, distinctive coupes, nimble sports cars and spacious SUVs offered, BMW's model roster is diverse. But its vehicles all share a common characteristic: the ability to make drivers feel gloriously connected to the road.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 11,080.00
  • Daddy like! - 2015 BMW 4-Series
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    If you have the extra money and are looking for a quality built vehicle, the BMW 4 series Coupe is hands down your new car. Handling, acceleration, comfort and just a damn fun car to drive. There are to few cons to mention except for the elephant in the room. The fully or even semi fully loaded 4 series will cause you to dig deep into your pocket book or wallet. The only look the basic no frills 4 series Coupe gets is as you pass them by in the lot on your way to the well equipped model. The price was the only obstacle that prevented me from owning one of these dream machines.

  • The best of the best for that year. - 2000 BMW 7-Series
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    Good car love it.

  • Sportwagon - Child Seat Comments included! - 2014 BMW 3-Series
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    I spent the better part of a frigid New England (just snowed) morning test driving two cars 1) a 2014 BMW 328xi wagon with luxury package and 2) a new 2015 BMW 328xd wagon with nav and a couple of the basic packages. I had never driven a diesel before so I felt I owed it to myself to try these two head-to-head. While the diesel had a broadly useable torque band, I felt it lacked uphill oomph especially in the 2nd or 3rd gear range (tough to tell because the transmission shifts so smoothly in both models). Granted this was a 25 degree day and we basically started it cold from the dealership, but after having driven a similarly cold gasoline model over the same roads earlier in the morning, the diesel just didn’t compare. In my opinion, the diesel was overpriced even with the 2015 “leftover” discount, about $7k more than the lightly used 2014 with 10k miles. The diesel exhaust note, as many reviews have noted, is coarse and loud at revs. The gasoline exhaust note is fake, pumped in through the sound system. You can actually hear it change its volume if you switch from Comfort to Sport under hard acceleration. Still, I prefer a quiet car with some audio theatrics to one that sounds like an economy car with gravel under the hood. Now for some comments that pertain to both models: 1) Very few reviews ever cover the fit and functionality of child seats. The local used car dealership graciously allowed me to mess around with different configurations after I test drove it. I am 6’0 and need to use a fair amount of front seat track to get comfortable behind the wheel. In the rear-facing position, I found the child seat to be workable, but it took a fair amount of finagling. Both test cars were equipped with power front seats rather than the manual kind found in some of the base models. For 6’0+ drivers, you might have to live with your seatback a little more upright than you’re used to in order to get the child seat to fit correctly in the rear-facing position. I also found it helped to drop the driver’s seat almost to the floor. In the front-facing position, there were no problems at all. Now, I didn’t try one of our newer child seats – a Britax G3 Marathon. Those stay in my wife’s minivan since she does 90% of the child transportation. They are a bit more bulky, mostly laterally, than the regular G3 because they have the extra head protection. With BMW’s new 40-20-40 folding seatbacks, you might be able to utilize your “20” with two regular G3s in the back, but you’d have a much harder time doing the same thing with the wider G3 Marathons. 2) The stock stereo system is middling. Not sure the upgrade would necessarily be worth it, but it could be worth considering. 3) Despite some criticism of the new suspension, I found the Sport mode in both models to be amply stiff for hard corners in slippery conditions. Yes, I did try a couple after dropping off my sales minder at the front door. 4) Visibility out the back is limited and the side mirrors are tiny. Unfortunately, this means springing for blind-spot detection is a must. 5) After half an hour in the standard seats, I wasn’t loving them. The seat bottoms are totally flat with just average padding. They reminded me of the mid-90s Subaru Outback wagon seats. Both my testers had lumbar support, which even for me as a relatively healthy mid-30s guy is a must. I would probably limit my search to models with the sport seats from here out. 6) The new touch-sensitive controller is little too sensitive for the initiated, but I found myself accidentally clicking stuff when I was trying to use the jogger control. 7) Overall, I don’t think either of these models is worth the near $50k price tag, but finding a lightly used CPO at <$40k seems right for the gasoline-powered model. The diesel model really doesn’t warrant a premium, but my commutes most days are fairly short so I’m probably not the target market for it.

  • Good hauler - 2015 BMW X5
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    Replacing an E350 wagon is hard, since we still need cargo hauling space and enough back seat room for three teens. Although the X3 had better handling, we couldn't give up the cargo space, so the X5 is the solution for the next 3 years. Only wish I could turn off or stow the nav/radio screen. It's distracting, especially at night.

  • Wanted a Bimmah, Never looking Back - 2003 BMW 3-Series
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    I bought my 2003 BMW 325I in 2013. At ten years old and 140,000 miles I knew it was a little bit of a risk, but you can pick these up for the same price you'd pay for a Civic in similar condition. BMW or Civic? Come on, no brainer. Fortunately I have a lot of tools and am very mechanically inclined, so I can do all of my own work. I've had to change the water pump, cooling hoses, window motors, and a few little things. With youtube and a little ingenuity none of it is a big deal at all. If you plan to pay a dealership for this kind of little stuff, forget it. It's well worth a little work here and there to have a car with a buttery smooth straight 6, and absolutely impeccable handling. Three years later I still enjoy driving it. Sometimes I go to the store in the middle of the night and get my girl ice cream, really just because I want to drive somewhere. No more Hondayotas in my driveway. They're laughable after driving what is truly the ultimate driving machine. Mine just hit 170k with no current issues at all. I'll get 200+ smiling the whole way. I will warn, however, if you're buying a used one, the maintenance and care that has gone into it previously is of the utmost importance! Check it, double check it, do your research and then check it again!

  • Great SUV - 2013 BMW X5
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  • Bye Bye BMW - 2015 BMW 3-Series
    By -

    how sad , when once you could by a premium , howling lovable Straight 6 for the money , and now what you get is a 4 cylinder sounding like a broken blender machine , and a lot of "Green" blah blah blah ! and when you complain about it , them start bragging about how fast and powerful and "Economical" it is , this isn't what a BMW (and more generally a sports car is all about) ,no amount of savage power is going to replace its "Soul" , that is now gone .

  • Not a Cayman or a Boxster, but good for what it is - 2011 BMW Z4
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    One thing one needs to accept about this car is that it's not meant to compete on the track against a Cayman S or Boxster S. It's just not that kind of car. It's absolutely great for what it was built for, which is to be an enjoyable high speed, top down cruiser. If you drive these other cars, you will immediately notice how much better they handle, but for everyday driving, the Z4 is quite good. The N54 engine is superb and eminently chip-able. The car is comfortable and luxurious. The only cons I've really identified is that in the 2011 model year, some cars do not come with the Combox controller, which means you won't have bluetooth audio capabilities. Also, the handling in some tight corners feels a bit delayed. I've felt the rear end skitter out on me more than a few times. Not the extent that it would be dangerous or cause any real concern, but it certainly doesn't have the "turn on a dime" feel of those mid-engined cars.

  • Better than expected! - 2015 BMW i3
    By -

    We test-drove an i3 during BMW's launch in April 2014. We're impressed but there was no urgency in getting one(yet). Meanwhile, we continued to monitor its progress and other brands' offerings. Last year(2015), as my two kids started multiple after-school activities which averaged 45 miles round-trips per day, the carbon footprint (and gasoline bills) started climbing. We decided to look at EV again. With attractive year-end incentives and government rebates, we went out and bought one. The whole family(especially the kids) is enjoying the new ride. We feel less guilty about our carbon footprint with this vehicle. For our use cases, it was the best option. The rear seats are a bit small(compared to our sedan) but for local travel, it was not an issue. The acceleration is good and we like the newer technology that came pretty much standard in this car.

  • Disatified Owner - 2012 BMW 5-Series
    By -

    I owe a 2012 BMW 528i. This car has been nothing but trouble since I got it. It breaks down without warning only to find out it can not be towed because the vehicle cannot be put in neutral. The car has to be put on a lift to deactivate the transmission which cannot be down when you are stranded. Dont waste your time with this vehicle. It looks great but not dependable. Not worth the price or inconvience.

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