In the mid 1970s, BMW had invested DM 110 million in a new engine series, designated as the M20.
At the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW unveiled its new variants of the E21, featuring the new six-cylinder M20 engines. The four cylinder 320 model was replaced with the 320/6, featuring a two litre version of the M20 engine. The 323i model was introduced, featuring 2.3 litres and 143 bhp (107 kW), empowering this car with a top speed of approximately 190 km/h (118 mph). The braking system was also upgraded, with the 323i featuring disc brakes on all wheels.
In the meantime however, a performance gap had developed between the 98 bhp (73 kW) 318i and the new 320/6 delivering 122 bhp (91 kW). For the 1979/80 model year, the four-cylinder models were upgraded: the 1.8 litre power unit was revised and entered the market as a 90 bhp (67 kW) carburetor engine in the 316, while addition of Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection to the 1.8 litre engine raised the 318i to 105 bhp (78 kW).
The E24 was a replacement for the CS and CSL coupés first produced in 1965. Production started in March 1976 with two models: the 630CS and 633CSi. Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to BMW.
In July 1978 a more powerful variant, the 635CSi, was introduced (for the time being not available in North America and Japan) that featured as standard a special close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a black rear spoiler.
In 1979 the carburetted 630CS was replaced with the 628CSi; this car had a fuel injected 2.8L engine taken from the BMW 528i.
In 1982 (Europe) and 1983 (US), the E24 changed slightly, with an improved interior and slightly modified exterior. At the same time, the 635CSi received a new engine, a slightly smaller-bored and longer-stroked 3430 cc six to replace the former 3453 cc engine and became available with a wide-ratio 5-speed or an automatic.
In Europe, 1984 saw the introduction of the M635CSi, essentially an E24 powered by the powerplant of the BMW M1 (the M88, now putting out 286 PS (282 hp/210 kW)). 16″ BBS 3 piece wheels and a deeper air dam completed the package. Most M635csi’s were equipped with 415 mm Metric Wheels requiring Michelin TRX tires.
The 1988 E24s came with ellipsoid headlights and all models (US and European) received standard integrated bumpers (compared with pre-1988 vehicles which had either a European standard, and a US standard: larger, reinforced bumpers capable of sustaining impact at 5 mph (8 km/h) without damage). 1989 was the last year for the E24 with production stopping in April. The replacement for the E24 was the considerably heavier and more complex BMW 8 Series.
The E30 automobile platform was the basis for the 1981 through 1991 BMW 3 Series entry-level luxury car / compact executive car. It was the successor of the BMW E21 in 1982 and was replaced by the BMW E36 in 1992. BMW continued to produce the cabriolet (convertible) E30 well into 1993. The Touring remained in production until 1994 when the E36 touring replaced it. The M3 cabriolet was never officially offered for sale in North America; it was offered only for the European market.
The famous BMW M3 was first introduced on the E30 platform. A widened version of the E30 front suspension and the drivetrain from the E30 325i were used in the BMW Z1 roadster.
The E30 3-Series was produced in four body styles, a four door saloon, a two door coupe, a five door estate (marketed as the “touring”), and a two door convertible. A Baur cabrio was also available. The 325ix was produced from 1988 to 1992, and featured all-wheel drive. It was available as a two-door (coupe) or a four-door (sedan) and as touring. The BMW M3 utilised a widened and heavily redesigned and restyled variation of the 2 door body style. The M3 shares few parts with other E30 models.
The primary distinctive feature of the BMW E30 models produced for the North American market in 1984-1987 are the elongated front/rear aluminum bumpers. These bumpers are commonly known as “diving boards.” In 1988, the anodized aluminum bumpers were shortened by revising the cover/fillers and shortening the shocks. In 1989 the aluminum bumpers were replaced with shorter body-color plastic bumpers.
The cars were powered by a range of inline 4 cylinder (BMW M10 , BMW M40 , & BMW M42) and inline 6 cylinder (BMW M20 and BMW M21) engines, with both petrol and diesel power. Power output for the engines ranges from 140 N·m (103 lbf·ft) torque for the 1.8 L (1766 cc) 4 cylinder engine, to 230 N·m (170 lbf·ft) torque from the 2.7 L (2693 cc) 6 cylinder petrol engine. The E30 BMW M3 was fitted with a 4 cylinder engine (BMW S14) producing more power, but less torque. 0-60 times was around 6.4 seconds, very quick for a car in its time.
The BMW E39 automobile platform was the basis for BMW 5 Series between 1995 to 2004. It was the successor of the BMW E34 in 1995, and was phased-out by the E60 platform in 2004. Sales to Germany and the United Kingdom began in 1995, and by 1996 sales to the remaining entities of Europe and the rest of the world had commenced. A mid-life update appeared in 2001, featuring minute detail changes. At launch, the base model was the 520i, which developed 112 kilowatts (150 hp) in the pre-update models, and 126 kilowatts (170 hp) in later models. An M5 variant was introduced in 1998, with a 5.0 litre S62 V8 engine. All models but the M5 were available as either a sedan or a touring wagon.
Introduced in Europe in 1995, the complete vehicle redesign draws heavily from the E38 7 Series in body construction and electronic technology. The mid-level BMW sedan showed evolutionary styling changes rather than a dramatic redesign. Initially offered only as a sedan, the wheelbase grew by 68 millimetres (2.7 in) and overall length by 55 millimetres (2.2 in) over the E34. The new 5 Series came in two forms; the 528i and 540i. The 528i is equipped with the 2.8 litre M52 in-line six carried over from the 1996 E36 328i and the 540i equipped with the 4.4 litre M62 V8. Both engines were upgraded over the prior 5 Series generation. The 2.8 litre dual overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine made 141 kilowatts (190 hp), versus 210 kilowatts (282 hp) for the 4.4 litre dual overhead camshaft, all-aluminum V8. A ZF five-speed manual transmission without overdrive was standard on the 528i, with an optional A4S 310 R four-speed automatic. The 540i, in contrast, could have either a Getrag six-speed manual or a new five-speed A5S 560Z automatic transmission with adaptive transmission control. Standard equipment on both models included dual front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, power steering, and air conditioning.
The BMW E38 automobile platform was the basis for the 1994 through 2001 BMW 7 Series automobiles. It replaced the BMW E32 in 1995 and itself was replaced by the BMW E65/E66 for the 2002 model year.
The E38 models were offered with either a five-speed automatic or manual transmission; 740i 740iL and 750i/iL had a 5-speed ZF automatic standard, 730d and 740d a GM-sourced five-speed automatic. The engine variants in Europe were 725tds, 728i, 730i, 730d, 735i, 740i (4.0 and 4.4 L), 740d and 750i (with a 5.4 L 322 bhp (240 kW) engine, as was used in the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph).
In the Americas, the models were sold as the 740i, 740iL and 750iL. The 740i and 740iL share the same 4.4 L V8 engine. The 740iL is essentially a long-wheelbase 740i (hence the “L” in the model name). The considerably rarer 5.4 L V12-powered 750iL was only available as a long-body; there was no E38 750i in the US lineup. The 750iL was BMW’s flagship sedan.
Features of the E38 7 Series included high-pressure headlight washers, auto-leveling xenon HID headlamps, power moonroof, a sound system with 14 speakers and four subwoofers as well as 6-disc CD changer, onboard satellite navigation and rain-sensing wipers. Other features included an automatic climate control system with separate controls for the driver and passenger, a three-position memory system for the driver’s seat, safety-belt height, new steering wheel and outside mirrors. Front-seat side airbags and a Head Protection System (HPS) were also standard. The car featured an all-leather interior with burl walnut trim. The continuous-motion Active Comfort Seat technology was introduced in 1998 to improve comfort and reduce fatigue for the driver and front passenger.
The base prices in 2001 were US$62,900 for the 740i, US$66,900 for the 740iL and US$92,100 for the 750iL.
740iL and 750iL Protection Line light-armored vehicles were built from 2000-2001, and cost US$99,100 and US$124,400, respectively. These models included body armor, bullet-resistant glass and run-flat tires.
A rare european executive V12-powered stretch limousine was also produced, called the BMW L7.
When the E38 was phased out in 2001 to make way for the new E65, sales of E38s increased noticeably in the car’s final months of production as people moved to buy the car before it was replaced. The E65′s radical styling and iDrive was not initially well-received by consumers, so used E38s increased in value as demand increased. Also contributing to the E38′s continued popularity was its appearance in several films such as Tomorrow Never Dies and The Transporter. Even though it was the only featured car in the series to be replaced the following year, the E38 featured in the BMW Film Ambush.
The BMW 8 Series (chassis code BMW E31) is a V8 or V12-engined 2-door 2+2 coupe built by BMW from 1989 to 1999.
While it did supplant the original E24 based 6 Series in 1989, a common misconception is that the 8 Series was developed as a successor. However, it was actually an entirely new class aimed at a different market, with a substantially higher price point and better performance than the 6 series. The 8 Series was designed as a direct competitor to the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and S-Class coupes (later renamed the CL-Class). While it has less rear passenger volume than the sedan-based CL, the 8 Series could accommodate two passengers in the rear, while the SL roadster is a two-seater.
The BMW 8 Series was BMW’s flagship car while in production. A new vehicle cost around US$100,000 and had an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h), although with the limiters removed top speed was estimated at 186 mph (299 km/h). Worldwide production ceased May 12, 1999, with 30,621 built.
BMW is rumored to have plans to revive the 8 Series name for a potential “four-door coupe,” much like the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. The existing E63/E64 6-Series two-door coupe currently completes with the CLS-Class in that price point.
The BMW V12 LMR was a Le Mans Prototype built for sports car racing from 1999 to 2000. The car was built through an alliance between BMW Motor sport and WilliamsF1, and was the successor to the failed BMW V12 LM of 1998. It is famous for being BMW’s only overall victor of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
BMW V12 LMR
Category Le Mans Prototype
Constructor Flag of Germany BMW Motorsport
Flag of the United Kingdom WilliamsF1
Chassis carbon and aluminum honeycomb monocoque
Engine BMW S70 6100cc V12. Naturally-aspirated mid, longitudinally mounted
Transmission X-Trac 6-speed sequential manual
Tyres Michelin radial
Immediately following the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans in which both BMW V12 LMs had failed to finish due to mechanical difficulties and a slow pace caused by aerodynamic inefficiencies, BMW Motorsport made the decision to radically revamp their sportscar project and quickly replace the V12 LM with a new car for 1999, the V12 LMR.
The V12 LMR would retain only the basic structures of the V12 LM, while all of the car’s bodywork was redone from scratch. The cooling ducts, a major problem on the V12 LM, were moved to the top of the car instead of from the bottom where it had suffered from ambient track heat. Among the more radical design features was the use of a small rollhoop located only behind the driver’s seat, instead of a wide rollhoop which covered the entire cockpit. This was done through using a loophole in the ACO’s Le Mans prototype regulations. This allowed for less drag as well as less obstruction for the air to the rear wing. A total of four new chassis were built by WilliamsF1 in the United Kingdom.
Internally, the V12 LMR retained the same BMW S70 6.1L V12 as the V12 LM. Also retained was Schnitzer Motorsport, who would run the team not only at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also in the new American Le Mans Series for 1999.