BMW (which stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG or Bavarian Motor Works in English) was first established in 1916 by Franz Josef Popp as an aircraft manufacturer. However, the company's origins can be traced further back to a Bavarian (a city state which later joined with others to form Germany) plane manufacturer in 1910. Due to the terms imposed on Germany at the end of the First World War BMW were forced to abandon aircraft production and switched to motorcycles in 1923, shortly followed by automobiles in 1928.
BMW is commonly known as one of the 'Big 3' luxury car makers along with Audi and Mercedes. BMW also has a reputation for producing cutting edge sports cars with the latest and most innovative technology. BMW's involvement in motorsport is extensive with achievements in many disciplines including Moto GP, Formula 1, Daytona, Le Mans and Touring Cars.
The BMW logo is comprised of a black outer circle with BMW writing inside and a blue and white chequered inner circle which represent the flag colours of the German state of Bavaria
Why not have a look at the official BMW company web site and get the latest news about BMW in the UK at The BMW Owners' Club site. You may also like to see what they're saying about new BMW cars on the Top Gear web site.
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AIR APPARENT: BMW's smallest drop top has proven a big hit, but with new and improved rivals snapping at its heels, it needs to work hard to stay ahead of the pack. Andy Enright reports
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