BMW Heritage


The little car that changed driving forever.

In the late 1960s, performance car enthusiasts in the U.S. had limited options. There were small 2-seater sports cars like the British MG. And there were Detroit-made muscle cars with big V-8 engines offering a lot of power, but little else. Few Americans had ever heard the name BMW.

Then in 1968, an article appeared in Car & Driver magazine, raving about an unassuming little automobile: the BMW 2002. This was a car Americans had never seen. It accelerated like a muscle car, but it was light and fuel-efficient. It was agile like a sports car, but it had four quite comfortable seats and legroom. The 2002 embodied for Americans an entirely new concept: the sports sedan. And it laid down track that BMW has been running on ever since.

The success of the 2002 led to the founding of BMW North America in 1975. And shortly thereafter a new model was introduced that furthered this concept of performance and practicality - the BMW 3 Series. This new model was a direct descendant of the 2002. Models have expanded upwards and outwards - but for BMW, the 3 Series remains the defining car and the benchmark against which all future designs will be judged.