BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Company. The company was established in 1913 and based in Munich, Germany. It started out as an aero engine manufacturer, hence the company logo. The logo comprised of four quadrants of alternating white and blue color. It is a stylized representation of an airplane propeller spinning against the clear blue sky. The logo represents a white propeller blade against a blue sky. It reflects the origins of BMW as a maker of military aircraft engines during WWI. Also, white and blue are the traditional colors of Bavaria.
The 1 Series, launched in 2004, is BMW's smallest car, and available in coupe/convertible and hatchback forms. The 3 Series, a compact executive car manufactured since model year 1975, is currently in its fifth generation; models include the sport sedan , station wagon , coupe , and convertible. The 5 Series is a mid-size executive car, available in sedan and station wagon forms. The 5 Series Gran Turismo , beginning in 2010, will create a segment between station wagons and crossover SUV.
BMW's full-size flagship executive sedan is the 7 Series. Typically, BMW introduces many of their innovations first in the 7 Series, such as the somewhat controversial iDrive system. The 7 Series Hydrogen, featuring one of the world's first hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines, is fueled by liquid hydrogen and emits only clean water vapor. The latest generation debuted in 2009. Based on the 5 Series' platform, the 6 Series is BMW's grand touring luxury sport coupe/convertible . A 2-seater roadster and coupe which succeeded the Z3, the Z4 has been sold since 2002.
The X3 , BMW's first crossover SUV (called SAV or "Sports Activity Vehicle" by BMW) debuted in 2003 and is based on the 3 Series platform. Marketed in Europe as an off-roader, it benefits from BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. The all-wheel drive X5 is a mid-size luxury SUV (SAV) sold by BMW since 2000. A 4-seat crossover SUV released by BMW in December 2007, the X6 is marketed as a "Sports Activity Coupe" (SAC) by BMW. The upcoming X1 extends the BMW Sports Activity Series model lineup.
Based on the 3 Series, the M3 defined an entirely new market for BMW: a race-ready production vehicle. Since its debut, the M3 is heralded in enthusiast circles, in large part due to its unique geometry and award winning engines. The newest V8-powered platform became available the Autumn of 2007 in Europe, and second quarter of 2008 for the U.S. in coupe , and later the cabriolet , and sedan variants. Based on the 5 Series, the M5 is the M division's V10-powered version of the 5 Series. The M6 is the M division's version of the 6 Series, and shares its drivetrain with the M5. The Z4 M, or M Coupe/M Roadster, is the M division's version of the Z4. The X5M is the M division's version of the X5, and the X6M is the M division's version of the X6. Both the X5M and X6M share the same V8 twin scroll twin turbo.