Any excuse for a party
BMW is celebrating its centenary, not of making cars but the advent of the name BMW... Bavarian Motor Works.
It came into being out of aircraft engine maker Rapp Motor Works in 1916.
BMW took over financially troubled Rapp and started producing a six-cylinder aircraft engine that proved successful in a burgeoning German aircraft industry and then moved, post-WWI, to motorcycles in 1923 with the shaft-driven R32.
Its first car was a rehash of the Austin 7 assembled in 1928 and the first car of its own design didn’t arrive until 1932 — a metric version of the Austin 7 called the Dixi.
So, centenary celebrations from “car maker” BMW are a stretch but the company has pressed ahead with commemorative activities around the world and limited edition centenary models including the 330i sedan and 430i Gran Coupe sold here.
The cars, in Luxury Line or M Sport spec, are essentially optioned-up models with “100 Year Edition’’ badges. There are, however, considerable price savings — $9000-$13,000 less than a similarly optioned car from a dealership.
The sedan costs from $75,855 and the Gran Coupe is from $85,855. There’s scope to add even more kit to your BMW.
Both 100 Year cars run the same high-output 2.0-litre turbo (185kW/350Nm), driving the rear wheels through an eightspeed sports automatic transmission. Each claims fuel consumption of 5.8L/100km and coincidentally clock 5.8 seconds for the 0-100kmh sprint.
Cool kit in the Luxury Line cars includes special blue paint and beige leather upholstery, wood and metal dash fascia with chrome highlights, Harman/Kardon audio, sports seats, extended smartphone connectivity and 19-inch light alloy wheels.
Big time for BMW: 740e, main; 330i, below left; and 430i Gran Coupe