Benz, BMW, and a cen­tury of tech one-up­man­ship

Two car­mak­ers have been try­ing to out-in­vent each other for more than a cen­tury 1 A leder­ho­sen-clad leg up 2 Open­ing it up on the au­to­bahn 3 Pi­ti­less Arsch-whup­ping 4 Has­sel­hoff con­cert

Bloomberg Businessweek (Europe) - - FRONT PAGE - Story Sam Gro­bart

In March, BMW marked its cen­ten­nial—and a cen­tury of tech­no­log­i­cal ri­valry with Daim­ler’s Mercedes-Benz. In news­pa­per ads, Benz, which can lay claim to hav­ing in­vented the car in 1886, con­gratu-mocked its Bavar­ian arch­en­emy: “Thanks for 100 years of com­pe­ti­tion. The 30 years be­fore that were a lit­tle dull.” That’s like M-B do­ing dough­nuts on BMW’s drive­way. Here, a time­line of the two com­pa­nies trad­ing pole po­si­tion for au­to­mo­tive supremacy.

Score­card or is 1 point 1886

Karl Benz cre­ates the Patent-Mo­tor­wa­gen, widely ac­cepted to be the first au­to­mo­bile.

1886

Got­tlieb Daim­ler and Wil­helm May­bach retro­fit a stage­coach with a gaso­line en­gine.

1901

Daim­ler re­ceives a patent for the hon­ey­comb ra­di­a­tor, still the ba­sis for wa­ter­cooled engines.

1900

Daim­ler-Mo­toren-Ge­sellschaft (DMG) builds the Mercedes 35 PS, a car named for a cus­tomer’s daugh­ter.

1925

BMW’s R37 and R39 mo­tor­cy­cles fit pro­duc­tion engines with cylin­der heads made of lighter, cool­er­run­ning alu­minum.

1923

Banned from build­ing air­craft or their engines by the Treaty of Ver­sailles, BMW makes the R32, its first mo­tor­cy­cle.

1921

A young DMG em­ployee, Fer­di­nand Porsche, helps build the first su­per­charger.

1916

BMW’s pre­de­ces­sor, air­craft maker Bay­erische Flugzeug­w­erke (BFW), is founded.

2005

BMW un­veils the Hy­dro­gen 7, a ver­sion of the com­pany’s 7 Se­ries sedan fea­tur­ing an en­gine that can run on gaso­line or com­pressed hy­dro­gen.

2011

BMW dis­plays a con­cept elec­tric car, the i3, at the Frank­furt Auto Show.

1926

Mssrs. Daim­ler and Benz merge their com­pa­nies: MercedesBenz is born.

1998

BMW buys Roll­sRoyce.

1998

Daim­ler starts sell­ing the Smart Fortwo, a two-seat mi­cro­car for city driv­ing.

1999

If 12 cylin­ders is cool, then … Mercedes con­sid­ers pack­ing 24 into its May­bach limo, but ul­ti­mately set­tles for a 12-cylin­der model.

2005

Com­mit­ted to the same ro­tarycon­troller strat­egy that be­dev­iled BMW’s iDrive, Mercedes adds a sim­i­lar sys­tem to its flag­ship S-Class. It’s also widely panned.

2015

Mercedes-Benz’s ad­vanced re­search ve­hi­cle, the F 015, presents a vi­sion of a driver­less fu­ture with swivel­ing con­fer­ences­tyle seats.

CREDIT: COUR­TESY BMW ARCHIV (1); COUR­TESY BMW GROUP (6); COUR­TESY DAIM­LER AG (5); COUR­TESY MERCEDES-BENZ (4)

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