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BMW in the 1980s - E30 and the first of the remarcable M3 Series

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BMW it’s also successful in the motorbike off-road racing winning the toughest race in this field, the Paris to Dakar rally. As a result their experience goes also on the road version models like the R80 G/S, G for "Gelände" (off-road), S for "Strasse" (road). This bike is bike is the first to be equipped with BMW's single swing-arm "monolever". BMW establishes the segment of the large, comfortable travel Enduro bikes, a key category in the motorcycle trade to this day.

They begin the development of the Formula 1 engines.


The Bavarian carmaker is already a global player but they want to expand on other continents. BMW is the first European carmaker that sees the opportunity of the Asian market. As a result they establish a subsidiary in Japan, the most powerful economy in Asia.


The successor of the E21 model is the E30 3 Series. The E30 was more of an upgraded E21 than an all new car and it used some of the same engines. Major changes included improved front and rear suspension design, more modern interior design, and a deeper front spoiler.
The E30 3-Series was produced in four body styles, a four door saloon, a two door coach, a five door estate (marketed as the "touring"), and a two door convertible. 

The fifth BMW plant is the Steyr facility and the next plant will be built at Regensburg showing the German automaker’s financial success.

For the sixth time BMW wins the Formula 2 European Championship.


It’s time for the 5 Series to renew itself. The new one is called the E28 and had more engine choices but minor styling updates.
For the U.S. market the 528e version or ‘eta’ (the Greek letter eta stands for the engine's efficiency) was available. 

BMW starts to incorporate diesel engines for cars in its range.

Driving a Brabham powered by a BMW four-cylinder turbo engine, Nelson Piquet wins the Formula 1 World Championships.

The idea of the BMW motorcycle development engineer Josef Fritzenwenger to mount a longitudinally positioned in-line engine horizontally goes into serial production in 1983. The newly developed K Series joins the popular two-cylinder flat twin "boxer".


The E28 receives new engines: the entry level 518i and the powerful M535i.

The 6 Series receives the top version: the M635CSi, essentially an E24 powered by the powerplant of the BMW M1. In the US market was simply called M6.

BMW Technik GmbH is founded. Computers and robots revolutionize work in planning and production. The first European models with catalytic converters appear.


Based on the E28 5 Series, BMW launches the phenomenal M5 at the Amsterdam Motor Show in February 1985. It had the looks and the capacity of a family sedan but the performance of a sportscar. The M5 uses the 535i chassis and a revised version of the M1’s engine. The total output was 286bhp making the M5 the fastest production saloon (sedan) in the world.

The BMW 325 iX is the first BMW with four-wheel drive.

BMW Z1 prototype is one of the first products made by BMW Technik GmbH.


BMW gives birth to the M3, a car that will become an icon and an etalon in the sportcars market. The first version produced 195bhp and later models were upgraded up to 238bhp. Soon, the E30 M3 scored thousands of victories granting the title of one of the most successful touring cars in history.
786 cabriolets were also produced, all by hand in BMWs Garching plant.

The 7 Series E32 was the next BMW luxury 4-door sedan. Originally equipped with the M30 6-cylinder engine, the E32 soon evolved with an 8 and later a 12 cylinder engine with up to 300 hp.
Long wheel base models with more rear cabin space were designated L.

The BMW 745i with direct fuel injection is the first European car with a liquid hydrogen tank and internal fuel preparation.

BMW also celebrates its most successful year in the market in the United States of America - 96,800 registrations.


Investment and care for research and development continues: the Research & Development Center in Munich (FIZ) employs some 6,000 people.

The E30 M3 wins the World Touring Car Championship.

The 3 Series is now available also as an estate version, called “Touring”.


It’s time for the next 5 Series, the E34. It had a traditional straight six engine, providing the smooth engine and optimal weight distribution BMW customers had come to expect. Along the production years the 5 Series was available in large variety of engines from the 518i to the 540i.
An M5 version was also available. The first versions developed a stunning 315bhp. Later on the M5 came with a Touring body version but only 891 cars were made.

The E30 M3 is now available as a cabriolet version.

Introduced at the 1987 Frankfurt Auto Show, the BMW Z1 was a very expensive car for its time. Only 8000 were made. The Z1 was one of the first BMWs to have multi-link rear suspension.

BMW is the world's first motorcycle manufacturer to use an electronic-hydraulic antilock braking system (ABS) for bikes.


BMW aims at the luxury sport coupé market and launches the 8 Series. The first available was the E31 850i. It had a 5liter v12 engine developing 300bhp.

In the motorcycle business BMW launches the K1 bike.

BMW breaks the production records by making half a million cars. The Bavarian car maker has a healthy economical situation with a turnover of 20 million Deutsche Marks. 

BMW 3 Series, E30 M version

BMW E30 and the sensational M3 version

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