Bavarian Motor Works, better known as BMW, was founded in Germany in 1917 in an old aircraft manufacturing plant at the end of World War I. After facing financial difficulties through much of the 1950s and 1960s it emerged in the 1970s and began producing some of the most iconic sports cars in the world. In 2012, Forbes named BMW, which now controls the MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, the world's most reputable company.
The BMW 3/15 was the first car manufactured by the German auto maker. It was unveiled in 1927.
The BMW 315/1 was produced between 1934 and 1937.
In the late 1930s, the 327 and 328 cars were BMW's most popular products. During World War II the production plant where these models were built fell under Soviet occupation and an unknown number of these cars were produced outside BMW's control. Pictured is a higher powered 327/28 model.
The 1940 BMW 328 Touring Coupe was one of 25 finalists for the Car of the Century Award in 1999.
The BMW Isetta 250, which began production in 1955, was based on an Italian post-war designed in a plant that BMW took over. It became one of the best-selling single-cylinder cars in the world.
With the 1959 BMW 503 Coupe Sport, the manufacturer's signature design elements began to take hold.
The 1962 BMW 1500 was the first of the "New Class" of BMW cars.
The BMW 2000 C/CS was sold between 1965 and 1969.
Built for the 1972 Summer Olympics, the BMW Turbo would inspire cars built more than two decades later.
The 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL was part of a line of cars that helped forge BMW's reputation for sporty cars just as the auto manufacturer was beginning to struggle financially.
The BMW M1, built between 1978 and 1981, was the product of a collaboration between BMW and Lamorghini. It is unrelated to the modern-day M1 models.
In the foreground is a BMW M5 E34, produced between 1988 and 1995. Behind that is an BMW M5 E28, which was built between 1981 and 1988 and preceded the E34. Further in the background is the M1.
The first-generation BMW 528i was produced between 1981 and 1987.
Produced between 1989 and 1999, the BMW 8 series became the manufacturer's flagship car.
BMW built just 8,000 of its legendary Z1 models between 1989 and 1991.
In 1991, BMW built the E1 concept car. It became the basis for the design of MINI cars, after BMW acquired the brand with its purchase of the Rover Group (maker of Range Rovers) in 1994.
The third generation BMW 3 Series was built between 1990 and 1999. The 3 series is the manufacturer's best-selling line ever.
Like all BMW SUVs, produced only after the auto maker purchased the Rover Group, the X5 borrows heavily from the Land Rover.
A 2012 BMW 1-Series hatchback
The 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 3-Series