When I first became interested in cars, sometime around the mid-90s, the BMW range was easy to understand. Three models, two transmissions and four engines. It allowed you to pick-and-mix these basic ingredients with a long list of extras to suit your needs. You could have a 7 Series with a tiny engine and loads of extras, a 3 Series with a huge engine and no extras. The recipe was simple and it worked.
Nowadays, thanks to the new naming convention (which Iâ€
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Odd and even numbers
To start off, BMW has come up with a rather orderly numbering scheme. Its familiar numbering system has been expanded to include numbers 1 to 7. All odd numbered vehicles will be hatchbacks or four-door saloons and all even numbered vehicles will be coupes.
To explain, think of the familiar BMW 3 Series. You do not know what a 3 Series is? Well then what are you doing hanging out on a car site? The 3 Series is the BMW bread-and-butter saloon model. In the olden days, the 3 Series was offered as a humdrum saloon or in far sportier coupe and cabriolet models. These models will now be called the 4 Series. It went on sale recently and, for now, is only available as a coupe with the cabriolet on its way early in the New Year.
So that sets up the distinction between the naming schemes. Added to this is the BMW X badge to denote SUVs (or, as BMW call them â€˜SAVsâ€
All of this is terribly confusing. Let us look at each model in the range, along with a picture so we can see the differences.
The clue, as for all models, is in the number. The smallest number indicates the smallest car BMW makes, a 3 or 5 door hatchback.
Geek score: 5/10. Not the most technologically advanced car in the world, but driven by geeks across the country.
A new number in the BMW model lineup, the 2 Series replaces the outgoing 1 Series coupe and cabriolet models. Adding confusion to the mix is the rumoured Gran Coupe model, a four-door coupe to rival the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3 sedan.
- 2 Series coupe
- 2 Series cabriolet
- 2 Series Gran Coupe (Rumoured)
- M2 (Rumoured)
Geek score: 6/10. Only marginally more geeky than the 1 Series because it’s newer and a coupe.
Back in the world of the familiar nameplates we have the 3 Series. A license for BMW to print money since the early 1980â€
- 3 Series sedan
- 3 Series GT
- 3 Series Touring (Not available in South Africa)
- X3 SUV
- M3 (Upcoming)
Geek score: 8/10. Makes the other small executive saloons like rather bland and analogue. Newest generation iDrive is fantastic.
Having arrived on our shores a few days ago, the 4 Series is a style and size of car many people will recognize, but with a different badge. The 4 Series is best described as â€˜a coupe or cabriolet version of the 3 Seriesâ€
Now things get complicated. The bulk of the 4 Series range will consist of 2-door models but rumours suggest there is a 4-door model in the works to be called the 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Next year we will see the M4 Coupe â€“ the elite super sport model to replace the M3 Coupe.
Geek score: 8/10. See above but add coolness, especially in M-Sport guise.
- 2-door Coupe
- 2-door Cabriolet
- 4-door Gran Coupe Saloon (Rumored)
- M4 Coupe (Upcoming)
- X4 SUV (Concept)
4-door Estate (not in South Africa)
4-door Gran Turismo (Fastback)
Geek score: 9/10: The 1995 5 Series famously had more computing power than was used to send man to the moon. That was almost 20 years ago. Sorta says it all about the latest one doesnâ€
Even numbered, 2-door coupe and cabriolet that is, simply put, a coupe 5 Series. Not so fast! To confuse the embezzling executives who are unsure whether to buy a 5 Series, 6 Series or both, BMW offer the 6 Series Gran Coupe. Yes, its another 4-door coupe, although it may be one of the best looking four-doors ever made. I do believe the M6 is capable of time travel its so fast.
Geek score: 5/10. Mostly due to the fact that its drivers seem to be rather old, it loses out, even though the car is as geeky as the 5 Series.
- 2-door Coupe
- 2-door Cabriolet
- 4-door Gran Coupe Saloon
- M6 Coupe, Cabriolet and GC
- X6 SUV
BMW know better than to mess with their flagship. Available only as a 4-door saloon (remember the number system?), the 7 Series is every bit as appealing to politicians as itâ€
Geek score: 9/10. The 7 Series may not be as advanced as the new S-Class but that doesnâ€
That rather neatly sums up the BMW range. It may sound complicated but using their recipe of odd and even numbers and adding X, ///M, GT and GC to the name, BMW have created a magnitude of new models. The exception to this is the Z4. Following the number system, itâ€