5 Best BMWs of All Time: A Cheat Sheet for Auto Mechanic College Students

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The BMW M1 one of the rarest BMW’s ever built.

BMW has a long and interesting history. Since launching in 1916 as an airplane engine manufacturer before turning its attention to cars in 1928, the German auto giant has experienced many twists and turns, including near-bankruptcy, doomed mergers, and controversial redesigns.

For auto mechanics, however, it’s all about the many brilliant cars and engines BMW has produced over the years, some of which rank among the best ever made. These vehicles helped cement the company’s reputation as a leading innovator in both mechanics and design, and made BMW’s name as “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Take a look at ATC’s picks for the 5 greatest BMWs ever made, and leave a comment to let us know what you think!

1. BMW Isetta: A BMW, But Not As Today’s Auto Mechanics Know It

When people think of BMW, they think of high end sedans and powerful engines. But in the mid-1950’s, they were famous for this tiny ‘bubble car’, which became the best-selling single-cylinder car in the world, shifting 161,728 units. The Isetta’s bizarre appearance hid some impressive engineering, with its four-stroke 247cc motorcycle engine becoming the first in the world to achieve a fuel consumption rating of 78mpg (3.6 l/100km).

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The BMW Isetta, a micro car that was a bestseller for the company in the 1950s.

2. BMW 2002 Turbo: A History Lesson For Auto Mechanic College Students

Any auto mechanic worker with a fondness for the BMW brand has a lot to thank the 2002 Turbo for. A direct predecessor of the famous 3 Series, the BMW 2002 Turbo was the first ‘sports sedan’ the auto company sold in the U.S. In fact, this car helped establish BMW as the worldwide brand we know today.

Europe’s first turbocharged, the 1973 edition could produce an impressive 170hp and 180 lb ft of torque, and the 2002’s sporty design and smooth driving dynamics set the standard for many BMW models that followed.

3. BMW M1: The Automotive Giant’s Only True Supercar

BMW has only ever produced one true supercar, and what a car it was. Only 453 of the handbuilt M1s were ever made, and it was primarily designed for motorsport. Still, with a 3.5L 6 cylinder engine with 277hp and top speed of 260 km/h, the M1’s performance was well ahead of its time, and has influenced the design of many hypercars since.

4. E46 M3: The Best M3 Ever? Settling A Common Auto Mechanic Worker Debate

Hopefully, you’ll have the pleasure of working on a number of 3 series BMWs throughout your auto mechanic career. The 3 series line is a bestseller for BMW and it’s hard to pick just one model to single out. However, the M3 is the high performance version of the series.

While not the most powerful—that honor goes to the V8-powered E90—the E46 is certainly among the most loved, with its S54 3.2L inline V6 regarded as one of the greatest engines ever built. It could manage an incredible 333hp without any forced induction, and had an acceleration of 0-100 in 4.8 seconds.

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The E46 M3 is one of BMW’s greatest 3 series models.

5. BMW i8: The BMW Of The Future? An Auto Mechanic College Student’s Guide

Learning about new hybrid technology is an important part of modern auto mechanic college training, and the ultramodern i8, which was released in 2014, shows that BMW is once again leading the way as an industry innovator. The i8’s 1.5L turbocharged 3 cylinder engine is supported by an electric motor to produce 362 hp and 320 lb ft of torque, with an acceleration of 0-100km in just 4.4 seconds, all with a fuel economy of 94mpg (40 l/100km).

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