Different Types of BMW Cars

Updated February 26, 2018

The 2011 car line-up from Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) includes several coupes and sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and a convertible sports car. The company offers models with six-, eight-, 10- and 12-cylinder gasoline engines, as well as a diesel engine. BMW organises its models by a number series, such as 1 or 3. Higher numbers within a series usually reflect larger engine displacements. BMWs have a reputation for good quality and performance reflected in a premium price tag.

1 and 3 Series

The BMW 1 series two-door coupes are the company's entry-level, lowest-priced cars. BMW offers the 128i and 135i models in coupe or convertible body styles.

The 3 series comprises two- and four-door models, coupes and convertibles, wagons and four-wheel-drive versions. Both the 1 and 3 series are compact cars using similar six-cylinder gasoline-powered engines ranging from 230 to 320 horsepower. The company also offers the 335d model with a diesel engine.

5 and 7 Series

The 5 and 7 series cars are BMW's mid- and full-size models, respectively. The company offers them as four-door sedans only. A six-cylinder engine powers the base 528i model, the 535i's is turbocharged, and the 550i has a V8. The 7 series has six-, eight- and 12-cylinder models. As with the 3 series, you can get the 5 and 7 series with four-wheel drive.

6 Series

Two models make up the 6 series---the 650i two-door coupe and convertible, both powered by a 360-horsepower, 4.8-l V8. Though the 3, 5 and 7 series offer room for four or more adults, the 650i has more restricted rear seating.

X Series SUVs

BMW offers 3 SUV models---the X3, X5 and X6. They have features comparable to SUV models from other automakers, such as a high road clearance and four-wheel drive. They have engines including a standard six-cylinder engine, a turbocharged six and a V8.


BMW's Z4 sports car has a classic two-seat convertible body style with standard six-cylinder engines ranging from 255 to 335 horsepower. As with the coupes and sedans, the Z4 has a front-engine, rear-drive layout.

M Series

The BMW M (Motorsport) series includes 3, 6, X5 and X6 series models with more powerful engines and suspensions tuned for tighter handling. The M3 and M6 come as coupes and convertibles and have V8 and V10 engines, respectively.

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About the Author

Chicago native John Papiewski has a physics degree and has been writing since 1991. He has contributed to "Foresight Update," a nanotechnology newsletter from the Foresight Institute. He also contributed to the book, "Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance."