BMW of Munich

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MOTOR SPORT visits the Headquarters of this very successful high-quality German car manufacturer

The swift rise to popularity of BMW in the sporting, high-quality car market has been a notable feature in the post-war motoring scene. Saved from extinction some years after the war by the sales-success of the little Isetta and BMW 700, this former aero engine company, founded in 1916, was able to revert to the kind of motor-cars it had made prior to hostilities. The 501 and 502 saloons and the sports 507 were fast luxury models of much distinction. They were followed by the very refined single-o.h.c. 1500, which in turn fostered the present range of BMW cars.

Today the BMW headquarters in Munich constitute impressive evidence of the place this Company occupies in World affairs. The clover-leaf building rises to a top executive suite 22 storeys high, as that it, and the BMW badge symbolising an aeroplane propeller, that it carries, are seen from far away. This impressive office establishment is entered through a foyer of impressive spaciousness, and you soon become aware that throughout the BMW colour-scheme has been utilised to pleasing effect – blue carpeting, silver walls. The fourth floor consists of screened waiting rooms, the Press department occupies the 19th floor, and executive-lifts complete the journey to the top floor, each office lit by curved, blue-tinted windows.

THE BMW Museum

To the left of the aforesaid entrance foyer there is a long art-gallery, where exhibitions having no connection with motoring are staged. The public is admitted to this at specified times and it is not by accident that it leads to the compact but very comprehensive BMW Museum – while the menfolk enjoy the motoring•exhibits their women companions can linger among the paintings and sculpture . . . .

In recent times many manufacturers have followed the lead of Mercedes-Benz and formed their own museums. While that of BMW is less extensive than some, it is consequently less over-whelming, and it adequately portrays the development of BMW machinery from about 1919 onwards.

The exhibits are displayed in tiers, the top floor being reached by a self-starting escalator, after which visitors can walk down gentle blue-carpeted slopes to the ground floor. The exhibits are unprotected by rails or fencing, so each can be intimately examined. All, that is, except the competition heirlooms, which occupy an area against the wall, viewed over a cavity. The aero-engines are there, from 1919 six-cylinder 320-h.p. single-o.h.c. and a similar V12, with exposed valve gear, through the well-known BMW radial engines such as the 27.7-litre 9-cylinder flugmotor of 1933, and the 41.8-litre 801 of 1943, to the 1962 6012A Strachlturbine and Hovercraft units, etc. The car exhibits range through every remembered BMW model and several rarities, commencing with a 1929 Dixie (Austin 7) two-seater and chassis, the engine size of which is quoted at 743 c.c. History extends through a 1956 Isetta and the four-wheeler, four-seater 700 saloon, to the larger cars. There is a 1932 795-c.c. AM4 “limousine”, a yellow-and-black 303 saloon with six-cylinder 1,175-c.c. engine, a 1937 327/28 coupe of revered memory, one of those fine 335 convertibles, hood folded, with 90-b.h.p. 3,485-c.c. engine, and a 1955 502 chassis showing to advantage the stout tubular frame and steering-column gear lever.

Space does not permit me to name all the BMWs on show, but the 502 chassis is backed by a 502 cabriolet and a 503 of the same body-style, and then one comes to that 1963 1500, a car which impressed me so favourably when we were allowed to thrash one round the Nurburgring when it was a new model. A 1966 2000CS giving 120 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. from its 1,990-c.c. engine reminds one of how development proceeded and the pre-war sports BMWs are there in force. For example, a 1935 Type 55, and a 1938 328 of course. Many of the exhibits have suitable photographic backgrounds and component parts in perspex cases use the sidewalks. The competition section is immensely interesting. There you find an open 1939 328 rennsport, a 1973 3.0 CSL with rear spoiler, labelled “Amon/Stuck”, the turbo saloon racer, a 700 RS, and a BMW rally saloon. A picture depicts no fewer than ten 328s leaving the line together at the Nurburgring and later sports models include that big, very handsome V8 507 and a 1960 700 Sport.

The motorcycles have a section to themselves, with all the flat-twin, shaft-drive models from 1923 to 1973 on show, not forgetting the single-cylinder BMW, and a massive 1935 sidecar outfit. The racing BMW motorcycles are perhaps the most fascinating inhabitants of this one-make museum. They embrace the solo mit compressor, the Henne sidecar-outfit, and the last word in fully-faired enclosed record-breaking BMWs, etc. Finally, there are two BMW-powered F2 cars, Questee’s, and a March 732. The Museum area of the main BMW building is on the site of the pre-war aero-engine factory.

The BMW Competition Department

One of the more recent legends in motor racing is has Jochen Neerpasch left Ford to become Racing Manager of the BMW Motor sport GmbH, and of how the BMW saloons, although heavier than the 3-litre Ford Capris, defeated them by better adhesion, achieved by the use of aerofoils. Having won the 1973 European Touring Car Championship, BMW backed off last year until it was too late to secure sufficient points to repeat this success and Ford were again in the ascendent. Now they are again taking a very big interest in racing and during our visit were hopeful of doing well at Daytona.

It is always a salutary experience to visit a factory racing department and that at BMWs was especially intriguing. Although there is a separate racing section, it is significant that the competition engines are built in the main factory, so that there is a much closer liaison between racing and production-line than is often the case.

After we had chatted about divers racing topics in his office with Jochen Neerpasch he took as round the racing shops. The stores containing the special equipment that is available to those building their own competition BMWs would do justice to a small motor manufacturer, and the racing department courtyard round which the racing shops with their blue doors are clustered, emphasises the calm atmosphere in which Neerpasch’s staff do their work. There are three engine test bays, one for four-cylinder, two for six cylinder power units, carefully sound-proofed, because this racing department is in the centre of Munich. Here sixteen-valve twin-cam F2 engines and 430-b.h.p. saloon-car power units are tested. Maximum power is naturally sought from the F2 engines but I was told that all these power units are required to be within five b.h.p. of one another. There is an inspection bay for the checking out of racing components. It is a compliment to Peugeot, incidentally, that this make of estate car is used for rally support work by BMW.

BMW private owners are encouraged to compete for the annual BMW Sports Trophy on a points basis and successful participation carries many advantages, such as rebates on the purchase of new cars and special pars for competition purposes, etc. The person to whom to apply is Herbert Staudenmaier. Martin Braungart is responsible for competition department engineering and development of the four-valve-per cylinder BMW power units, etc., but they are, as I have said, made in the main factory. Rainer Bratensteun looks after BMW rally participation and Neerpasch’s department is administered to by Helmut Ritzerfield.

Neerpasch has had practical experience not only of racing organisation but of driving racing cars. He firmly believes that racing and rallying are beneficial to the BMW image and that valuable technical lessons result from such competition work. He has under him some 60 people, who carry out their exacting duties with unflurried efficiency, to which the isolation of the racing shops obviously contributes. It should also be remembered that BMW are still very much involved with motorcycles and that they take a close interest in those who take part in motorcycle sport with their machines.

The Sales Aspect

It is the practice in Germany for offices to open early and for executives and staff to occupy them long after most British workers are on their way home. Having talked with Jochen Neerpasch we were granted an evening interview with Hans-Erdmann Schonbeck, Sales Director of BMW and a member of the Board. He had laid on a magnificent sunset for us to admire from the window of his top-floor office, from which one can see distant mountains, the adjacent Olympic Games stadium, a television tower and, looking down, the jewel-patterns made by the lamps of cars traversing the wide roads below, and observe the huge BMW badge that constitutes the roof of the 4th floor of the Museum. Herr Schonbech, who came to BMW from VW-Audi, did not mince matters concerning the present state of the economy in Germany. BMW had been working three-day shifts but by scheduling these as an extension of the Christmas break, they had softened the blow to some extent, He hoped that matters would soon improve, as the older cars became due for replacement, and is confident of the American market, where a new BMW sales organisation to import assembled cars is to be set up. Only in S. Africa and Portugal are BMWs sent out for assembly locally.

The Sales Director is happy that BMW, with their wide range of models, has most of the quality-car market covered. Their production capacity precludes a return to the Isetta type of economy-car, nor do they contemplate going bigger than the recently-introduced 3.3L. The 2002 Touring was dropped because it did not offer sufficient carrying capacity for its price. Otherwise, the range, complex as it appears, is effectively closing most of the gaps which competitors might wish to occupy. BMW export 50% of their output of cars and expect that home sales will increase by about 8% this year, in spite of the unhappy financial Climate. Germany, of course, does not have the hampering speed limits that Britain has to contend with.

Neerpasch might have been somewhat biased when he said he regarded competition activity as beneficial to BMW in more ways than one. So it was gratifying to learn that the Sales-Director holds the same view. He was excited about the Daytona participation a week hence at the time of my interview, expecting that BMWs appearance in American racing, even if not victorious, would further uplift the make’s prestige in the USA. But, like Neerpasch, Schonbeck does not forsee BMW getting into F1, particularly as the Formula might change just as suitable 3-litre engines had been developed. He was also not optimistic about the adoption of the anti-lock brakes BMW have used effectively on one of their racing saloons, although this engineering exercise has been useful, because if forced to do so by a rival company, BMW would have ready the means whereby this braking system could be applied to catalogue cars. Nor would he be drawn on the subject of smaller coupé models from BMW. We have a hunch that a more likely new model would be a 3.0 estate-car.

Incidentally, the BMW range may seem somewhat complicated, but it is really very logical, as the accompanying table shows.

BMW model designations indicate the approximate engine capacity from the first two figures. Thus the 2002 is a 2-litre, the 2.8 is a 2.8-litre, and the 3.0 a 3-litre, etc. In the case of the newer types, the figure “5” denotes the body mode and the last two figures the engine size. That the 520 is a later-model 2-Litre. The “2” at the end of the type numbering implies a two-door body, as on the 1502 to 2002 range. The table explains other symbols. The coupe bodies are made by Karmann, the CSL being the lightweight version of the CS, with aluminium bonnet panel, boot-lid and doors, and thin gauge steel roof, etc. The Turbo BMWs are only available in left-hand-drive form.

BMW Engine Development

The foregoing interview concluded our first day in Munich, where we had been escorted efficiently and pleasantly informally by Michael Schimpke, who looks after the comfort and requirements of the Overseas Press. Michael spent some time in England, where he owned such cars as a Morgan 4/4 and a TR Triumph. He had at us at the Airport in a BMW 520 and was justifiably excited when we encountered just such a Morgan as he had been telling as about, in the centre of Munich. Later, an Isetta was encountered going well.

The next morning this industrious PRO had arranged an appointment for me with Alex von Falkenhausen, head of BMW Engine Development, who is responsible for both car and motorcycle engines. We found the silver haired engineer in his office, approached as usual via a personable and protective private secretary. This was in an older building (no lifts) but, traditionally, not Falkenhausen occupied a big office, sitting at a tidy desk as If he had nothing in his morning’s programme but to give time to foreign journalists! He has had long experience of high-output engines, having joined BMW many years ago, with a brief departure to work on his own Veritas racing project, as he says, on a shoestring. I remarked that the 328 BMW engine was a very fine piece of pre-war design, which Bristol used after the war but that in Munich it had been dropped. Von Falkenhausen agreed that in its day the 328 had been a fine thing. But after the war, he explained, BMW regarded it as not good enough and their new single-overhead-camshaft engine was easier to produce. They use chain drive for the o.h.-camshaft, he said, because a chain will last the life of the engine. He was pleased when we spoke of BMW’s turbocharging as a considerable technical breakthrough. But he emphasised that only a small number of such units had been contemplated, and that after making some 1,500 the project might be phased out. There had been very little difficulty with the turbocharger, the biggest problem being to ensure that materials were used that would stand up to the heat bands involved. Fuel-injection engines seemed best suited to this layout.

BMW set much store by the special combustion chamber they call their “triple hemispherical head” but it is not ideal when American emission requirements have to be met. It was first developed for the six-cylinder engines and then adopted for the smaller ones. We commiserated about the way in which politics are affecting engineering progress and von Falkenhausen said that he foresees less-complicated engines in the future, giving greater fuel economy. BMW are unlikely to abandon the single-o.h.c. power unit or go to twin-o.h.c. engines and he felt that the piston engine is unlikely to be overshadowed in the foreseeable future. He remarked that while lubricants have improved, the most impressive advances, in his opinion, have been in tyre design and construction.

He emphasised again that motor racing is of considerable value to BMW, especially as the racing engines are a product of the parent factory. He would naturally be pleased if it were possible for BMW to develop their 3-litre engine into a power unit for F1 racing. But he said this would entail a three-year programme, which is out of the question. By that time over 500 b.h.p. would undoubtedly be required and, anyway, a change of Forrnula might wreck such a project. But he looked to more activity in America, under the IMSA rules, with a view to maintaining BMW’s reputation. He saw the increasing use of fuel injection to combat exhaust emission laws and said that soon all BMW engines would be using Bosch equipment for easier servicing. At present the 520i uses Kugelfischer inlet manifold fuel injection, the 3.0CSi has Bosch direct electronic fuel injection, while the 2002 turbo used Schafer mechanical fuel injection, and a KKK/8LO turbocharger. They had founded their new range of engines many years ago with the single-o.h.c. 1½-litre but he had regarded this as too small and had provided for its enlargement to 1,600 c.c. and upwards – originally the Directors had wanted this to be a 1,300 c.c. engine. BMW had used a V8 engine in the 502 and 507 models but it was too costly to make and these push-rod power units were “a little old-fashioned”. There isn’t likely to be a V8 in the future BMW programme, although a very interesting experimental fuel-injection engine of this kind stands in the passage outside the von Falkenhausen office, keeping company with a current six-cylinder engine and the forerunner of the first of the present four-cylinder range.

Von Falkenhausen said the modem BMW sixes give excellent torque, so that an eight cylinder isn’t viable, nor does he see the engine capacity going beyond the present 3.3-litres. He does not think a five-speed gearbox necessary either, and personally he is not in favour of automatic transmission, although this is available on several BMW models. Overdrive would be acceptable but cannot be bought-out in Germany. (BMW assemble their manual boxes but do not make their own gearbox internals.) He would like to see a BMW sports car but development costs would not be in line with the sales potential.

He refused to be drawn on the subject of smaller BMW coupés but said that turbocharging presented no servicing problems and that existing engines were strong enough to cope with the extra power. Indeed, stated this experienced engineer, there were no mechanical problems and no heat problems in the engine with turbocharging; in fact, this had been a comparatively uneventful development. It gave an easy source of extra power providing the materials with which the turbo was made would withstand the high temperatures involved, which was the only expensive aspect. Bearing loads were lower with this form of power increase, too. They started with it in 1969, obtaining 280 b.h.p., which was decreased to 170 b.h.p. for production 2-litre turbo-BMWs. By using fuel-injection engines it was easier to control the temperature, as the heat was in the air-flow rather than the fuel.

Whereas racing developed and publicised engine efficiency, von Falkenhausen thought rallying was especially useful from the chassis angle. A future requirement with ordinary cars will be engines that will burn low-octane petrels, to prepare for the reduction in the lead content of fuels in America. BMW expect that by next year their engines will mostly accept two-star petrol.

After which we returned to history von Falkenhausen saying Bristol put better materials into the 328-type engine than BMW had done before the war, which made it very expensive. But he recalled having raced a BMW 328-powered F2 car after the war.

On the motorcycle side BMW had experienced scarcely any drop in sales and their big 900-c.c. machine remained the best seller, whereas in the car world it was the 2002 and 500/525 models that best held their sales. Von Falkenhausen remarked that an in-line 4-cylinder motorcycle presented difficulties to BMW if they were to retain shaft-drive, due to overall length, while water-cooling might then be necessary, which would increase expense, which could also apply to a flat-four. Chain drive just wasn’t acceptable to them, nor had BMW any intention of making small motorcycles when they were working to full capacity as it was.

We left feeling that the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, under Von Kuenheim, its President, is in a strong and confident position, unless the prevailing world economic recession worsens and engulfs everyone. It employs about 27,500 persons and some of its key personnel have come from other important factories, the Sales Director from VW, the Publicity-boss from Mercedes-Benz, the Head of the Racing Department’s test-shop from Porsche, for instance.

The New Factory at Dingolfing

Time did not permit of looking over the Munich factory, which we have visited before. Here every engine is run on the bench, in the test-department on the second floor. Instead, we were driven by Michael’s capable Secretary, Yvonne, in a new BMW 518 (medium-size body shell, 1.8-litre engine) to the new factory at Dingolfing, about 1½-hours’ drive away. This was opened for production about two years ago. Situated in the delightful Bavarian countryside, it is clearly not yet functioning at anything like its full, future potential. It consists of three works, one making transmissions and axles, another spare parts for export, while in a third factory building 518 and 520 BMWs are assembled, engines having been brought for the purpose from Munich in Mercedes Benz trucks. Parts of some other models are manufactured, also, for dispatch to the Munich plant.

We were shown over the Dingolfing factory by Herr Koemmel, who was formerly Managing Director of the Glas Motor Company at this site, until BMW over-ran it. He is now attached to BMW’s Public Relations Department. This fine new establishment covers 250,000 sq. metres, and employs 6,700 personnel, of whom 2,400 are engaged in making the 518 and 520-series cars. A former tractor factory has been converted into blocks of flats to accommodate workers, two per flatlet. The hope was to attract foreign labour but only 450 such workers are there at present, although covering 12 Nationalities, and some Stateless persons. Married workers are taken home at week-ends and 120 ‘buses cover a total of 72,000 km. a day fetching and carrying factory operatives. They are mostly (and here there is a twinkle in the eyes of Yvonne who was translating for us) Mercedes-Benz coaches. At present some 200 cars emerge every day from the production lines in the 190,000 sq. metre assembly halls and are sent by rail and road to Munich. That is with single-shift working. The full present capacity is, however, 300 to 350 cars per day.

First we saw how the sheet metal is sent on devious journeys from rail-head to the towering storage racks entirely by computer. Scrap metal from the press-shops is similarly returned, compacted, for dispatch to the sheet-metal mills. Tools for the press-shop are made in a separate hall, and the body pressings are formed in a spacious press-shop containing a dozen Muller presses and almost as many smaller IWK, Schuler and Muller presses. These are backed up by a couple of Lasco machines.

The shells are electrically spot-welded by SMG, Muller and other torches as they pass along an overhead gantry. The progression is fully automated, so that the body pan, for instance, is turned over and upright again, for further welding, and the wheal arches are fed into place for yet more welding, on a Kaka automatic handler.

Three conveyor lines at floor level take the completed body shells to the finishing bays, where they are hung vertically and lifted by Devil-biss hoists for dipping into the various paint and cleaning vats. The action is fully automatic, except that operatives on platforms beside the hoists remove paper blanking and where necessary touch up odd spots with spray guns.

We were impressed by the attention devoted to body preparation, rust-proofing, and painting. It includes the usual washing, electrolytic paint depositing, and very thorough rubberised undersealing, but in addition the welds are filled in at a Vertak dipping vat and much rubbing down is done at various stages. Finally, the paint is dried in Dürr ovens.

The body shells has proceed in a single line on a head-level conveyor for the assembly, by jacking up, of power units complete with front suspension struts and propshafts, and later, after making a U-turn, for the back axle to be fitted. The rear suspension and shock-absorber struts have already been attached to the bodies. Finally, on two-floor assembly lines, the cars are fitted with the smaller parts and are washed in a Thermak bath. They are then driven onto roller dynamometers, of which there are three in a row, for the usual running-up tests and checks, done by two operatives per car. During this inspection, braking from 120 k.p.h. is simulated. Our look at the highlights of Dingolfing ended with a run in a Hanomag Henschel works ‘bus, back to the parked 518.

The 518 and 528 are new models, using the 520 bodyshell and following the specification of that model, except for the larger and smaller engines. The bigger car has a tachometer. Obviously a 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine in the medium-size, good-handling BMW spells exciting performance and later we timed a 528 to cover a f.s. kilo. in 18.2 sec., when it was doing an indicated 201 to 202 k.p.h. at 6,100 to 6,200 r.p.m.; it had strong understeer but was almost impossible to turn into an oversteerer, on its Continental TS 772 tyres. For the American market only, this new car is available with 3.0i engine.

The BMW Test Track

On the morning of our return to England we drove out to Ascheim to look at the impressive BMW test track. It flanks a dammed-up lake on one side and is conserving of ground, because instead of being circular, it has two long straights each of 7 km., joined by very slightly-banked turns. All the expected facilities are available, such as electronic recording apparatus, a handling course with well diversified and sensible bends, rough rides that include lengths of tram-line, a water bath, a skid-pan, jump-humps, hills of differing gradient, and a side-wind deflection run. Such a test track and proving ground must be very beneficial to BMW, in conjunction with their racing and rallying undertakings. They have there full crash observation rigs and it was rather pathetic to see a car-park filled with the remains of such crunches.

All that remained was to return home and write one’s impressions of BMW growth and efficiency. We had arrived in a 600 m.p.h. BA Trident. Now it was a case of cruising at about a sixth of this speed along the autobahns, in a Michelin XWX-shod lightweight BMW 3.0CSL coupé with front spoiler and tail aerofoil. It proved an excelent road-express, a land-aeroplane, enabling us to leave at 13.35 and arrive at Calais, 528 miles away, by 21.00 hours,with much traffic and three stops en route to take on Deltin, Chevron and Fina fuel, which this fast BMW consumed at 18.8 m.p.g. It was annoying to find, after a closed level crossing at the docks had delayed us, that British Rail now shut their gates on the Sea Link customers somewhat before the published time, and moreover, no longer permit foot passengers to embark just before the boat sails. In other words we, and many other travellers, would have been stranded all night, had not Townsend Thoresen put on an unscheduled service with Enterprise Ill about a couple of hours later. And that was unable to berth for an hour when it approached Dover, which lost us about as much time as it took the BMW to make the Metropolis. After which I had to drive home through what remained of the night, in another BMW of course. – W.B.

MOTOR SPORT’s opinion of some BMWs

Type 55 Frazer-Nash BMW

“. . . one can be truthfully say that here is a light car which for performance and comfort can hold its own with any large car on the market….” (November, 1935)

Type 45 Frazer-Nash BMW

“We have tried to show that here is a car which offers extreme refinement, sports car performance at low engine speeds and which possesses the finest steering we have ever handled, the best road-holding of any modern touring car we know, and which is beautifully finished and extremely comfortable.” (February, 1937)

BMW 501

“Where this V8 BMW really came into its own was on the German autobahns, for it would go up to maximum speed with no sound from the engine to give any indication of the power being developed.” (November, 1955)

BMW Isetta

“Economical and lively, as well as being enormous fun to drive.” (April, 1956)

BMW 507

“Although BMW appreciate that the 507 is not sufficiently fast for sports-car racing, with its very good performance, excellent gear-change, and outstandingly safe road-holding, it constitutes a very handsome sports-tourer. Von Falkhausen hopes to drive one in the 1957 Alpine Rally.” (November, 1956)

BMW 1500

“. . . here is a small car with extremely good performance and plenty of life. It also imparts a sense of quality and well-being in a typically modern manner.”(January, 1962)

BMW 700 (two-carburetter coupe)

“I found this little BMW cyclecar good fun. Over 80 m.p.h. from 697 c.c. is not to be sneezed at, especially with excellent acceleration to 70 m.p.h. which makes passing slower vehicles a safe accomplishment.” (May, 1962)

BMW 1800Ti

“This BMW impressed me . . . as a very pleasant but not quite an exceptionally outstanding car – a vehicle of definite `Jekyll-and-Hyde’ character.” (February, 1966)

Frazer-Nash BMW 2000Ti

“. . .a quite outstanding car, combining the comfort and convenience of a medium size family saloon with the qualities of a sports car and having particularly commendable handling, steering, gearbox and performance.” (September, 1967)

BMW 1600

“. . . a well-equipped car, extremely well built and finished.” (August, 1967)

BMW 2002

“… once driven, never forgotten, the BMW 2002 is about the finest family car available. . . .” (September, 1968)

BMW 2800

“The 2800 has the refinement of the 1500, more ‘character’ than the four-cylinder models, and must be regarded as one of the World’s great cars.” (October, 1969)

BMW 3.0CS

“It is difficult to find a car to compare with the 3.0CS unless one counts other BMWs, including the much less expensive 2800….” (October, 1971)

BMW 2000 Touring “

. . . we would thoroughly recommend this sporting saloon to the discerning motorist.” (January, 1972)

BMW 2500“Extended enjoyment of this reliable BMW 2500 has increased my admiration for the cars from Munich. . . .” (December, 1972)

BMW 3.0CSL

“This CSL made no bones about running close to its top speed (146 m.p.h.) for hours on end. .. . The best hour was 124.7 miles, on the wet Autoroute south of Paris. . . . It gave 15.13 m.p.g. and an oil consumption of 950 m.p.p.” (When covering 3,789 miles in Europe in four days.) (January, 1973)

BMW 520i

“I was pleased to find the same excellent layout of minor controls, instruments, and stowages as on the bigger six-cylinder BMW. . . . Although the coil-spring all-independent suspension of the latest race-developed type is on the hard side, the occasional lurches induced as the wheels follow road undulations do not deflect the BMW front its course and the ride is as good as that from much more loudly-publicised and sophisticated systems.” (August, 1973)

BMW 3.0Si

“By the time we were back in London the BMW had covered 1,830 miles (in France), requiring no oil, or water, and being 100% trouble-free. When we topped up with Esso it showed the overall consumption to have been 15.1 m.p.g.” (averaging 88.6 m.p.h.). (November, 1974)

BMW 3.3L

“Altogether this biggest of the BMWs is a splendid car for long-distance travel in maximum comfort.” (December,1974)

Photostat copies of the full road-test reports are available on application to the MOTOR SPORT back-issues department. Please quote the date of the test report required, which appears within brackets after each quote.

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