Automoblog Book Garage: The BMW Century

Book Garage

BMW’s lineup is complete with both two- and four-wheeled machines. Whether you are a motorcycle lover or car enthusiast, it’s easy to love a BMW. It’s easy to marvel at the designs, easy to admire the engineering, and easy to become enamored by the storied history.

For me, personally, it’s easy to dream about the M3.

But getting there for BMW wasn’t an easy road by any means. It’s been a hundred years in the making and our feature this weekend in the Automoblog Book Garage showcases this iconic brand through the years.

Centennial Force

Established in 1916, BMW is one of the auto and motorcycle industry’s most respected names. The BMW Century: The Ultimate Performance Machines examines how this came to fruition. The book details the company’s new visionary team following World War II and how the brand was carefully and thoughtfully built into what it is today. From pre-war motorcycles to the R-series twins of the 1970s and 80s, to the incredible M-series cars and superbikes of today, The BMW Century makes the phrase “German engineering” more than an abstract thought.

It brings it completely to life.

Diversity & Dynamics

While the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and powerful M Series are some of BMW’s most beloved, the motorcycle division is equally on par. The BMW Century tells us about the 1923 avant-garde R32, which featured a 180-degree, horizontally opposed twin engine, a BMW hallmark. Legendary machines like the R90S, R100RS, and R80GS eventually used the configuration as well.

The book then proceeds to 1983, when BMW began building three- and four-cylinder machines, effectively creating the S1000RR sport bike of today.

Over the past century, BMW has grown and changed and The BMW Century chronicles this remarkable transformation, complete with hundreds of historic photos from the automaker’s archives. This is one book for the living room coffee table, especially if there is a BMW in your garage.


Tony Lewin has spent most of his working life driving cars, analyzing them, and reporting on the ups and downs of the global enterprises that build them. As a writer and editor for Automotive News Europe he has kept a constant watch on the world’s top automakers for many years. Today, from his home in East Sussex, England, Lewin divides his time between journalism and books.

The BMW Century: The Ultimate Performance Machines is available through Amazon and Motorbooks.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan

The BMW Century Gallery

Last weekend in the Automoblog Book Garage we featured an Italian icon.