BMW turns 100 this year. And throughout much of its history, it has been benchmark manufacturer.

The Bayerische Motoren Werks grew out of an existing aircraft and motorbike manufacturer in 1916, during World War One. As many such firms did, it started building cars in 1933, launching a license-built version of the Austin 7.

Success before World War 2 was followed by deep financial trouble in the Fifties. That it’s main factory ended up in Communist East Germany didn’t help. But in the early Sixties it created the Neue Klasse saloon, the right product at the right time, which sold very well indeed. It’s on the back of that car’s success that BMW as we know it was developed.

Looking through its back catalogue, BMW has made notably few duds. But there are undoubtedly highlights. Click through the gallery below to see BMW’s greatest hits.

By Only Motors

Images via Favcars.com