30-year anniversary for BMW all-wheel drive

It sometimes feels that the lucrative SUV market has always been prominent on the global stage, but this is not the case. If we go back three decades, SUVs were not the flavour of the day when BMW started fitting all-wheel drive (AWD) to the 3-Series. It was this model that started the ball rolling and put the German luxury car manufacturer on the road to its current dominance in this sector.

In 1985 the first BMW model with power to all four wheels was the E30, which was the second generation of the iconic 3-Series. The 325i Allrad was first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and later a touring version was also offered.

It was six years later, in 1991, that technicians at BMW thought about adapting the successful technology for the bigger 5-Series; however, we had to wait until 1999 for the debut of the X5 before things really began to take off. It is incredible to think that in 2015 around 33% of all BMWs come with AWD and that this year marks the 30th anniversary.

These days BMW can offer its customers 110 models that sport the new-generation all-wheel-drive system, which is the xDrive. AWD is available across 12 different model series, including the i8 plug-in hybrid.

Happy anniversary BMW, and congratulation on what is a story of success and incredible foresight.