If you hang around the BMW or regular car forums, you will undoubtedly see that someone has an E46 325i, an E39 M5, or something of the sort. E and one or two numbers after denote the generation of the particular car you are talking about. If you say E36 to an enthusiast he or she will know that you mean a 3-Series running from the years 1992-1999, then it is up to you to disclose the exact model and other information.

When I first got into BMWs, I was so confused, and I still am sometimes when talking about certain cars. The numbering has gotten easier to remember in some ways, but harder than others. Well folks, Josh is here to help you figure out how to remember the numbering and figure things out. I will focus on the newer BMW’s that people seem to have more of and if you want the skinny on the older Bimmers you can comment me and ask me for more information.

The best way to not confuse yourself is to try and use the numbering/generation system when talking about BMW’s as to teach yourself and others. As you read my writings here on BMWBLOG, you will see that I use the numbering system a lot, especially when talking about the new M3.

You will see me say E90 for the sedan, E92 for the coupe and E93 for the convertible, which is how it goes. BMW started to adopt this method so you wouldn’t have to define your car too much to others. You could say E90 330i and people knew what you meant.

Here are the current and some older numbering systems with the perspective years and model range.

  • 1-Series – E82/88 (Coupe, Convertible) 2008-
  • 3-Series – E90/91/92/93 (Sedan, Touring, Coupe, Convertible) 2006- Current, E46 1999-2006
  • 5-Series – E60/61 (Sedan, Touring) 2004-Current, E39 1995-2003
  • 6-Series – E63/64 (Coupe, Convertible) 2004-Current
  • 7-Series – E65/66 (Short, Long wheelbase) 2002-2007, E38-E38/2 (Short, Long wheelbase) 1994-2001
  • Z4 – E85/86 (Convertible, Coupe) Vert 2003-Current, Coupe 2006-Current
  • X3 – E83 2004-Current
  • X5 – E70 2007-Current, E53 2000-2006
  • X6 – E71 2008-

The next generation 7-Series will start with a new F coding system and will start with F01 for 2008 as the short wheelbase and the F02 as the long wheelbase.

Well, I hope this helps with the confusions. I know it’s certainly helped me.

Article by Josh at RawAutos.com