The year 2020 was a tumultuous one for just about everyone—to say the least—but it was an especially interesting year for BMW. 2020 saw the unveiling of BMW’s new design language in production form not only on the new G22 4 Series, but also iconic models including the M3 and M4. Although we first saw the controversial styling back in September of 2019 when the Concept 4 was unveiled in Frankfurt, the motoring public is still acclimating to BMW’s decision, and the general reception hasn’t been kind.
At the same time that BMW committed itself to what could very well be the most divisive design decision in its history, the automaker, which uses the word motor within its name, also committed itself to an electrified future. BMW’s next-generation flagship vehicle, the iX, was revealed to a skeptical audience, and the company expanded battery and eDrive motor production throughout its global decentralized manufacturing network, while initiating plans to shift internal engine combustion outside of the home market of Germany.
It was also the year of the novel human coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in numerous temporary factory closures and production interruptions, along with forcing the overwhelming majority of unveilings and ceremonies from the physical realm to the virtual. Nevertheless, BMW continued to push forward at an almost unabated pace, accumulating a substantial number of accolades recognizing its efforts across the board, from the 3 Series to the 7 Series and X7, and from M cars to the latest electrified drivetrains.
According to BMW, “The latest run of success for the BMW 3 Series began in February 2020 with class victory in the “Best Cars 2020” competition held by German motoring magazine Auto, Motor und Sport. This was followed later in the year by the “Auto Trophy” awarded by Auto Zeitung magazine, a “sport auto Award” for the BMW 330i Sedan. The BMW 3 Series collected further prizes in the U.K., including the “Safety Award” from What Car?, the “Great British Fleet Award” as “Best New Fleet Car,” the “Car of the Year” distinction bestowed by Company Car Today and the “Most Loved Car” title from online portal Auto Trader. In Spain, meanwhile, the magazine El Economista rated BMW 3 Series Sedan as “Best Sedan” of the year. Further afield, the BMW 3 Series picked up a pair of awards in a competition held by the Chinese offshoot of Auto, Motor und Sport. As well as being voted “Best Locally Produced Middle Class Sedan,” it also took the overall honors as “Best Middle Class Sedan.””
The controversial design of BMW’s new midsize grand tourer also attracted recognition: “The new BMW 4 Series also notched up some notable successes in China, winning the “Fashion Award” offered by the publication Autolooke and the “Design of the Year” title from Auto World. It was also voted the new arrival of the year by the portal 163.com and the “Most Popular Imported Car of the Year” by Cheyiquan magazine. Plus, the “Zaker” portal presented the BMW 4 Series with the “Premium Sports Car of the Year” accolade.”
The current generation of the BMW 5 Series, introduced in 2016 and recently updated, continued to collect awards: “The BMW 5 Series also added to its sizeable collection of trophies and titles. In the “Best Cars 2020” rankings compiled by Auto, Motor und Sport, the 5 Series took its third victory in a row. What Car? handed the BMW 5 Series its “Best Luxury Car” honour and identified the BMW 5 Series Touring as the “Best Used Estate Car” and “Best Used Tow Car.” Further evidence that the BMW 5 Series has become an even more appealing proposition following its latest model update came with victory in the “Auto Trophy” presented by Germany’s Auto Zeitung, the “Best Executive Car” title in the contest held by British magazine BusinessCar and the “Connected Car of the Year” prize at the Automobile Awards 2020 in France. In China, the BMW 5 Series was voted “Best Locally Produced Executive Car” by the local edition of Auto, Motor und Sport and the “Best Middle Class Premium Vehicle” by the magazine We-cars. Another three national awards went to the long-wheelbase version of the BMW 5 Series Sedan developed exclusively for the Chinese market.”
The success and recognition was not limited to BMW’s more affordable models, as the luxury segment garnered attention as well: “BMW’s current range of luxury-segment models have snapped up some major international awards. Chinese portal shujincm named the BMW 8 Series luxury sports car “Selected Premium Car 2020.” And the 8 Series also won a “Luxury Cars in Quality” prize at the J.D Power Awards in the U.S. The sumptuous BMW X7 SAV tasted success in the “Best User Experiences 2020” competition held by U.S. magazine Wards. The X7 was also crowned “Premium SUV of the Year” by Chinese portal iauto-ilife.”
BMW’s X cars are quickly become the automaker’s bread and butter, and the current lineup represents some of the best vehicles to ever go on sale in the growing segment: “The worldwide popularity of the BMW X models was likewise reflected in numerous title wins decided by juries and readers in 2020. British magazine BusinessCar lauded the BMW X1 as “Best Premium Medium SUV.” The BMW X3 won the “Auto Trophy” from Germany’s Auto Zeitung in its class, as well as the “Best Medium SUV” prize from Spanish newspaper El País, France’s Automobile Award 2020 as “SUV of the Year” and the title “Best Locally Produced SUV and Off-Road Vehicle” from Auto, Motor und Sport in China. The BMW X5 was anointed “Best Big SUV” by El País, “Best SUV of the Year” in China by the autoreport.cn portal and “Best Buy Award 2020” in the category “Mid-Size Luxury SUV” by U.S. magazine Kelly Blue Book. Staying in the U.S.A., the BMW X6 was a double winner in the J.D Power Awards: the Sports Activity Coupé was successful in the categories “Luxury Cars in Quality” and “Best SUV to Buy in 2020.” Added to which, the Spanish edition of German motoring magazine Auto Bild ranked the BMW X6 as “Best SUV” of the year.”
According to BMW, M cars have been enjoying a worldwide winning run: “The current crop of BMW M cars also powered their way impressively to the top step of the podium several times over the course of 2020. Readers of German magazine Auto Bild Sportscars named the BMW M2 CS as their favorite car in its class. British magazine Evo rated the special-edition model as its “Car of the Year.” And the BMW M2 Competition was the standout model in its class at the sport auto awards. Also celebrating class victory in the sport auto awards was the BMW M340i xDrive Sedan and the BMW M340i xDrive Touring. Plus the BMW X6 M Competition tasted success in the “Best Interiors” contest hosted by Wards magazine. In the U.K., meanwhile, the car savants at Top Gear magazine had an eye on the future. They are already looking forward to the new BMW M3 Sedan and declared the new generation of the high-performance sports car to be the “Car we’re most looking forward to driving in 2021.””
BMW’s electrified vehicles weren’t left out, either: “BMW’s success in 2020 again underscores its leading position as a maker of vehicles with electrified drive systems. Among the brand’s biggest winners was the BMW 330e Sedan. In Germany, the plug-in hybrid model was presented with the “Goldenen Lenkrad” by Auto Bild and “Bild am Sonntag” and the “Auto Trophy” by Auto Zeitung. Back at the start of the year, British magazine What Car? had named the BMW 330e Sedan “Best Executive Car” and “Best Plug-in-Hybrid,” and added an “Electric Car Award” to the collection in August 2020. The plug-in hybrid also earned the “Best Company Car” prize from both Autocar and Parkers magazine. Another “Electric Car Award” from What Car? went to the BMW X5 xDrive45e, which was also named “Best Large Premium SUV” by Auto Express magazine and “Best Large Plug-in-Hybrid” by online portal Car Buyer. Meanwhile, Car Buyer handed the title of “Best Large Company Car” to the BMW 530e Sedan. The purely electrically powered BMW iX3 claimed its first awards in China, where the locally emission-free Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) has been produced by the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture for a few months now. The national publications Miaodongche30, Auto World, Sohu.com, and Zhongshulaila rated the BMW iX3 as the new arrival of the year against the other electric vehicles on sale in China.”—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]