BMW M3 M4 Lineage

Spend a bit of time in the BMW community, and you’ll soon find yourself peppered by terms like E46, E38, F80, G30, and a myriad of others in the course of conversation. Although these codes, which refer to specific BMW chassis from throughout the brand’s history, may seem like jargon, they’re actually the vernacular of BMW enthusiasm, and the language of brand aficionados. The well-versed among us can rattle them off like it’s no one’s business, thus indicating one of the first signs of BMW obsession to the uninformed, but the truth is that it doesn’t take long to pick up on the various codes and the cars they correspond to.

There’s a reason why descriptors like E30 and F30 are so common in the BMW world, and it’s because they are an effective three-character way to zero in on the car you’re talking about. Call an E36 a third-generation 3 Series in a group of BMW devotees and see what happens. You might see a few start to count in their head before they realize you’re referring to one of the most distinctive and important generations in the lineage, which marked a true turning point for BMW.

On the same coin, you’ll also quickly realize that there seems to be very little rhyme or reason to BMW’s chassis codes, their formulation, and their ordering in time. There are a few rules which have established themselves, such as that new chassis tending to be represented by a larger numerical value—but not always—and eventually a new preceding letter further down the alphabet. When it comes to trying to predict what a future generation of a 3 Series or 5 Series might be assigned in terms of a chassis code though, your guess is as good as anyone else’s.

BMW’s chassis codes are of heightened importance when it comes to M cars, as there have been several generations of the M3 and M5, but the model designation 325e, for example, was only ever used on the E30 chassis. An E30 M3 and a G80 M3 might go for similar money, but the people the market for either car aren’t likely to be cross shopping the other.

So where do we start? With a chart of BMW chassis codes, of course. There’s no master database for these things, but this is the closest we’ve come to compiling one, and you can expect this one to be updated and amended with new chassis and models as time goes on, or when an error is found. Speaking or errors and inconsistencies, opinions tend to differ on the years certain BMW chassis were manufactured and available, and it can occasionally be difficult to determine the difference between production years and model years. We’ve also got a similar resource to aid in the understanding of BMW engine codes, which adhere to a code that’s a bit easier to crack.—Alex Tock

BMW Chassis Codes BMW Chassis Codes
E3: 2500, 3.3 Li, 1968–1977 E84: X1, 2009–2015
E9: 2500CS–3.0CSi, 1969–1975 E85: Z4 roadster, 2003–2008
E12: 5 Series up to 1981 E86: Z4/M coupe, 2006–2008
E21: 3 Series up to 1983 E87: 1 Series five-door, 2004–2011
E23: 7 Series up to 1987 E88: 1 Series convertible, 2008–2013
E24: 6 Series, 1976–1989 E89: Z4 roadster, 2009–2016
E26: M1, 1978–1981 E90: 3 Series, 2005–2011 (fifth Generation)
E28: 5 Series, 1981–1987 (second generation) E91: 3 Series wagon, 2005–2012
E30: 3 Series, 1984–1991 (second generation) E92: 3 Series coupe, 2005–2013
E31: 8 Series, 1989–1997 E93: 3 Series convertible, 2007–2011
E32: 7 Series, 1986–1994 (second generation) F01: 7 Series SWB, 2008–2015 (fifth Generation)
E34: 5 Series, 1988–1995 (third generation) F02: 7 Series LWB, 2008–2015
E36: 3 Series, 1992–1999 (third generation) F03: 7 Series security, 2008–2015
E36/5: 3 Series compact, 1994–1999 F04: ActiveHybrid 7, 2010–2015
E36/7: Z3/M roadster, 1996–2002 F06: 6 Series Gran Coupé, 2012–2018
E36/8: Z3/M Coupe, 1998–2002 F07: 5 Series GT, 2009–2016
E38: 7 Series, 1994–2001 (third gengernation) F10: 5 Series, 2010–2016
E39: 5 Series, 1995–2003 (fourth generation) F11: 5 Series wagon, 2010–2016
E46: 3 Series, 1999–2006 (fourth generation) F12: 6 Series convertible, 2011–2018
E46/5: 3 Series compact, 2000–2003 F13: 6 Series coupe, 2011–2017 (third Generation)
E52: Z8 roadster, 2000–2003 F15: X5, 2014–2018 (third Generation)
E53: X5, 2000–2006 F16: X6, 2014–2019 (second Generation
E60: 5 Series, 2004–2009 (fifth generation) F20: 1 Series 5-door, 2011–2019
E61: 5 Series wagon, 2004–2010 F22: 2 Series coupe, from 2013
E63: 6 Series, 2004–2010 (second generation) F23: 2 Seriex convertible, from 2014
E64: 6 Series convertible, 2004–2010 F25: X3, 2011–2017 (second generation)
E65: 7 Series SWB, 2001–2007 (fourth Generation) F26: X4 SAV, 2014–2018
E66: 7 Series LWB, 2001–2007 F30: 3 Series, 2012–2018 (sixth generation)
E67: 7 Series protection, 2001–2007 F31: 3 Series wagon, 2012–2018
E68: Hydrogen 7, 2005–2007 F32: 4 Series coupe, 2013–2020
E70: X5, from 2007 (second generation) F33: 4 Series convertible, 2013–2020
E71: X6,  2009–2013 F34: 3 Series Gran Turismo (GT), 2013–2019
E72: X6 Hybrid, 2009–2010 F36: 4 Series Gran Coupé, 2014–2020
E81: 1 Series three-door, 2007–2011 F39: X2, from 2018
E82: 1 Series coupe, 2007–2013 F44: Gran Coupé, from 2020
E83: X3, 2004–2009 F48: X1 SAV, from 2016
BMW Chassis Codes BMW i
F80: M3, 2014–2018 i01: i3 plug-in electric, hybrid, 2014
F82: M4 coupe, 2014–2020 i12: i8 plug-in hybrid electric, 2014–2018
F83: M4 convertible, 2015–2020 i20: iX, from 2021
F85: X5 M, 2014–2019
F86: X6 M, 2014–2019 Mini
F87: M2 coupe, from 2016 R50: Cooper Hatchback, 2002–2006
F90: M5, from 2018 R52: Cooper, Cooper S, Convertible, 2005–2008
F91: M8 convertible, from 2020 R53: Cooper Hatchback, Cooper S, 2002–2006
F92: M8 coupe, from 2020 R55 Clubman, 2008–2015
F95: X5 M, from 2020 R56: Cooper, Cooper S, 2007–2013
F96: X6 M, from 2020 R57 Convertible, 2009–2015
F97: X3 M, from 2020 R58 Coupe, 2012–2015
F98: X4 M, from 2020 R59 Roadster, 2012–2015
G01: X3, from 2018 R60 Countryman, 2011–2016
G05: X5, from 2019 R61 Paceman, 2013–2016
G06: X6, from 2020 F54 Clubman, from 2016
G07: X7 from 2019 F55 Hardtop 4-door, from 2014
G11: 7 Series SWB, from 2016 F56 Hardtop 2-door, from 2014
G12: 7 Series LWB, from 2016 F57 Convertible, from 2016
G14: 8 Series convertible, from 2018 F60 Countryman, from 2017
G15: 8 Series coupe, from 2018
G16: 8 Series Gran Coupé, from 2019
G20: 3 Series, from 2018 (seventh generation)
G21: 3 Series Sport Wagon, from 2019
G22: 4 Series coupe, from 2021 (second generation)
G23: 4 Series convertible, 2021 (second generation)
G24: i4 (electric)
G26: 4 Series Gran Coupé, from 2021 (second generation)
G29: Z4, from 2020
G30: 5 Series, from 2018
G42: 2 Series coupe, from 2022
G43: 2 Series convertible, from 2022
G80: M3, from 2021
G82: M4, from 2021
G83: M4 convertible, from 2022
G87: M2, from 2022

[Photo courtesy BMW AG.]

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