When it comes to style and luxury, nothing tops a BMW, and the people of Hollywood know that. Not only have countless celebrities owned a BMW throughout history, but they’ve also been featured in tens of thousands of movies (yes, that’s correct). A lot of the time, a BMW might not even be driven by a main character, but you will see one.
But what about the ones that have been featured front and center on the big screen? Throughout cinematic history, there have been some all-time great characters driving all-time great BMWs. Let’s take a look at the five best movie BMWs and how they made their way to the set. Spoiler alert, there’s a certain British spy that appears more than once.
2000 BMW Z8 (The World is Not Enough)
Modeled off of the BMW 507 from the late 1950s, the 2000 BMW Z8 was finally released in 1999 after being developed for several years. To showcase the new model, it was used by James Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) in “The World is Not Enough”. During the time Bond is in Azerbaijan, the Z8 is front and center and people were instantly enthralled with the new look. Many instantly called it not only the best Bond car but the best BMW that they’d ever seen.
It was quite the exit for BMW as they signed a three-film deal with the Bond franchise, with this one being the finale. The same type of vehicle was also driven in the film “The Tuxedo” starring Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt. The exact model, though (the 2000), sold 317 units in the United States.
1991 BMW E34 5-Series (Ronin)
Robert De Niro has had a lot of classic films, but 1998’s “Ronin” isn’t one that’s talked about all that much. Those that have seen the movie, though, know that it has one of the best car chase scenes and it involves a BMW. More specifically, it involves the 5-Series, and the 1991 model version of it despite the film being released several years later.
The 5-Series was in production from 1987 until 1996, meaning that it had already stopped by the time that “Ronin” came out. The 1991 version didn’t make too many changes from the prior year’s model, but did retouch the interior and changed the steering columns and wheels.
1996 BMW Z3 (Goldeneye)
The second entry onto the list for the James Bond series was the first BMW to be driven by the spy on the big screen. The sporty Z3 began development in 1991 and was the first to be manufactured entirely outside of Germany. This red beauty didn’t get a lot of screentime in the 1995 film “Goldeneye”, sadly. Bond is only seen driving his Z3 for a couple of minutes before ditching the ride for a plane.
While the version that shot missiles and had parachute breaks in the film didn’t hit the streets, there was a James Bond Edition of the 1996 Z3. It sold for $35,000 in the United States and ended up selling out all 100 of its units and had small reminders of 007 all throughout the vehicle including floor mats.
1995 BMW 735i (The Transporter)
BMW was already well-known as a luxury brand, but it really reached a new status of “cool” when it became synonymous with action films like “The Transporter”. The Jason Statham character Frank Martin got involved in a lot of high-speed chases during the series, and his first car was the 1995 BMW 735i.
Painted in all black, the 735i was sleek. It also featured a 3.0 L M60 V8 engine with 215 horsepower. After showing what it could do on the big screen, every youngster wanted this cool car.
1998 BMW 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies)
The list started with James Bond, so it may as well round out the list and conclude the BMW trilogy of the James Bond films. The 1998 version of the 750iL was featured in the middle film of the three, “Tomorrow Never Dies”. The 7-series had already been introduced in the late 1970s, with the 750iL making it into production from 1993 to 2001.
The Bond version featured rockets and tear gas emitters, which would have been cool for the common person, but not street-legal. Instead, the standard person did receive an upgraded version from the previous year that was a total facelift, including a new, more powerful engine.