In Reply to: Re: "E" is for "Entwicklung", German for "developm posted by What about 46? on October 24, 1999 at 09:53:41:
Looking at the BMW digest FAQ, it looks like BMW started using the "E" codes in the 1960's. Since then, they've just bumped the number up by 1 for every new project... So if you look at the FAQ, you'll see that the 3 series before the E46 was the E36, the one before that was the E30, and the one before that (the first 3 series) was the E21...
In other words, every time BMW starts a new project, they call it Exx, where xx is just a running count.
I don't think the FAQ is quite up to date there -- the X5 is the E53 (they call it "sport utility??" in the FAQ), and the Z8 is the E56.
I believe that the next 5-series is the E63, the 6-series based on that platform the E64, and the next 7 series is the E65...
Has anyone besides me ever wondered what those skipped E project numbers are? e.g. what was the E33, or the E35? I'd imagine those are projects that were cancelled, and if I had to speculate, I'd say that the E33 or the E35 were probably the coupe based on the E34 5-series that was rumored in the early and mid 90's...
What were the E37, E40, E41, E42, E43, E44, E45? What about the E-codes between E46 and E53?
I'm also pretty sure that every new variant of an E-code gets a "/variant-number" suffix.
So the Z3, which is based on the E36, is E36/7 -- it is the 7th variant of the E36 body style, after the sedan (E36), coupe/convertible(E36/2), 4-dr compact/'ti' (E36/3 -- never made, I think), 2-dr compact/'ti' (E36/5), and the touring/wagon (E36/6). The E36/8 is the Z3 coupe. I wonder what the E36/5 was...
So the E46 sedan is the E46, and the E46 coupe is the E46/2.
Note that the E-codes for the "E1/E2" listed in the FAQ are not E1 and E2. Those cars were concept cars that never made it into production, and the "E" there were actualy the "official" model numbers that BMW gave the cars at the car shows where they were first shown. In other words, the badges on the backs of the show cars actually read "E1" and "E2". In contrast, your E46 doesn't read "E46" on the back, it'll say "32xi".