When people think of European luxury cars, their minds often go to Italian or British car manufacturers – many people already know fun facts about Rolls-Royces or Ferraris due to their popularity. However, one European country seems to be blowing the competition when it comes to creating quality luxury cars: Germany. If you’ve never heard of interesting facts about German automobiles, you’re in for a treat. From BMW to Mercedes Benz, from Audi to Porsche, there are plenty of reliable and desirable cars with all sorts of interesting histories.
BMW created the first electric car
BMW created the first electric car in 1972. Although impractical and dependent on 12 batteries to travel only 19 miles, it marked an important moment in history: knowing that cars could drive without gasoline. These days we have cars that drivers can plug into the walls of their garages to charge. This would not have been possible without this very first electric model.
BMW used to produce aircraft engines
BMW was not initially in the car manufacturing business. He originally created high-altitude performance engines that were very fuel efficient for the time. This made BMWs particularly desirable during World Wars I and II, and the company continued to manufacture aero engines until 1945, when the Treaty of Versailles prohibited them from continuing. At that time, the company turned to other vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz was the first automaker to brake all four wheels
In 1924, Mercedes-Benz did something no other company had done before: it braked all four wheels of a vehicle in an effort to become the safest car on the road. The car is equipped with this braking technology through the invention of shock absorbers, which provide a smoother ride.
The Porsche 911 was almost called the 901
The Porsche 911 is perhaps the brand’s most iconic name. However, it almost wasn’t meant to be. Initially, the name was 901, but French automaker Peugeot claimed the name sounded too much like its own brand. Peugeot cars usually have the same name [number]-0-[number] scheme. Therefore, the 901 became the 911.
Audi was named by a child
Another of the most interesting facts about German automobiles is that the Audi brand was named by a child! Owner August Horch had difficulty finding a good name for his business, as he was not allowed to use his own name as a trade name. He discussed the suggestions with good friends Paul and Franz Fikentscher. Franz’s boy wanted to make a suggestion while playing within earshot of the conversation but was too shy to do so. Eventually he confided to his father that the name “Audi” – Latin for “hear” – was a good name because the name Horch also meant “hear” in German. It was a clever way for Horch to circumvent the ban on naming the vehicle after himself, while continuing to do so.