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BMW’s E, F & G Model Codenames Explained

August 7, 2017

BMW HQ Munich
BMW’s Munich Headquarters | Where all the models are dreamed up

If you own a BMW or are interested in purchasing one, you must have seen the ‘E’ or ‘F’ codes mentioned after the model name, for example: BMW 3-series (E46), BMW 5-series (E60), BMW 3-series (F30) and so on…

If you consider yourself a true BMW fan, well then you probably know what this means already… However, to shed some light on BMW’s sometimes obscure ‘E’, ‘F’ and recently added ‘G’ model codenames, we thought we’d explore this in a little more detail for those that don’t know.

All those ‘E’, ‘F’ and ‘G’ codenames are used to identify certain BMW models. This model naming convention started in the late 1960’s with the ‘E’ standing for the German word ‘Entwicklung’ that means ‘Development’.

BMW HQ Munich
BMW Logos | Evolution

Since the late 1960’s, each BMW model in development has carried an ‘E’ project number. The ‘E’ numbers were the factory code numbers given to new cars in the process of development prior to being officially approved and given the green light for production.  When the ‘E’ numbers reached the point of going into triple digits over time, the Germans decided to jump to the next alpha-numeric to keep things simple. ‘F’ numbers took over from ‘E’ in 2008 whereas ‘G’ numbers have taken over from ‘F’ when it reached triple digits in 2016.

Use our handy reference guide on BMW codenames below in case you need to sort your E46’s from your F30’s etc:

BMW ‘E’ CODENAMES (1968 – 2007)

Only the most common BMW models in South Africa of the last 25 years listed below:

E36 BMW 3-Series & Compact 3rd Generation 1992-2000
E37 BMW Z3 Roadster 1st Generation 1995-2002
E38 BMW 7-Series & LWB 3rd Generation 1994-2001
E39 BMW 5-Series 4th Generation 1996-2004
E46 BMW 3-Series & Compact 4th Generation 1999-2005
E53 BMW X5 1st Generation 2000-2006
E60 / E61 BMW 5-Series / Touring 5th Generation 2004-2010
E65 / E66 BMW 7-Series & LWB 4th Generation 2001-2008
E70 BMW X5 2nd Generation 2007-2013
E82 BMW 1-Series 1st Generation 2004-2010
E83 BMW X3 1st Generation 2003-2010
E85 BMW Z4 1st Generation 2003-2009
E90 / E92 BMW 3-Series / Coupe 5th Generation 2005-2010

BMW Kidneys
BMW ‘Kidney’ Grills | Evolution

BMW ‘F’ CODENAMES (2008 – 2015)

F01 / F02 BMW 7-Series / LWB 5th Generation 2008-2015
F10 / F11 BMW 5-Series / Touring 6th Generation 2010-2015
F12 / F13 BMW 6-series Convert. / Coupe 3rd Generation 2011-
F15 BMW X5 3rd Generation 2014-
F16 BMW X6 2nd Generation 2014-
F20 / F21 BMW 1-Series (3dr / 5dr) 2nd Generation 2011-
F25 BMW X3 2nd Generation 2011-2017
F30 / F31 BMW 3-Series / Touring 6th Generation 2011-2017
F35 BMW 4-Series Coupe (4dr) 1st Generation 2015-
F45 / F46 BMW 1-Series (Touring / City) 2015-
F47 BMW X2 (In development) 2017-
F48 BMW X1 2015-
F52 BMW 1-Series 2017-
F80 BMW M3 Sedan 2014-
F85 / F86 BMW X5 / X6 (M variants) 2015-
F87 BMW M2 Coupe 2015-

BMW ‘G’ CODENAMES (2016 to Date)

G01 BMW X3 3rd Generation 2018-
G11 BMW 7-Series SWB 6th Generation 2016-
G12 BMW 7-Series LWB 6th Generation 2016-
G20 BMW 3-Series 7th Generation 2018-
G30 BMW 5-Series 7th Generation 2016-


BMW E90 vs F30 comparison
BMW 3-Series | E90 vs F30 side-by-side comparison

The BMW 3-series are currently BMW’s top seller in South Africa. Here is a list of the 3-series with model code names sorted by generation:


E21 BMW 3-Series 1st Generation 1975–1981
E30 BMW 3-Series 2nd Generation 1982–1991
E36 BMW 3-Series 3rd Generation 1992-2000
E46 BMW 3-Series 4th Generation 1999-2005
E90 BMW 3-Series 5th Generation 2005-2010
F30 BMW 3-Series 6th Generation 2011-2017
G20 BMW 3-Series 7th Generation 2018-

In the market for a BMW? Check out our database of popular used BMW vehicles for sale:

Used BMW 1-Series for Sale
Used BMW 3-Series for Sale
Used BMW 5-Series for Sale
Used BMW X5 for Sale

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