The company is now known as BMW or Bayerische Motoren Werke. Aircraft engine manufacturer Rapp Motorenwerke became Bayerische Motorenwerke in 1916.

The BMW logo still used today was created in 1917, albeit with various minor styling changes.

The initial products were exhibited in 1922 in Munich plant.

Their first successful motorcycle after the failed Helios and Flink, was the "R32" in 1923, though production originally began in 1921

BMW became an automobile manufacturer in 1929 when it purchased Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, which, at the time, built Austin Sevens under license under the Dixi marque.

BMW's first dealership in Canada, located in Ottawa, was opened in 1969.

The slogan ’The Ultimate Driving Machine’ was first used in North America in 1974.

In 1975, sculptor Alexander Calder was commissioned to paint the BMW 3.0 CSL racing car driven by Hervé Poulain at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which became the first in the series of BMW Art Cars. Since Calder's work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol.

In 1986, BMW established a head office in Canada.

Since 1999, BMW has been named the world's most sustainable automotive company every year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

In 2001, the BMW Group committed itself to the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact and the Cleaner Production Declaration. It was also the first company in the automotive industry to appoint an environmental officer, in 1973.

Bavarian Auto Group became the importer of the BMW and Mini brands in 2003.

The first BMW production facility in China was opened in 2004, as a result of a joint venture between BMW and Brilliance Auto.

In 2004, BMW introduced the new K1200S Sports Bike which marked a departure for BMW. It had an engine producing 167 hp (125 kW), derived from the company's work with the Williams F1 team, and is lighter than previous K models. Innovations include electronically adjustable front and rear suspension, and a Hossack-type front fork that BMW calls Duolever.

Since 2005, the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X1 and X3 models sold in Egypt are assembled from complete knock-down components at the BMW plant in 6th of October City.

BMW India was established in 2006 as a sales subsidiary with a head office located in Gurugram.

In 2010, this long-lived campaign was mostly supplanted by a campaign intended to make the brand more approachable and to better appeal to women, ’Joy’.

In 2012, BMW began sponsoring Independent Collectors production of the BMW Art Guide, which is the first global guide to private and publicly accessible collections of contemporary art worldwide.

By 2012 BMW had returned to ’The Ultimate Driving Machine’.

In 2012, the BMW-owned subsidiary Alphabet began a corporate car-sharing service in Europe called AlphaCity.

BMW Group, on 31 January 2013, announced that Pierer Industrie AG has bought Husqvarna for an undisclosed amount, which will not be revealed by either party in the future. The company is headed by Stephan Pierer (CEO of KTM). Pierer Industrie AG is 51% owner of KTM and 100% owner of Husqvarna.

Between January and November 2014, BMW sold 415,200 vehicles in China, through a network of over 440 BMW stores and 100 Mini stores.

In July 2014, BMW announced it was establishing a plant in Mexico, in the city and state of San Luis Potosi involving an investment of $1 billion. The plant will employ 1,500 people, and produce 150,000 cars annually.

On 9 October 2014, BMW's new complete knock-down (CKD) assembly plant in Araquari, assembled its first car— an F30 3 Series.

The ReachNow car-sharing service was launched in Seattle in April 2016.

In November 2016, BMW recalled 136,000 2007–2012 model year U.S. cars for fuel pump wiring problems possibly resulting in fuel leak and engine stalling or restarting issues.

In 2018, BMW recalled 106,000 diesel vehicles in South Korea with a defective exhaust gas recirculation module, which caused 39 engine fires. The recall was then expanded to 324,000 more cars in Europe.

On 31 July 2018, BMW announced to build 1 billion euro car factory in Hungary. The plant, to be built near Debrecen, will have a production capacity of 150,000 cars a year.

In September 2018, BMW unveiled a new self-driving motorcycle with BMW Motorrad with a goal of using the technology to help improve road safety.