Understanding BMW Chassis Codes and Their History

For car enthusiasts, upgrading the performance of their car is one of the most exciting things to do. However, if you are a newbie and still in the process of knowing your BMW car at a deeper level, then you will certainly want to learn what BMW chassis codes mean. Today, to help you out, we will discuss BMW chassis codes in detail.

What do BMW Chassis Codes mean?

Also known as BMW manufacturer code and BMW model code, BMW chassis code can give you a lot of information about your particular BMW car. It is particularly important to know about the BMW chassis code when you are looking for specific replacement parts or BMW chassis performance parts because they are manufactured for a specific chassis or body type.

There are few years that might cross over each other when it comes to model launches. For instance, in 1999, there were E36 3 Series and E46 3 Series on the market at the same time. Thus, distinguishing models through the years can sometimes be confusing. Hence, knowing the particular chassis code is critical when buying, for example, BMW F Chassis performance parts.

In the past, BMW chassis codes always started with an “E” which stands for Entwicklung, a German word that translates to development in English. At that time, they were also called BMW E codes. However, by the late 2000s, BMW moved from E codes to codes that start with “F”, and now they have moved to “G”. It helps save time when you get more information with a short chassis code.

If you don’t know the chassis code of your BMW car, you can easily determine it with the last seven digits of the VIN - Vehicle Identification Number. This number will give you the basic information including chassis code, engine, production date, and production code.

The E-code system that you hear today started during the mid-1960s when the brand developed the E3 “New Six” sedans. The number advanced with each new model project. Interestingly, not every E-chassis is a production car. Even concept vehicles can receive an E code. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s when BMW started using a different chassis code for different body styles. Thus, now, Coupe, Sedan, Cabrio, and Wagon, all have different chassis codes even when they share most of the engine, driveline, brakes, and suspension.

Another interesting thing to note is that, even during the short span of ten years, there were just as many F chassis models as BMW had E codes in the previous 40 years.

Besides, don’t ever get confused between BMW CLAR chassis and BMW chassis code. Both are different. CLAR stands for Cluster Architecture, which is a modular engineering platform with parts and components that can spread over various models and be divided further into classes such as UKL and GKL.