BMW: A Driving Obsession

About the Show

CNBC goes inside one of the most successfully managed brands and companies in the world — BMW. Its familiar blue and white logo stands as the symbol of prestigious, high-performance, luxury cars. A one-time aircraft engine manufacturer that eventually moved to motorcycles and offbeat sports sedans, BMW today commands brand recognition and respect that is the envy of the commercial world.

CNBC Correspondent Carl Quintanilla takes viewers inside BMW’s secretive Tech Center, where teams of engineers obsess over the technical and mechanical details that the company says justify its cars’ high prices. Acoustic specialists consider every sound in the car, from the exhaust note to the window motors; ergonomic engineers labor over the stunningly complex mechanical labyrinth that is a modern seat; and crash specialists deliberately wreck a parade of high-dollar vehicles to improve safety.

BMW is a company enjoying success, but also facing significant challenges. Growing environmental and political pressures are making it increasingly tough to market high-performance cars, but BMW is staking its future on its ability to build vehicles that are both sustainable and fun. BMW also faces daunting competition, not only from other German manufacturers like Audi, but also from carmakers in Japan, Korea — and soon, China.

BMW: A Driving Obsession is the fascinating story behind a once small, struggling company that transformed itself into a global luxury car powerhouse, and is now going flat out to maintain its edge.

Web Extras

  • When race car driver and auctioneer Herve Poulain asked his friend, artist Alexander Calder, to paint the BMW 3.0 CLS that he would race in the 1975 Le Mans endurance race, it was the beginning of a truly gorgeous concept: the BMW Art Car Collection. The German automaker responded quickly to the enormous public enthusiasm surrounding Calder’s art-on-wheels, deciding to establish the Art Car Collection. Since then, BMW has invited varying artists to contribute their considerable talents to the co

    BMW has invited varying artists to contribute their considerable talents to the BMW Art Car Collection over the years. Click to see the artists’ touches on 17 priceless BMWs.

  • Over the years, BMW has established a reputation as one of the most creative and prestigious car manufacturers in the industry, while also gaining a highly collectible brand along the way. Many of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” models have attained values seldom seen in the collectible auto world.Click ahead to see the most collectible BMWs of all time.

    Many of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” models have attained values seldom seen in the collectible auto world. See the most collectible BMWs of all time.

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  • Carl Quintanilla

    Carl Quintanilla is a principal anchor of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" and "Squawk Alley"