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Das Bimmer or Der Bimmer?

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For you language experts, which would be grammatically correct: Das Bimmer or Der Bimmer?

Maybe some of our faq friends from Germany will help...



(current: 1972 Malaga 2002, VIN 2584644, build date July 26, 1972)


Previous: 1973 Sahara 2002 #2585896 (RIP), 1969 1600, 1971 2002, 1964 Triumph Herald convertible, 1965 Triumph Herald convertible, 1961 Triumph TR3A, 1967 Triumph TR4A-irs, 1959 Austin Healey 100/6, and about 10 other cars (most of which were quite boring)...

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While "Auto" is neutral (das Auto), cars are usually referred to as masculine (der BMW).  Mine's feminine (Juanita) because Bill Ballon said she was a bitch!

John in VA

'74 tii "Juanita"  '85 535i "Goldie"  '86 535i "M-POSSTR"  

'03 530i "Titan"  '06 330ci "ZHPY"


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Maybe none of it?!? We don´t really use the phrase "bimmer" over here in Germany so there isn´t any official rule given, I´d think.


Other than that I´d agree on what Henning and John said: It´s "das Auto" but it is "der BMW", "der Mercedes", "der Porsche" and so on.


Best regards, Lars.

Ei guude wie? (Spoken as "I gooooda weee" and hessian idiom for "Hi, how are you?")


Já nevím, možná zítra.

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There is a long discussion in a german thread from bmw syndicate on the term... they agree that its a neuter, but that it comes from the US and generally not used...so gender is kind of irrelevent. They seemed to think its used it in conjunction with the old yuppy quotes on fetching the keys for the bimmer.... in that thread it was also referenced back to another source in the US that the term was coined in Massachusetts and why the ending should be pronounced bīm-ah. They obviously would not know what a good accent in Boston would sound like, but sounded plausible for them. I guess when I lived in the US, I had a bimmer, though she was always referred to as Heidi, never "the bimmer"...


1971 2002ti, 1985 E30 320i, 1960 Land Rover 109 Ser 2, 1963 Land Rover 88 Ser 2a, 1980 Land Rover Ser 3 Lightweight 

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I knew I'd crossed the nerd-line, when I learned the difference between Bimmer and Beemer.  

(thanks Marshal)

But I still don't understand why a bike would be a Beemer and a car a Bimmer.


The other day in a parking lot, a guy said "Not a lot of people even know what those old Beemers are!"

I thought, "even fewer know how to properly pronounce it." and gave him half a smile in return.



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4 hours ago, Simeon said:

In U.K. and Australia the pronunciation  'Beemer' was always preferred 


Never heard the term Bimmer until I came over to the US.


'74 '02 - Jade Touring (RHD)

'76 '02 - Delk's "Da Beater"

FAQ Member #17

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I get used to hearing both ways, but cringe when someone mispronounces Porsche.  Two syllables please.  It's not a porch. 


Or how about "HI  YOON DAY"

Jim Gerock


Riviera 69 2002 built 5/30/69 "Oscar"

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I believe the beemer / bimmer distinction only existed as a shibboleth in the States and Canada. South Africa and India went with beemer across the board and BSA bikes were certainly raced there. That said, I think the Internet forced the distinction amongst the entire English speaking world where previously it was localized to just one region.


German is mercurial with their gender choices but "der Beamer" is the only variant of bimmer/beamer/beemer to appear in the father tongue dictionaries prior to 2010. "Beh-Ehm-Veh" is so quick to say though that I think it's hard for Germans to come up with something shorter. I imagine to the guys in Munich hearing: "Bee-Em-Double-U" can be bit...throwing.


While they don't have much more to say on the bike/car distinction - the language has some affectionate names for the various models:



Gummikuh - BMW bikes from 1950 - 1990 - ride like "gummy cows" - cows legs lift from the rear - so did the early bikes.

Hängetittenguzzi - Derogatory for BMW - "It looks like a Moto Guzzi with droopy boobs" or a "Hangy-tits-guzzi"

Duttlbär - same kind of thing but more endearing - sort of like "Breasts on a Box" I guess? Also for the old boxer configuration bikes.



Beamer - specifically defined in Germany as "what Americans call BMW because it's faster in their language"

Baader Meinhof Wagen - slang bacronym for BMW after the terrorist cell.

Bayrischer Mist Wagen - Bavarian Manure Truck

+ a thousand more "BMW" acronyms...some clever...others...well...

Knutschkugel - "the ball" - nickname for the Isetta

Barockengel - baroque angel - classy name for the 501 - curves like an angel - the vintage Rolls Royce look.

Flüsternd Bombe - Whispering Bomb - AutoBild's nickname for the 2002 - cited in the famous 1968 Car and Driver Magzine review as "Flüstern Bombe" - literally "Whisper Bomb" - infinitive present vs present participle - but I can find no use of it German or in the archives. Even if the sourcing is a bit dodgy and miss-conjugated, I'll still take it and use it with joy.

Kriegsbemalung - or "War Paint" -  nickname for the 2002 Turbo livery - too aggressive for German highways - BMW had to tone it down a notch for release.


There are a lot of super racist German nicknames for the cars particularly the E46 3 series variants but at least one I know of for the old model 2000's with the slanty headlights preceding the 2002. Those are better left unsaid.


This German article specifically cites the bimmer/beemer turf war as American in origins. Interestingly that German website for bimmer.de is owned by an American company.



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