This year is a big one for the BMW 3 Series – not only does it see the introduction of the facelifted/LCI F30, but it also marks the 40th anniversary of the benchmark compact sports sedan. To mark the occasion, BMW UK has produced a brilliant commercial that sweeps through all six generations in just 60 seconds.

They’re all represented here, and in pristine condition – the original two-door-only E21, the ubiquitous E30, the larger, more refined E36 and E46, the more modern and efficient E90 and today’s F30 in LCI guise. Each car is displayed for a short period of time and disappears, never to be seen again, when the subsequent model swoops in; one can only imagine how difficult this spot must have been to choreograph and shoot.

Unveiled just last week, the LCI F30 gets a suite of minor aesthetic, tech and chassis changes that belie the real change underneath – a whole new range of powertrains, including the 3er‘s first three-cylinder engine in the 318i, a new range-topping 326 hp/450 Nm 340i and a 330e plug-in hybrid coming in 2016.

Us here at have passed through our fair share of 3 Series models over the years – Danny Tan has had a 1996 E36 328i Sedan, while Harve Singh once owned a 1983 E30 320i Coupe as well as a 2012 F30 320d Sedan. So, from fans, ex-owners and the rest of us here, happy 40th birthday, BMW 3 Series.

1975 E21 BMW 3 Series

1982 E30 BMW 3 Series

1990 E36 BMW 3 Series

1998 E46 BMW 3 Series

2005 E90 BMW 3 Series

2012 F30 BMW 3 Series