BMW New Class

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BMW New Class
BMW 2002 Touring
AssemblyMunich, Germany
SuccessorBMW 3-Series (Sedan)
BMW 5-Series (Sedan)
ClassCompact executive car
LayoutFR layout
ManualsService Manual

The BMW New Class (German: Neue Klasse) was a line of compact sedans produced by the German automaker BMW and launched with the 1962 1500. The four-cylinder BMW M10 engine used in these cars grew over the years from 1.5 to 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 L with the names changing to reflect this.

The New Class models featured a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and front disc brakes. This was the model that took BMW to a new level. Herbert Quandt gave BMW the finance to continue production of the 700 Series, precursor to the Neue Klasse.

The sedan models (with numbers ending in "0") were replaced by the larger BMW 5 Series in 1972. The '02 series is not part of the New Class. The upscale 2000C and 2000CS coupes were replaced by the six-cylinder BMW E9 coupes, introduced in 1969 with the 2800CS.

Although they shared mechanicals such as engines, gearboxes, and differentials, the four-door New Class models shared little else in terms of parts and design with the two-door models.

1500 (4 doors)

BMW 1500
Body style(s)4-door sedan
Engine(s)1.5L I4

Introduced in September 1961 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the 1500 was produced from 1962 through 1966. In 1963, the nearly bankrupt BMW was able to pay its first dividend in 20 years due to increased sales thanks to the popularity of the 1500. It was replaced in 1964 by the 1600, but it was still made available in markets where higher capacity engines meant increased taxation. It was able to achieve 80 hp (59 kW). The 1961 1500 was the first car to feature the Hofmeister kink in the C-pillar.

1800 (4 door)

BMW 1800
BMW 1800
Body style(s)4-door sedan
Engine(s)1.8L I4

The 1800 was the second member of the New Class family, introduced in 1963 with a 90 hp (66 kW) 1.8 L engine. An 1800TI ('touring international') model featured components developed for the 1800 by the tuning company Alpina. The upgrades included dual Solex PHH side-draft carburetors and higher-compression pistons for 110 hp (81 kW). A racing 1800TI/SA was introduced in 1964 with dual Weber DCOE-45 carburetors (along with various engine modifications) with 130 hp (96 kW). 200 examples of the TI/SA were built.

An automatic transmission option was introduced in 1966 and in 1967 the 1800 was generally updated along with the 2000. The updates included interior changes (a modernized dashboard design and simpler door panels) as well as styling changes to the front grilles.

1600 (4 door)

BMW 1600
Body style(s)4-door sedan
Engine(s)1.6L I4

The 1600, introduced in 1964, used the pistons from the 1800 to enlarge the 1500s engine to 1.6 L (1573 cc) and 85 hp (63 kW). It replaced that smaller model in 1964 and was produced through 1968.

1600 (2 door)

BMW 1600 Sedan
BMW 1602—1.6 form of '02 series
Body style(s)2-door Sedan
Engine(s)1.6L I4

The 1600-2 or 1602 appeared in 1966 and was sold through 1975,except for some of them built in Portugal from 1968 until 1975 that were still being sold until 1978. Power output was up to 96 hp (71 kW) gross with 91 ft·lbf (123 N·m) of torque. Road & Track was impressed by the 1968 1602 sedan, calling it "a great automobile at the price", which was $2676.

The '02 series came into being at the prompting of US importer Max Hoffman, who convinced BMW that if they made a more attractive 2-door version of the 1500, it would sell much better than that decidedly Teutonic sedan had thus far. BMW agreed and turned to Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti for the redo. Michelotti had already designed such notable cars as the Triumph Spitfire and TR4 models (when Michelotti did not have time to perform the restyling for the very succesfful Triumph TR6, Triumph turned to Karmann who rapidly produced the TR6 design, borrowing heavily from Michelotti's lateral TR4 lines for the more masculine TR6). The '02 series bears little in common with the 1500 sedan save its mechanical running gear. Because the '02 series sold so well, it is often credited with 'saving' BMW, for while the 1500 sedan was a very good car, it was never a large-volume seller. The '02 series, many claim, began the 'sports sedan' movement worldwide[who?].

A limited-production cabriolet was produced by Baur from 1967 through 1971, and a 2-door sedan version, the 1600ti, featured the dual Solex PHH side-draft carburetors (as found on the 1800TI) and 105 hp (77 kW) for 1967 and 1968. A hatchback 1600 Touring model was produced in 1971 and 1972.


The 2000C/CS on the assembly line (1968)
BMW 2000C/CS
BMW 2000 CS
Body style(s)2-door coupe
Engine(s)2.0L I4

Featuring a modern coupe body by Karmann and a luxurious interior, the 100 hp (74 kW) single-carburetor 2000C and 120 hp (88 kW) dual-carburetor 2000CS were sold from 1965 through 1969. 'C' versions were available with a manual gearbox or an automatic while 'CS' versions were only available with a manual gearbox. The coupe's styling was very controversial due to the design of its front grilles and headlights. The front of the coupe was completely changed in 1969 with the introduction of the 2800CS by modeling it after the 2500 and 2800 sedans.

2000 (4 door)

BMW 2000
BMW 2000
Body style(s)4-door sedan
Engine(s)2.0L I4

The "regular" 100 hp (74 kW) 2000 sedan appeared a year after the 2000C. It was sold from 1966 through 1972. Intended as an upscale version of the 1800, the 2000 featured distinct wide taillights, more extrior trim, and unique rectangular headlights. The American market 2000 sedans could not have the rectangular headlights due to government regulations. A different grille with four individual round headlights, similar to the design that BMW later used in the 2500 sedan, was offered in the US.

A 2000TI model, similar to the 1800TI, was built with twin Solex side-draft carburetors with 120 hp (88 kW). However, the 2000TI retained the '1800' taillights and headlights. A more luxurious 2000tilux featured the sporty TI engine, a wood dashboard, and optional leather seats. In a 1967 test, Road & Track felt that the 2000 sedan was "the best performing 2-liter sedan in today's market and the best handling and best riding as well." The 'tilux produced 135 hp (99 kW) and 123 ft·lbf (167 N·m) gross.

Finally, the 2000tii ('touring international, injected') was BMW's first fuel-injected model, featuring a higher-compression 2.0L engine and Kugelfischer brand mechanical fuel injection that later found its way into the 2002 Turbo and other models. 1,922 2000tii cars were built of this final New Class sedan model.

2002 (2 door)

BMW 2002
BMW 2002 sedan (North America)
Body style(s)2-door sedan
3-door liftback
Engine(s)2.0L I4

The 2002 is one of BMW's most famous automobile models. A two-door sedan based on the four-door 1600, it cemented the company's reputation for compact sporting sedans. The 2002 was the forerunner of the BMW 3 Series and an inspiration for the new 1 Series Coupe. It was produced from 1968 to 1976.

A three-door model, the 2002 Touring, was also available. The Touring was not a full station wagon, and may resemble a modern hatchback. BMW would not offer a Touring model again until the late 1980s, with the 3 Series.

The 1500 had already begun BMW's reputation for sports sedans, but the 2002 may be considered its ultimate incarnation. With its 1990 cc engine, it produced 120 bhp (88 kW) in the 2002ti, and 130 bhp (96 kW) in the high-performance 2002tii. The 2002tii had a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph).

The 2002 Turbo (production 1,672) was launched at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was the company's first turbocharged production car. Power was raised to 170 hp (125 kW) at 5,800 rpm, with 240 Nm (177 ft·lbf) of torque. Unlike Saab and Porsche, companies which also made some of the first turbocharged production cars around this time, BMW has made little use of turbocharging in its gasoline engines since - with the exception of the M102 engine installed in the '79-'86 BMW 745i. This trend has broken in 2006 with the introduction of the award-winning BMW N54 twin turbo engine in the 335i. Notably, BMW also introduced a twin turbo diesel engine in 2005 initially for the e60 5 Series, named 535d, it was also made available later in the e90 3 Series range. Both petrol and diesel units have won awards and received high approval from critics.

A cabriolet version was produced in small numbers. These were produced by Baur of Germany, which to this day as IVM Automotive, continues to convert BMWs.

1502 and 1802

An economy model of the 2002, the 1502 had a low compression 1.6 L engine.  It was sold only in Europe from 1975 through 1977. The 1802, a 2002 with a 1.8 L motor as used in the 1800 sedan, was also available.

Production figures

Production Figures
BMW 1500
1800 TI/SA
2000 C/CS
02 series
2002 turbo
Baur Cabriolet
23.554 9.728 146.960 200 143.464 11.720 861.940 1.670 4.210

(Source: Werner Oswald, Deutsche Autos 1945-1991, vol. 4. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2001. ISBN 3-613-02131-5, p. 171/195)


  • James T Crow, ed. (1968). "Two BMWs". Road & Track Road Test Annual: 31–35. 

External links