In 1961, BMW is showing the 1500 to the general public in its home country of Germany. At the IAA in Frankfurt, those interested see the first post-war middle class from the Bavarian manufacturer. It is the prelude to the continuation of the successful road that BMW had embarked on with the 700 from 1959. The BMW Neue Class is born. It will be the definitive breakthrough of BMW.
The 1500 is the first variant of the BMW Neue Klasse. In 1962 BMW starts selling the car, which is essential to be able to maintain the chosen path energetically. The new mid-sized car is fitted with the first version of the M10 block designed by Alexander von Falkenhausen: a 1499 cc engine with an output of 80 HP, an overhead camshaft and an aluminum head. The very first versions also have the windshield wipers in a reverse position. Ironically, the 1500 designed by BMW and refined by Michelotti does not meet the quality standard that BMW always used despite post-war problems. Problems arise with the towing arms. The application is also not at the desired level. The 1500 was actually developed in too short a time. A much improved 1600 (1573 cc) sees the light of day in 1964 and replaces the 1500, after which it remained in the price lists for more than two years.
1800. The longest running version
A variant of this is the 1800, which already expanded the program in 1963. The 1800 will be the longest running variant of the BMW Neue Klasse. The 1972 will remain in the delivery program until the production end of this generation of BMWs, which will be succeeded by the 5-Series in 1800. In the basic version, the 1779 cc engine with a power of 90 HP and one Solex downdraft carburetor is mounted. The 1800 series will soon be supplemented with a TI version, which puts 110 HP to the crankshaft and is fitted with two double Solex carburetors.
Homologation model: the 1800 TI / SA
The TI/SA homologation model follows on the basis of the TI. Here too the 1779 cc is the basic power source, but due to the application of two double Weber carburettors, larger valves and a modified camshaft, this variant is good for 130 hp. A five-speed gearbox is coupled to the modified engine. The 1800 TI/SA is only built 200 times and sold only to professional drivers. The suspension is different in composition, the braking system is larger in size. From 1966, the basic model within the 1800 series has the empire alone again. In 1968 he received the modified power source based on the new top model that entered the program two years earlier.
1966: intake in the two-liter class
In 1966 the 2000 the BMW Neue Klasse strengthens the ranks. It uses the four-cylinder in-line engine from the 2000 CS (also known as the BMW Neue Class coupé) with an overhead camshaft. It is distinguished, among other things, by a different front with rectangular headlights. Rectangular light units also adorn the rear. The cylinder capacity grows to 1995 cc (100 HP, a carburetor) and is an excellent basis for developing more variants.
Arrival of TI and Tii
In 1966 the stronger TI (with 120 HP and 2 double flat flow carburettors) sees the light of day. The TI gets the 1800 coat. A variant of the TI is the TILUX, a luxury version with a high-quality finish of the interior. The highlight of the 2000 series, however, will be the Tii, with Kugelfischer fuel injection and 130 HP. The faster 2000 variants are characterized by the fact that they deliver their maximum torque within higher rev ranges. The same goes for the peppery 1800 versions.
Many variants, same principles
It is striking that BMW uses the same principles for all BMW Neue Class versions. The wheels are suspended independently. At the front this is done by the Mac Pherson principle, at the rear the wheels form a whole with pulling wishbones. The engines have the same composition, with four in-line cylinders, an overhead camshaft and an aluminum head forming the basis. The entire concept – except for the 1500 series, the build quality of which is experienced as excellent – will last more than ten years. It definitely puts BMW on the map as a manufacturer of sporty and luxury cars. It is built 324.000 times as a sedan.
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