BMW 1500 1600 1800 2000 New Class
|1962 to 1972|
Giovanni Michelotti, consultant
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Mid-size luxury car|
|Engine||BMW M10 OHC I4
1500: 1,499 cc
1800: 1,773 cc (1964–1968),
1,766 cc (1968–1971)
1600: 1573 cc
2000: 1,990 cc
5-speed manual on 1800 TI/SA
3-speed automatic optional on 1800/2000
|Wheelbase||2,550 mm (100 in)|
|Length||4,500 mm (180 in)|
|Width||1,650 mm (65 in)|
|Height||1,420 mm (56 in)|
Introduced in September 1961 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the BMW 1500 entered regular production in October 1962 and was manufactured until December 1964. The 1500s successor, the BMW 1600 with the same body but a larger engine, began production more than six months before the 1500 was discontinued.
The new four-cylinder engine, with its original oversquare cylinder dimensions of 82 mm (3.2 in) bore and 71 mm (2.8 in) stroke, was a modern design with scope for future enlargement and development. In its initial form, the engine produced 80 hp (60 kW).
Contemporary reports praised the all-round visibility and the commanding driving position while recording that it was necessary to lean forward a little to engage first and third gears due to the long travel distance of the gear lever. The large 40 cm tall luggage compartment was also commended.
The 1500 could accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in approximately 15 seconds. The performance was at the time considered lively in view of the engine size, and although the engine needed to be worked hard in order to achieve rapid progress, it ran smoothly and without gratuitous vibration even at speeds above 6,000 rpm.The firm suspension and correspondingly harsh ride surprised those conditioned by the BMW 501 to anticipate a more comfort-oriented compromise in the balance between handling and smoothness.
Notable problems that developed with the 1500 included separation of the semi-trailing arm mounts from the body, rear axle failure, and gearbox problems. These were resolved in later versions of the New Class sedan.
The 1500 was replaced in 1964 by the 1600, but it was still made available in markets where capacities greater than 1500 cc incurred higher tax rates.
Introduced in September 1963, the BMW 1800 was the second member of the New Class family. This model had an M10 engine with a 84 mm (3.3 in) bore and 80 mm (3.1 in) stroke, giving a displacement of 1,773 cc, a power output of 90 hp (67 kW) at 5,250 revolutions per minute, and a torque output of 96 lb·ft (130 N·m) at 3,000 revolutions per minute An 1800 TI (Turismo Internazionale) 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 (82 kW) at 5,800 revolutions per minute and 100 lb·ft (136 N·m) at 4,000 revolutions per minute.
A homologation special, the 1800 TI/SA, was introduced in 1964. The TI/SA's engine had dual Weber DCOE-45 carburettors and a 10.5:1 compression ratio, with 130 hp (97 kW) at 6,100 revolutions per minute and 106 lb·ft (144 N·m) at 5,250 revolutions per minute. The TI/SA also had a Getrag five-speed gearbox and thicker anti-roll bars and larger-diameter brake discs than the TI,. 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.
In 1968 the 1,773 cc engine used in the 1800 was replaced by an engine with the 89 mm (3.5 in) bore of the 2.0 L engine and the original 71 mm (2.8 in) stroke, yielding a displacement of 1,766 cc and a stroke/bore ratio of 0.798:1 instead of the previous 1800 engine's ratio of 0.952:1.
The 1600, introduced in 1964, used the 84 mm (3.3 in) bore of the 1800 with the 1500s 71 mm (2.8 in) stroke, resulting in a displacement of 1,573 cc, a power output of 83 hp (62 kW) at 5,500 revolutions per minute, and a torque output of 83 lb·ft (113 N·m) at 3,000 revolutions per minute. The 1600 replaced the 1500 in 1964 and was produced until early 1966.
Both versions of the two litre M10 engine introduced in 1965 in the 2000 C and 2000 CS became available in the New Class sedan in 1966. The base 2000 used the 100 hp (75 kW) engine from the 2000 C, while the 2000TI used the engine from the 2000 CS with twin Solex PHH side-draft carburetors and 120 hp (89 kW). Intended as an upscale version of the 1800, the 2000 featured distinct wide taillights, more exterior 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. The 2000TI retained the '1800' taillights and headlights A more luxurious 2000TI-lux (later "tilux") featured the sporty TI engine with a more high-grade interior and accessories, including 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."
In 1969, BMW introduced the 2000tii ('touring international, injected'), BMW's first fuel-injected model, featuring Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. The 2000tii produced 130 hp (97 kW) at 5,800 revolutions per minute and 131 lb·ft (178 N·m) at 4,500 revolutions per minute. 1,952 2000tii cars were built of this final New Class sedan model.
1969 BMW 2000tii Touring rear view, wide tail lights.