Saturday 6 August 2011
The BMW New Class (German: Neue Klasse) was a line of compact sedans and coupes produced by German automaker BMW starting with the 1962 1500 and continuing through the last 2002s in 1977.
Powered by BMW's celebrated four-cylinder M10 engine, the New Class models featured a fully independent suspension, MacPherson struts in front, and front disc brakes. Initially a family of four-door sedans and two-door coupes, the New Class line was broadened to two-door sports sedans with the addition of the 02 Series 1600 and 2002 in 1966.
Sharing little in common with the rest of the line beyond the power train, the sporty siblings caught auto enthusiasts' attention and established BMW as an international brand. Precursors to the famed BMW 3 Series, the two-doors' success cemented the firm's future as an upper tier performance car maker.
New Class four-doors with numbers ending in "0" were replaced by the larger BMW 5 Series in 1972. The upscale 2000C and 2000CS coupes were replaced by the six-cylinder BMW E9, introduced in 1969 with the 2800CS. The 1600 two-door was discontinued in 1975, the 2002 replaced by the 320i in 1975.
The 2002 is one of BMW's most famous automobile models. While the 1500 had begun BMW's reputation for sports sedans, the 2002 may be considered its ultimate incarnation.
A two liter version of the Michelotti-designed two-door 1600, it cemented the company's reputation for compact sporting sedans and served as both forerunner of the BMW 3 Series and inspiration for the new 1 Series Coupe. With its 1990 cc engine, it produced 108 bhp (81 kW; 109 PS) in the 2002ti, and 130 bhp (97 kW; 132 PS) in the high-performance 2002tii, offering a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). Although almost exactly the same in appearance the Tii had slightly larger wheels, larger front brakes, and a number of other mechanical modifications that made the car more fun and more desirable as a collector car. One result is that many of the highly desirable "tii"s appearing on eBay and sold throughout the country are fake; it is not uncommon to see tii engines installed in standard 2002s because there is a significant price difference between the two cars. The 2002 Turbo was launched at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW's first production turbo, it produced 170 hp (127 kW) at 5,800 rpm, with 240 N·m (180 lb·ft) of torque.
A three-door 2002, the Touring, was also available. The Touring was not a full station wagon, resembling a modern hatchback. BMW would not offer a Touring model again until the late 1980s, with the 3 Series. A cabriolet version was produced in small numbers by Baur of Germany, which to this day as IVM Automotive, continues to convert BMWs. This version was never sold in the United States although a number were brought in by diplomatic staff, and recently they can be imported so more have come over.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1990 cc
- horsepower: 109 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 190 km/h