Thursday 26 March 2014
The BMW New Class (German: Neue Klasse) was a line of compact sedans and coupes produced by German automaker BMW between 1962 and 1977. The New Class was the product that ensured BMW's solvency after the company's financial crises of the 1950s and established the identity of BMW automobiles as sports sedans. The term "New Class" referred to the 1.5–2–liter class of automobiles from which BMW had been absent since World War II.
The New Class began in 1962 with the 1500, a new automobile with a new engine. The 1500, and all subsequent New Class cars, had a unit body, fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and semi-trailing arms at the rear, front disc brakes, and a front-mounted four-cylinder M10 engine.
Initially a series of four-door sedans, the New Class line was broadened to include the 2000C and 2000CS two-door coupes at the high end in 1965 and the 1600-2 two-door economy sedan at the low end in 1966. The 1600-2, later renamed the 1602, was itself expanded into the 02 Series 1600 and 2002. Using the engine and suspension of the original four-door design in a smaller and lighter two-door unit body, the 02 series, especially the 2002, caught auto enthusiasts' attention and established BMW as an international brand.
Replacement of the New Class line of cars began with the upscale 2000C and 2000CS coupes, which were replaced by the six-cylinder BMW E9 starting with the 2800CS in 1969. The New Class four-door sedans were replaced by the larger BMW 5 Series in 1972. The 02 Series was replaced by the BMW 3 Series in 1975, except for the economy 1502 model which continued until 1977.
The 1600-2, as the first "02 Series" BMW was designated, was an entry-level BMW, and was smaller, less expensive, and less well-appointed than the four-door sedan on which it was based. The 1600-2 (the "-2" meaning "2-door") made its debut at the Geneva auto show in March 1966 and was sold through 1975, with the designation being simplified to "1602" in 1971. Power output of the M10 was up to 85 hp (63 kW) at 5,700 revolutions per minute with 96 lb·ft (130 N·m) of torque at 3,500 revolutions per minute. Within two years Road & Track was sufficiently impressed by the $2676 (US) 1968 1600 to call it "a great automobile for the price".
A high performance version, the 1600 TI, was introduced in September 1967. With a compression ratio of 9.5:1 and the dual Solex PHH side-draft carburetor system from the 1800 TI, the 1600 TI produced 105 hp (78 kW) at 6,000 revolutions per minute. The 1600 TI was not sold in the United States, as it did not meet their emission standards.
Also introduced in September 1967 was a limited-production cabriolet, which would be produced by Baur from 1967 through 1971. A hatchback 1600 Touring model was introduced in 1971 but was discontinued in 1972.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1573 cc
- horsepower: 85 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 160 km/h