The original Neue Klasse was a huge deal right from the start, with people having to wait about 30 minutes on average to see the car at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show. It premiered as a 1500 model with a four-cylinder engine that made 75 horsepower in a car that weighed 950 kilograms (nearly 2,100 pounds) and was able to top out at 93 mph.
In a new video from BMW Group Classic, we’re taking a trip down memory lane by admiring a factory-fresh 1500 that rests deep down inside the building. It’s one of more than 700 vehicles carefully stored as these are regarded as being the company’s most valuable cars. We get to learn the Neue Klasse wasn’t initially supposed to have the iconic kidney grille. At the same time, this was one of the first BMWs to get the famed Hofmeister Kink, with the Neue Klasse having been designed by Wilhelm Hofmeister himself.
Later in the video, we get to see a different version, the significantly more potent 1800 TISA with a far more potent 130-horsepower engine. It got stiffer front springs lowering the car by six millimeters, along with a limited-slip differential, an electric fuel pump, and a massive 105-liter tank. It was sold with a choice between a four-speed gearbox with a sport ratio or a five-speed, plus four different final drive ratios to pick from.
On the luxury side, we also have the opportunity to check out the 2000 tilux, which was essentially a premium version of the 2000 TI. It was launched in July 1966 for 12,750 Deutsche Marks, commanding a premium of precisely 1,000 DM over the model upon which it was based. The 2000 tilux wasn’t the end of the line for the Neue Klasse as there were additional changes in 1969, culminating with the fuel-injected 2002 tii.
The Neue Klasse went on to become a roaring success for BMW as it was the driving force behind the brand’s ability to triple car sales throughout the 1960s. In 2025, NK will return as an all-new dedicated electric platform that will underpin at least six models by 2028. The first models will be a sedan and an SUV in the 3 Series segment, so think i3 and iX3. Earlier this year, BMW previewed these two cars with the Vision Neue Klasse concept and a camouflaged prototype, respectively.
Source: BMW Group Classic / YouTube