The BMW 1500 marked a turning point in BMW’s model range, heralding the advent of a new range of sporting and compact touring cars. Announced in 1961, the 1500 was the first of the New Class generation. The 1500 was the first modern BMW with a four-cylinder engine. The responsive, overhead-camshaft 4-cylinder engine had a displacement of 1499 cc and produced 80 bhp at 5700 rpm. Weighing only 1060 kg, the 1500’s top speed was 148 km/h. The 1500 also featured front disc brakes and 4-wheel independent suspension. The BMW 1500 was only available as a four-door sedan.
Car magazines and the public were enthusiastic in their praise for the modern engineering in the 1500. BMW manufacturing plants couldn’t keep up with the demand. The 1500 was a middle-class family sedan, but the German market demanded a car with higher performance. They did not have to wait long, for BMW’s engineers subjected the 1500 to further development, evolving into the classic BMW 2002.