The world got its first look at BMW's 1500 in 1961 at the 40th Annual Frankfurt International Motor Show in Germany. This "Neue Klass" mid-sizer was the result of years of work on a new model designed to join in between the entry-level one and two cylinder cars and the more expensive six and eight cylinder ones. The 1500 came to be a stylish four door sedan with a 75-horsepower inline four engine that took its design styles from Italian saloons.
By 1963, BMW added two 1.8-liter models to the range after the wild success of the 1500. These were in the form of the 90-horsepower 1800 and the 110-hp 1800 ti. By 1965, in honor of the 100,000th "Neue Klasse", BMW introduced the 100-horsepower, 2.0-liter 2000 model. In all, between 1963 and 1972, over 350,000 "Neue Klasse" models ranging from the 1500 to the 2000 were built by the Bavarian automaker.