BMW 700

From BMW press: Apart from its brand-new design, the BMW 700 offered another surprising highlight: it was the first BMW with a monocoque body. And the reason for introducing this new technology was clear: “They might believe initially that in this way we were giving up an old principle going back many years within the Company. But our calculators quickly showed us that a monocoque floorpan was able to save about 30 kg in weight, lower the entire car by 60–70 mm(2.4–2.8") and streamline the production process, with appropriate cost benefits.”

The minute Bönsch revealed the new Coupé, everybody started clapping. The journalists immediately admired the new model with its wheelbase of 2,120 mm (83.5"), front track of 1,270 mm (50.0") and rear track measuring 1,200 mm (47.2").

Boasting these dimensions, the BMW 700 had grown out of the small car class still prevailing in the market at the time and allowed a relatively high standard of freedom in providing extra space. The designers and engineers were particularly proud of the car’s consistent lightweight technology reducing dry weight to less than 600 kg or 1,323 lb despite the car’s overall length 3,540 mm or 139.4", thus providing the qualities required for good acceleration and hill-climbing performance.

Enjoying the seats, the driver and passengers in the BMW 700 benefited from an unusually good balance of useful interior space and exterior dimensions, the curved windows helping to keep the doors smooth and provide extra width inside the car.

Developing maximum output of 30 hp at 5,000 rpm, the two-cylinder power unit was able to accelerate the Coupé to a top speed of 125 km/h or 78 mph. Exactly what this meant in terms of performance became quite clear in a statement again made by Helmut Werner Bönsch, comparing the car’s performance with that of the legendary BMW 327 touring sports car: “The BMW 700 Coupé with its 700-cc 30-hp two-cylinder offers the same top speed, the same acceleration and the same safe average speed on the road as its legendary predecessor with its two-litre six-cylinder two-carburettor power unit. And it does so with the same space inside and with superior roadholding of an even higher standard.”

Journalists driving the BMW 700 Coupé were – rightly – thrilled from the start, waxing lyrical about the car’s design and its driving qualities: “Acceleration is certainly impressive for a car of this size, taking you from a standstill to 90 km/h in 20 and to 100 km/h in 30 seconds.”

Gallery: BMW 700