BMW 2000C and 2000CS

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BMW

BMW 2000C and 2000CS

1965 - 1969
Country:
Germany
Engine:
4 cyl.
Capacity:
1990 cc
Power:
113 bhp
Transmission:
4 spd. MT / 3 spd. AT
Top Speed:
160+ km/h
Number Built:
n/a
Collectability:
4 star
BMW 2000C and 2000CS
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4

Introduction



There has always been something special about the Teutonic approach to building a car. It seems the collective objective of all the German auto makers is to use a no-nonsense concept of design and the meticulous precision of assembly. Perhaps cars that originate from the fatherland are better due to national pride - a desire to demonstrate to the world that German technology and craftsmanship are equal to the best that other countries can produce.

Evidence of this approach is typified by the BMW plant in Munich, Western Germany - both then, and now. But we are not here to extol the virtues of a modern day BMW. Rather, to take a look at a car approaching its 50th birthday - the sensational BMW 2000. Going back even further along the time-line, BMW had been long renowned for their range of excellent motorcycles, and it was really only after the 2nd World War that they developed a reputation for manufacturing high quality passenger cars. If your interested, we suggest you read the BMW Heritage and History features on the Unique Cars and Parts site.

BMW re-established itself as a major motor vehicle producer since the announcement of the 1800 series in 1965. So enthusiastic was the acceptance of the new BMW series that in the early stages of its availability the great patriach of the German automobile industry - Mercedes Benz - suffered a noticeable drop in sales that was attributed directly to the efforts of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.

Obviously a car with the ability to shake the mighty Mercedes pedestal had to be good. The BMW 1800 was, and the 2000 was even better. Given how good these cars were, it was a pity that BMW were never able to achieve respectable sales figures in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Part of the reason was the lack of availability - and perhaps a little reluctance for those Australians looking for German sheet-metal to invest large outside of the MB showroom.

By 1969 BMW were putting a pretty convincing argument for punters to buy their product. There was a continuously expanding range of models, from the two-door 1600 to the big six cylinder 2800, these models adding weight to BMW's drive for a major place on the world car manufacturing scene. Probably forgotten these days (when you think old time safety, you tend to think Volvo), the BMW 2000 was, at the time, one of the safest cars then available and BMW were obviously putting in considerable effort to become a safety leader.

A Leader in Car Safety



It was true that, by the late 1960s, most manufacturers were forced to increase their investment in safety, thanks largely to US legislation. But even taking the considerable leaps forward made by the other manufacturers, BMW managed in a very short time to become a leader, and be among the top echelon of safety-oriented cars. But to see what made a BMW special, you needed to look under the skin. The BMW 1800 was unquestionably a safe car when judged against the contemporaries of the time, but with the 2000 BMW made another leap forward. and made it a much safer car.

For starters, there was a divided braking system - but this simple description does not do it justice. Two servo units were used, and the circuits were designed so as to almost completely eliminate the possibility of total brake failure due to line damage. Each of the front disc brakes incorporated dual wheel cylinders, both of which had their own circuit, designed so that front brakes were always fully operative in the event of line damage. One circuit operated both front and rear brakes, the other, front brakes only. Most other divided systems from this era operated either front or rear brakes only, which meant that if the front circuit was damaged, the car had to rely on the rear brakes for stopping.

The BMW system, although it meant increased pedal pressures, ensured that at least 60 per cent braking efficiency was retained if one system failed. Other changes from the 1800 to the 2000 was a new heating system which (was claimed by BMW) to be almost twice as efficient as that of prior models and which incorporated cool fresh air vents for both driver and front seat passenger. The dashboard was all new, white-on-black instruments being contained in a hooded surround in front of the driver and there was a new three-spoke steering wheel with a large padded centre. The previous circular horn ring was replaced by buttons on each spoke.

The upper part of the central stowage bin contained the fresh air grille and control levers for the heating system. The lower section contained the gear lever for the four-speed manual gearbox, or in the case of atmo versions the "T" bar selector for the ZF automatic gearbox. We can well understand that, given the BMW was such a drivers car, purists would have preferred the manual box. But given the growing prestige of the marque, it was important that the 2000 had an AT option. The stock MT was typically BMW beautiful, but the AT was not the sludge box you would have imaginged, and in some instances it did have advantages - the obvious one being that it made the car sellable into the US market.

 

A Class Leading Automatic



The Atmo fitted to the 2000 was, at the time, one of the smoothest going. The ZF unit was matched perfectly to the 113 bhp BMW power unit, upshifting and downshifting willingly at the appropriate moments and extracting similar economy and performance to the manual model. Unlike most automatics there was a complete absence of "clunk" as gears were selected while the car was stationary and the torque converter efficiently took the sharp edges off the actual shifts.

On full kickdown, the car would upshift at around 35 mph and 65 mph, although by holding the gears you could stretch these figures to better than 40 mph and just over 70 mph. Indicative of the efficient matching of the automatic with the engine's power and torque characteristics was the fact that holding manually gave no improvement to acceleration times. And those acceleration times were pretty decent. Acceleration from 0-50 mph in 8.6 seconds and covering the standing quarter mile in 18.9 seconds. Top speed was an even 100 mph - not bad for a two litre engine which had to lug around a 2491 lb. safety-engineered body.

For those that got behind the wheel, it seemed the universal opinion was that the 2000 chassis was obviously built to cope with much more than 113 bhp. But despite wishing there was a little more power, in every other respect the 2000 was a comfortable road car with handling ability and great braking. The 2000s sold in Australia came shod with 6.45 x 14 cross ply tyres which, although not offering the ultimate road grip of radials, still allowed the BMW to cling to thy road remarkably well.

BMW 2000 CS

BMW 2000 4-Door

On the Road



The problems of compromise between comfortable rough road ride and lean-free cornering were effectively overcome by BMW through the use of a fully-independent extensively rubber bushed long-travel suspension with semi trailing links and homokinetic universal joints at the rear. Body roll on fast corners was kept to a minimum, yet bumps and potholes were soaked up without compromising the cars stability. At the time many felt, and with some justification, that BMW's suspension was one of the world's best in terms of effectiveness under all types of road conditions.

Handling was characterised by initial understeer, with the car quickly adopting an almost neutral attitude shortly after entering a corner. Road testers from the time claimed that the BMW displayed no vices on rough or corrugated sections of road - and there was no suggestion of bottoming and a straight line was easily maintained regardless of the state of road disrepair. They did, however, claim the steering was on the heavy side, but this was minimised by the large wheel rim which made parking less of an effort than initially expected.

Behind the Wheel



Wheel position in relation to the driver was a little on the high side, but the driving position was nevertheless supremely comfortable. Well-contoured seats supported passengers in all the right places and a long trip could be completed with the usual aches and pains normally associated with driving a car from the 1970s. The front seats were infinitely adjustable for rake and the range of rearward travel was sufficient to ensure perfect comfort for any driver. Rear legroom was limited with the front seats right back, but was still more generous than in an average family car (excluding the Kingswood, Falcon or Valiant). Not bad for a wheelbase of just over 100 inches.

Nothing is perfect, however, so if you were looking for some points to criticise, the most obvious was the location of the two floor pedals, which were poorly aligned and too high off the floor. Another issue was the windscreen wipers, which left an uncleaned portion of screen in the vital area on the right hand side (we assume this was only evident on RHD vehicles). To counter the issue, BMW fitted the driver's wiper with a foil to keep the blade in close contact during high speed driving.

Safety was well thought out too. For example, there was not one but two servo units, and the circuits were designed so as to almost completely eliminate the possibility of total brake failure due to line damage. Each of the front disc brakes incorporated dual wheel cylinders, both of which had their own circuit, designed so that the front brakes were always fully operative in the event of line damage. One circuit operated both front and rear brakes, the other, front brakes only. Most other divided systems from this time operated either front or rear brakes only, which meant that if the front circuit was damaged, the car had to rely on the rear brakes for stopping. The BMW system, although it meant increased pedal pressures, ensured that at least 60 per cent braking efficiency was retained if one system fails.

Apart from this, there are few other major changes for 1969. There was a new heating system which was claimed to be almost twice as efficient as that of prior models and which incorporated cool fresh air vents for both driver and front seat passenger. The dashboard was all new, white-on-black instruments being contained in a hooded surround in front of the driver and there was a new three-spoke steering wheel with a large padded centre. The previous circular horn ring was replaced by buttons on each spoke. The upper part of the central stowage bin contained the fresh air grille and control levers for the heating system. The lower section contained the gear lever for the four-speed manual gearbox, or on AT versions the "T" bar selector for the ZF automatic gearbox.

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BMW Specifications
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