After yesterday’s mega M6, I’d like to take a look at another favorite BMW coupe of mine. In many ways, it is the antithesis of the M6; simple, under-powered, rear-engine and decidedly ’60s while the M6 was oh-so-’80s. The 700 Coupe developed through an interesting route, as I described in an article for The Truth About Cars. While air-cooled power was associated with VW and Porsche, NSU and BMW also flirted with rear-engine designs of their own, and in their own right they were fairly successful.
From the diminutive Isetta grew the oddly-shaped 600, which then bore the 700 run. Available in 2-door sedan, Coupe or rare convertible, the 700 developed some 30 horsepower from its .7 liter twin in the rear. The handsome Michelotti design signaled the direction for the new BMW designs, with (for the time) modern lines penned to the standard 3-box formula. A total of nearly 200,000 700s were produced, but the Coupe version sold in much smaller numbers – only about 30,000 total Coupes produced. The departed from the more traditional 2-door sedan’s look with a sharply cut greenhouse and pronounced tail fins. While the combination of all these things seems like an odd recipe, it somehow worked very well and looked beautiful: