The 700 story
In contrast to the bulkiness of the Limousines and the awkward insufficiency of the Isetta, this modern little Coupé expressed the spirit of the times with a dash of Italian charm.
At last there was an affordable BMW on the market again, which was fun in spite of a modest engine. The BMW 700 Coupé was chic in every way and almost without competition when it came out in Germany. The countersunk door handles were modeled on those of the 507 Roadster, one got into the vehicle through frameless doors and sank deeply into half-bucket seats as in a real sports car. This Coupé had a definite sporty character: the synchronized 4-speed transmission was operated by means of a short central gear lever, and the horizontally opposed engine demonstrated astounding elasticity an earthy sound. When two people travelled in a 700 Coupé, it did not feel at all like a small car.
The interior was functionally designed, bright and spacious, and two children could easily be carried on the emergency seats - or two adults at least for a short trip. With good road holding, the car's 30HP allowed one to travel faster then in automobiles of comparable power, and the car was soon dubbed the "working man's Porsche". With 640 kg, acceleration was fast, and the topspeed of 125 km/h (approx. 77 mph) was quite respectable. At DM 5,200,- the 700 Coupé cost DM 300,- more than the Limousine and was thus by no means a cheap car. A Volkswagen beetle cost around DM 700,- less at the time.
After the IAA in Frankfurt, 25,000 orders were received for the Limousine and the Coupé. By the end of 1959 2,648 Coupés were built, and customers had to wait up to six weeks for their car due to heavy demand. In December 1959, fate had determined that BMW would remain an independent company, and an important reason for commitment of the new BMW principal shareholder Dr. Herbert Quandt were the excellent sales figures of the 700.