The discovery of the nonpeptide angiotensin II (AII) receptor antagonist losartan, previously called DuP 753, has stimulated considerable interest in the synthesis of novel analogs of this compound. Our efforts in this area have resulted in the discovery of dihydropyrimidines as potent AII receptor antagonists. The chemistry leading to this novel class of AII antagonists and their biological properties are reported in this publication. Structure-activity studies showed that a variety of substituents are tolerated on the dihydropyrimidine ring, indicating that the AII receptor is permissive in accepting this region of the nonpeptide antagonists. As reported for imidazole-based AII antagonists, the tetrazolyl dihydropyrimidine analogs were found to be more potent than the corresponding carboxylic acids. Our studies show that dihydropyrimidine analogs 2-butyl-4-chloro-1,6-dihydro-6-methyl-1-[[2'-(1H-tetrazol-5-yl)[1, 1'-biphenyl]-4-yl]methyl]pyrimidine-5-carboxylic acid, ethyl ester (Ki = 8.3 nM), 2-butyl-4-chloro-1,6-dihydro-6-methyl-1- [[2'-(1H-tetrazol-5-yl)[1,1'-biphenyl]-4-yl]methyl]-5- pyrimidinecarboxylic acid (Ki = 1.0 nM), and 2-butyl-6-chloro-1,4-dihydro-4,4-dimethyl-1-[[2'-(1H-tetrazol-5-yl )[1,1'- biphenyl]-4-yl]methyl]-5-pyrimidinecarboxylic acid, ethyl ester (Ki = 1.1 nM), display affinities for the AII receptor which are comparable to or better than losartan (Ki = 9.0 nM). One of these derivatives, 2-butyl-4-chloro-1,6-dihydro-6-methyl-1-[[2'-(1H-tetrazol-5- yl)[1,1'-biphenyl]-4-yl]methyl]pyrimidine-5-carboxylic acid, ethyl ester, showed antihypertensive activity on oral administration to spontaneously hypertensive rats. These results demonstrate that the imidazole of losartan can be successfully replaced with a dihydropyrimidine ring.