Despite being perceived as relatively sluggish, with an unconventional driving stance, average traction, basic braking capabilities, and minimal features, the 1960s BMW 2002 holds a peculiar charm in the automotive community. Its appeal is somewhat reminiscent of the allure associated with Italian cars from the same era.

Gaining Muscle

Distinct from the Italian cars of its time, the BMW 02 series wasn't a creation of Pininfarina or Italdesign but the result of Georg Bertram and Manfred Rennen's vision. They successfully balanced sportiness with elegance in their design.

Initially, this two-door BMW was equipped with a 1.6-liter M10 engine, delivering 63 kW (84 hp) at 5,700 rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm. Just a year later, an updated version was released with a slightly higher compression ratio and dual carburetors, boosting its output to 82 kW (110 hp) at 6,000 rpm. For a car weighing 960 kilograms, these were commendable performance metrics.

Fateful Coincidence

The performance figures of the M10 engine initially installed in the BMW 02 series weren't quite satisfactory for its designer, Alex von Falkenhausen, and BMW's director of product planning, Helmut Werner Bönsch. Both independently upgraded their personal 02 models with a 2.0-liter engine, unaware of each other's modifications until they were completed. This coincidence, combined with the market's demand for a faster variant in the USA, catalyzed the development of the 2002 series. This evolution began with the carbureted 2002, progressed to the dual-carbureted 2002ti, and culminated in the fuel-injected 2002tii.

BMW 2002 Turbo
BMW 2002 Turbo

The respective power outputs for these models were 75 kW (101 hp) for the 2002, 89 kW (119 hp) for the 2002ti, and 97 kW (130 hp) for the top-tier 2002tii. Notably, the 2002tii featured mechanical fuel injection rather than an electronic system. This design choice implies that adjusting the engine for varying conditions is quite challenging, leading to a rough performance when the engine is cold. However, as the engine reaches its optimal operating temperature, it offers a significantly more enjoyable driving experience.

Classic Car Lessons

This narrative surrounding the car accentuates a deeper appreciation for it through the juxtaposition of its imperfections and virtues. It serves as a reminder not to overlook the value of a smooth idle, a quality that becomes more apparent through these "lessons." The cost for such insight ranges from 5,000 to 100,000 EUR. Those at the higher end of the price spectrum are typically the turbo variants, which are especially rare. With only 1,672 units produced, these turbo models stand as the elusive unicorns among the 2002 series.


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The smile generator: Kyle's 1973 BMW 2002 Tii