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BMW 2002

BMW 2002 Published: 13th Feb 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMW 2002

Fast Facts

  • Best model: Given a straight choice, it has to be a 2002 of some description as the performance bonus is notable and useful, although given
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If you’re after a classy BMW that was loved for its engineering not just image – then yes!


It’s the granddaddy of that 1980’s yuppie icon – the 3 Series – but when the 02 was in production it was bought and appreciated by a far more discerning driver, more interested in pedigree and driving prowess rather than sheer image. Once overlooked, an 02 now makes a great classic that’s surprisingly inexpensive to buy and own.


As early as 1963 there had been discussions about a new and smaller BMW. Thoughts began to focus on a short wheelbase two-door version of the New Class saloon and two-door model did not take long to design. The New Class wheelbase was shortened from 100.4 inches to 98.4 inches.

1966 Introduced with a 1.6 engine. Most of the running gear came directly from the existing four-door saloons; 02 insignia stood for two-doors.

1967 BMW announced an even more sporting version, the 1600ti with a 105bhp twin carb engine and, logically, the 100bhp 2-litre engine as seen in the 2000 coupé was also a natural fit. And so the famous 2002 was born. Also this year, the Bauer cabriolet was introduced.

1971 What is regarded as the second generation 02 range is launched, the most significant news being the 2002ti featuring twin carbs for a bhp increase from 100bhp to 120bhp although few were seen in the UK. Instead, there was the brilliant 2002tii boasting 130bhp from fuel injection – the first GTi perhaps?

1972 Touring three-door hatchback announced copying the Scimitar GTE but with simple carb-fed 2-litre power only.

1973 Turbo model added to range with 170bhp but left hand drive only. One of the first cars to feature a body kit, too, it’s the forerunner to today’s M3.

1975 Economy entry level 1502 saloon introduced with 75bhp engine and reduced trim levels.


Be under no pretence; the 02 is a sober suited sports car. Apart from their pep the BMW is handily-sized, offers great all round vision and is easy to place on the road making it feel like a GTi. The performance is good; 2002s are surprisingly nimble, the tii is sparkling but the 1602 and 1502 are quite okay for most users, too.

The Turbo is a real handful with monster power delivery that’s either ‘on’ or ‘off’, requiring a large degree of respect as a result. Don’t take the other models for granted either, as they can also become rather tail-happy in slippery conditions or if you shut off the power during cornering. Apart from inherent low gearing, all cruise well and are typically BMW comfortable, although the cabin looks austere and functional at best.


* RUST Can be dire. Box sections, A-posts, inner wings, sills scuttles, floors and chassis rails all prone

* ENGINE Head valve seals, overheating, cams and contamination of the fuel system. Kugelfischer injection system can suffer from poor running and emit black smoke

* TRANSMISSION Early gearboxes suffered from worn mainshafts; later E21; box also fits, and is a recognised upgrade. A worn centre prop bearing can produce a rumbling vibration from underneath

* SUSPENSION Spring plates rot as do rear suspension arms plus the subframe mounts and bushes perish

* BRAKES All UK cars had twin-servo set up, expensive and difficult to source. It is possible to swap the front legs fitted with E21 hubs using 5-or 6 Series calipers


1960’s BMWs are becoming trendy classics and prices reflect this meaning 02s aren’t so undervalued anymore. That said, to build a concours winner from a MoT failure – which you can pick up for a grand – can cost tens of thousands of pounds. So you’ll lose out in financial terms as only the rare Turbo is seen as being highly collectible; reckon on £30.000 for top examples here. A similar tii is probably two-thirds cheaper and good models are in the region of £4000-£6000.


The 2002 is rightly considered to be a solid sensible classic and all remain good value for money. That said there are many tatty and bodged cars around so buy with care and don’t buy the first one you see unless it’s really top-notch. When you unearth one you’ll own a BMW not a Beemer and one that’s full of class.

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