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BMW 02

BMW 02 Published: 21st May 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMW 02
BMW 02
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Why should I buy one?

It’s the granddaddy of that legendary yuppie icon – the 3 Series! But when the 02 series was in production it was more bought and appreciated by a far more discerning driver, more interested in its pedigree, engineering and driving prowess rather than sheer image.

What can I get?

There’s a handful of models, the mainstay being the coupé which is really a two-door saloon. Initially a 1600 but it’s 2-litre 2002 that garner most interest, more so the 1971 series which saw the introduction of the 2002ti featuring twin carbs although few were seen in the UK. Instead, there was the brilliant fuel injected 2002tii boasting 130bhp – the first GTi perhaps?

The Touring three-door hatchback rivals the Scimitar GTE although it sports only a standard carb-fed 2-litre engine. In contrast, the 130bhp LHD only Turbo – the forerunner to today’s M3 – is already a 24 carat classic – top models are valued at £100K! Finally, there’s the run out 1502 model of 1975 with a paltry 75bhp and reduced trim levels. The 2002 is the best all rounder; good ones are from £10,000 where as the tii can be three times this. Touring’s the cheapest.

What are they like to drive?

The 02 is a true ‘sports saloon’ but with the solidarity of a truck The Tii and 2-litre cars still feel surprisingly fast, the 1502 less so, but they are very nimble. The Turbo is a real handful with monster power that’s either on or off, requiring a large degree of respect. Don’t take the other models for granted either, as they can become notably tail-happy, especially in slippery conditions, as you’d expect from an old rear-wheel drive car. But if the handling lacks any direction, the front suspension bushes are more than likely shot, characterised by the steering pulling to the left or right under braking. Replacing the rear subframe and differential bushes will improve handling no end. The 2002 are the best performers and the tii offers Gti pace but if the entire range has one drawback it is the relative low gearing for modern roads. Although five-speed transmissions were listed as options most UK 02s were manual four-speeders. Apart from inherent low gearing, all cruise well and are typically BMW comfortable, although the cabin looks austere and functional at best.

What are they like to live with?

Take your time and look around for a good one and pay as much as you can for the privilege as it will work out cheapest in the long run. Rust is the biggest worry and be terminal enough in the inner wings, box sections and sills to render many cars uneconomical to repair although panel supply is good. A novelty with UK models is the twin-servo set up which is expensive to put right and difficult to source parts. If originality isn’t critical, it’s possible to swap the front legs fitted with E21 hubs using 5 or 6 Series callipers by the way. The engines are robust but can be prone to failing head valve seals (look for smoking at idle), overheating, worn camshafts and contamination of the fuel system. The Kugelfischer injection system can suffer from poor running and emit black smoke but is serviceable and repairable.

We reckon

Not the starter classic bargains they used to be not so long ago, but when you finally unearth a good one you’ll own a proper BMW and not a ‘Beemer’ that’s full of class and culture.

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