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BMW 2002

BMW 2002 Published: 9th Aug 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMW 2002
BMW 2002
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Understated looks - Understated image - Good choice UK and abroad - Q-Car tii

The granddaddy of the yuppie icon – the 3 Series – but when the 02 series was in production it was bought and appreciated by a far more discerning driver than today, one which was more interested in the car’s pedigree and driving prowess rather than sheer image. Once a cheap starter classic, values of the 2002 have fairly rocketed over the last couple of years and the rare Turbo can exceed £100K but, thankfully there’s still some good value buys around.


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. Overall performance is good; 2002s are surprisingly nimble, the tii remains sparkling but the slower 1602 and 1502 are quite okay for most users, too. The tearaway 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 (five-speed transmissions were listed as options most UK cars were manual four-speeders), all cruise well and are typically BMW comfortable, although the cabin looks austere and functional at best even for a 1960’s car.

Best models

For many, there’s only one – the 130bhp 02 tii which was the Golf GTi of its era – but there’s a better chance of getting a good mainstream model at more favourable prices, such as the very agreeable hatchback Touring. Original 1600ti and the (even rarer 2002ti will appeal to purists, as will the Buar-built cabriolets. Towards the end, BMW introduced an economy entry level 1502 saloon with 75bhp engine and reduced trim levels. Along with the Touring, they are the least expensive and fine for many enthusiasts. Also, don’t overlook the larger 1500/1800/2000 range, launched from 1961, where sportier ti offshoots command strong respect.


Ignoring the Turbo where even average cars make 50 grand and the tii £20K, best value lies in the plain 2002 where a good one can be had for less than £10K, just over the price of a exceptional Touring or 1502/1602. Projects start from £1500, depending upon model (tii versions four times this) but restoration costs negate perceived up front savings.

Buying advice

Soaring popularity has resulted in an increasing number of specialists such as and latterly TVR experts Classic World Racing getting involved. Rust is the main worry as it can be dire. Box sections, A-posts, inner wings, sills scuttles, floors and chassis rails are all prone but most panels are available. Early gearboxes wear; later E21; unit also fits and is a recognised upgrade. A worn centre prop bearing can produce a rumbling vibration from underneath.

Engines are sturdy but valve seals and camshafts fail, overheating and cracked heads not uncommon, and the Kugelfischer injection system can suffer from poor running and smoke (mainly due to lack of use) plus fuel line contamination can be a problem on all. UK cars had twin-servo set up: dear and difficult to source. It is possible to swap the front struts fitted with E21 hubs using better 5 or 6 Series calipers.

A small amount of play in the steering can be very carefully adjusted out but make sure that the steering idler isn’t seizing. Struts spring plates, can rot right through, allowing suspension to collapse. At the rear, the box-section trailing arms are also prone to corrosion, and check the condition of the subframe and differential mountings.

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