The success of the Neue Klasse saved BMW, but after the production stop of the now outdated BMW 700, BMW lacked an entry-level model. BMW hence developed a slightly smaller two-door version, which was introduced in 1966 as BMW 1600-2. The styling is very similar to the Neue Klasse, but with distinctive round tail lights. In 1967, the 1600 ti was added as sport model, with two dual carburettors. In 1968, the two-litre 2002 model was added, soon followed by the 2002 ti with the same carburettor setup as the 1600 ti.
The 02 was revised in 1971. The 1600-2 was now called 1602. The 1802 was added as intermediate model. Fuel injection entered production with the 2002 tii. All models were now also available as hatchback, called touring, the name that would later be used for BMW’s station wagon/estate models. Further changes came in 1973 with the replacement of the chrome grille by a black grille, and new rectangular tail lights. Later in 1973, BMW introduced the 2002 turbo, which was controversial due toe its introduction during the oil crisis, and mirrored writing on the front spoiler, a feature that was dropped for production.
The 1502 was added as base model early in 1975, with a detuned 1602 engine and lacking the chrome trim at waist level. Production of the 1502 continued for two more years after the introduction of the first 3 series (E21), all other models were dropped upon introduction of the E21.
The 02 was a very popular and successful race and rally car, and remains popular in historic motorsports to this day.
All 02s were powered by variants of the BMW M10, one of BMW’s most iconic and successful designs. Power output ranged from 75hp in the 1502 to 170hp in the 2002 turbo, with the cars weighing around 1,000kg. This may not sound particularly impressive, but compare it to a VW Beetle, which as 1500 developed 44hp at 800kg. Even the 1502 almost reached 160kph. The tii could do 190kph with a 0-100 time of 10.6s.
The iconic small BMW that fathered the 3 series. Relatively lightweight and agile. Reliable M10 engines. The common models (1502/1602/1802/2002) are still relatively affordable.
Rust is an issue, as with all cars of this age. Prices for the performance models (ti and tii) have increased considerably in the last years. A Neue Klasse might be a bit cheaper.
2002 in Inka Orange – the most bang for the buck, and if you want more power, you can always go with other carburettor setups.