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The best BMW of all time - the BMW 2002

The BMW 2002 has been described as the ultimate affordable collector car. The introduction of this car is generally considered the turning point in BMW’s history as the manufacturer was struggling with declining sales and increased competition from other brands in the industry. When the 2002 rolled off the production line, this all changed as the popularity of the model exceeded BMW’s expectations.

Obviously the shape and styling of the 2002 were the major contributing factors to its runaway success, but its ability to appeal to a broad cross section of buyers defiantly helped as well. The same model car could be purchased by people looking for a great weekend drive with the performance and handling characteristics of a sports car, or could just as easily be purchased by a family looking for a sporty car as their daily drive.

BMW 2002 Racing

BMW 2002 Racing

In this hub, we will cover the different models available and the changes to the car over its production run. This is just a collection of information i've gathered as i've been researching the car of the last few months, with a view to buying one, hopefully very soon!!

BMW 2002 Standard

BMW 2002 Standard

2002 Standard Model

The standard model 2002 was first released in 1968 and was an instant hit both in the United States and in Europe. It came in both 2 door and 4 door variants, although the 2 door version was the one most widely sold in the US. It came with a 2 litre engine which produced 100 hp as standard and used a Solex carburetor.

The standard model remained virtually unchanged over it’s nine year production run, with only minor alterations to the look of the car during that time.

There were 320,855 standard 2002 model BMW’s produced, which at the time for BMW was a massive feat for their production line in terms of output.

BMW 2002 ti

BMW 2002 ti

2002 TI & 2002 TII Performance Models

The 2002 TI model was the first performance version of the 2002 which featured a dual carburetor system. This version was also released in 1968 and overall there were 16,448 of the TI produced.

The 2002 TII model was the second of the performance models released and featured a Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system which really helped increase the power output of the standard 2 litre engine from 100 hp to 130 hp. This additional power output required other key components to receive an upgrade as well. These included better MacPherson front struts, bigger brake system and a high flow exhaust manifold. There were 38,703 TII models produced and 1972-73 version with round tail lamps remains one of the most sort after models by collectors the world over.

BMW 2002 Turbo

BMW 2002 Turbo

2002 Turbo Model

In 1973 BMW released a turbo version on the 2002. The 2002 Turbo first debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show and it was the first production car to be fitted with a turbo system in Europe at that time.

The turbo model retained the TII engine with its fuel injection system and added a KKK turbo charger which increased its power output from 130 hp to 170 hp. The turbo charged version was very distinctive from the other 2002s available at the time, with racing stripes down the side of the car and 2002 Turbo written in mirror reverse on the front spoiler so you could read it when looking in your rear vision mirror if a 2002 turbo was following you.

There were 1,672 BMW 2002 Turbo models produced which makes them very rare and highly sought after by collectors.

BMW 2002 Cabriolet

BMW 2002 Cabriolet

2002 Cabriolet, Targa and Touring Models

BMW released a Touring version of the 2002 in 1971, which featured the first major change to the body of the standard car. The Touring model had a hatchback section at the rear and BMW produced 15,969 of them.

The Cabriolet and the Targa versions were produced by an external company called Baur. The Cabriolet was a fully convertible model with a full folding canvas hardtop, and the Targa had a removable centre roof panel and support system, which served as roll over protection as well as strengthening up the chassis. 2,317 of the Targa model were produced by Baur and only 200 of the Cabriolet were produced, making them the rarest of all BMW 2002 models.

BMW 2002 tii

BMW 2002 tii

I’ve been researching this car for a while now as I’m looking to purchase one. There still seems to be a few available, but finding one that hasn’t been modified to any great extent or that doesn’t have some of the commonly known issues that can be found on this model, can be hard.

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Some of the well known issues to look out for are:

  • The design of the fuel tank allows fumes to enter the cabin if a window is down. This can be fixed easily but best to buy one that has been fixed already.
  • Rust can be a problem with them main area to look out for being the rear shock absorber tower. If there is rust here, it could be expensive to repair. Other rust areas to look out for are in the floor pans on both the driver and passenger side, artound the lights and turn lamps, in the rear quarter panels and also the spare tire well.
  • The padding in the seats will compress over time and will need to be re upholstered or replaced with more modern version
  • The dash seems to be susceptible to cracking down the centre if exposed to excess heat or sun.
  • Other normal signs of wear and tear may be present, but the majority of issues can be repaired pretty easily and the seams to be a good supply of spare parts available.
BMW 2002 ti

BMW 2002 ti



I'm trying to find an original 2002 Tii that doesn't require too much work to be done.

This car really seems to be a great mix of a classic car, but one that you would feel comfortably using as your daily drive or as a fantastic second car. The price point is still very reasonable with cars going for anywhere between $5000 - $25,000+ so getting into the classic car scene is pretty affordable. They seem to be very reliable mechanically and are very robust, not prone to many issues. Most problems can be taken care of with newer parts or with minor tweaks to the original configuration.

There is a lot of information on upgrades or customizations that can be done to the car if that is something you wanted to do. There are some beautiful examples driving around where people have spent a lot of time and money restoring their 2002 to better than showroom condition.

I would really like any feedback from people that own or have previously own any model of 2002. It would be great to get some additional information and some personal experiences with the car.

I have tried to be as accurate as possible with contents of this hub, but the information is from my own research and collected via multiple sources, so if there is any errors, inaccuracy or If you would like any additional information to be added to this page, please let me know and I will certainly consider any adjustments.


Wade Thiel from Indianapolis on June 23, 2020:

Nice article! Love this.

Bru Webster on April 14, 2019:

A very nice article...highlighting an exceptional car!

George Steven from United State on July 10, 2018:

oh great its really nice old is gold

Harry from Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2014:

@EasyExercise.... The 8 Series coupe was certainly a looker ..25 years on and it still looks deadly if you see it on the street ....but as they say..anything fat doesn't look good when its topless lol .. Look at the 6 Series or even the Maserati Grancabrio ..They look astonishing as hardtops but take the top off and they look wobbly and clumsy ...but I guess it's a male perspective..

Kelly A Burnett from United States on May 16, 2014:

Personally I adore the 850I and wonder why it was never offered as a convertible? Thoughts?

prbradshaw (author) on May 08, 2014:

Thanks for commenting Hackslap, I'm in Oz as well so that 2002 in the states is a bit far away unfortunately. The search continues, hopefully one will come up soon.

Harry from Sydney, Australia on May 06, 2014:

Mate THERE IS A DEALER APPROVED 2002 FOR SALE! ..I've put up the Ebay Link on EBAY (under my BMW 2 Series hub) .. Take a look :)

Harry from Sydney, Australia on May 06, 2014:

What a wonderful glimpse into BMW's glrorious past! .. As a BMW enthusiast myself (Please take the time to read my Bimmer-related articles when able) ..I too believe the 2002 was as such 'genesis' for BMW .. Hope you find one coz they're indeed getting rare (nice pics btw)..

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