One of the sportiest sedans on the road back in the day – and now arguably one of the coolest classic cars around.
A year before the BMW 02 hit the roads, the Munich-based carmaker revealed the slogan “Aus Freude am Fahren” (“For the pleasure of driving”) – and in 1966 it carved that pithy ode to motoring pleasure into stone with the launch of the aforementioned driving machine. At its presentation, the press described the two-door Neue Klasse (New Class) model as an “over-engined compact car”. In later years a turbocharger and 170 horsepower provided more than just a rebellious riposte to the Oil Crisis – the 02 was a combination of genuine Porsche-beater, anti-Establishment figurehead and autobahn overtaking king.
Others may since have usurped the 02 in the fast lane, but the compact Bavarian remains at the very front of the pack to this day in terms of driving pleasure, style and value retention.
Its solid build quality ensures it remains a reliable everyday steer even now, 38 years after production came to an end. The 100 hp engine makes easy work of the BMW 2002’s sub-tonne kerb weight, and even the smaller engines still have plenty in hand should more rapid progress be to your taste.
Whether you’re stuck in stop-start traffic around town or lapping up the miles on a grand tour, the 02 will not let you down.
It is crisp to drive, boasts flawless ergonomics and its engineering is robust; mechanical gremlins are conspicuous by their absence. By contrast to its erstwhile rival, Alfa Romeo’s Giulia, there’s little about the BMW 02 that requires a loving heart to forgive.
Prices of examples in good condition have followed a steady upward curve over recent years. However, there’s little to be gained – financially, at least – from restoration. The extra funds you’d be asked to stump up for a tidy, rust-free example in Taiga metallic are certainly better invested here than in a rotting 02 in popular Inka orange.
Make no mistake, a 2002 looks cool in any colour – but in some colours it looks cooler still.
The 02 is no car for nodding dogs on the parcel shelf, so if you’re seriously tempted, make sure you chime in with the complete package: pull on your Chucks, pop on your Ray-Ban Aviators – and get yourself an 02, or Nullzwoer as the Bavarians call it, without further ado.
Good to know:
As solidly built and long-living as 02 cars have proved to be, sooner or later they need the odd part replacing. Happily, even 38 years after the end of production, supplies of spare parts remain healthy. Both BMW Classic and various dealers offer all you’ll need to keep your 02 in business.
Single-carburettor models (BMW 1502 – 2002) in sound condition can be snapped up for around 12,000 – 15,000 euros. However, mint examples are changing hands for twice that. For the sporty 2002 ti and tii you’ll be needing between 20,000 and 35,000 euros, and Touring variants command a 15 percent premium. The chic convertible versions are a case apart, as is the rare 2002 turbo. Soft-top 02s will soon push you into 50,000+ euro territory, while the best turbos are nudging 100,000.
The standard BMW 2002 with a single carburettor already offers driving pleasure in spades. The twin-carburettor versions and fuel-injected ti and tii models are not that much faster, cost a heap more to buy and often need a lot more looking after.
The 02 scene
BMW 02 fans are an enterprising bunch and the car has a large following. Pipe up with a problem and the BMW 02 community will pitch in with advice and practical assistance. The BMW 02 Club is a fountain of help and information for 02 newbies in particular.