Bavarian breakthrough. The BMW 02 series.

ER Classics Desktop 2022

When the spring of 1966 arrives, many know for sure. BMW has finally taken the road up. Munich is showing the BMW-02 series with the 1600-02 in Geneva to the general public. The BMW-02 series series is born. He will develop a legendary status. And put BMW on the map permanently.

The BMW-02 series makes its debut with the 1573 cc engine with 85 HP. The sporty TI follows in 1967. He places 105 PK on the crankshaft mounted five times. That TI remains in production for a short time. This quickly clears the field for the car that is actually considered a definitive BMW breakthrough: the 2002. The 2-liter version makes its debut in February 1968. He is accompanied by the TI in June of that year. That in turn receives the 2 double Solex carburetors from the 1600-02 TI. The basic version squeezes 100 PK from the 1990 cc engine, the TI delivers 20 PK more.

The Turbo was against time, but character could definitely not be denied. Image: BMW AG
The Turbo was against time, but character could definitely not be denied. Image: BMW AG

Fixed value in the BMW range
In 1971, the BMW-02 series has long been an indispensable part of the BMW range. The combination of design, engine and chassis (independently suspended wheels all around, double-acting shock absorbers) have given this BMW fame. "Bavaria" is now implementing changes. The 1600-02 is renamed 1602. There are also some changes at the latest. The -02 gets a new grille, continuous and rubberized bumpers and interior changes.

As a nice compromise between the 1602 and the 2002, the 1802 sees the light of day. This is equipped with an 1766 cc engine and the single Solex carburetor from the 1602. However, the most striking change is the arrival of the 2002 Tii. It replaces the TI. The Tii is equipped with the mechanical Kugelfischer injection system from Bosch, generating a power of 130 PK and a maximum torque of 177 Nm achieved in a speed range between 4.000 and 4.700 rpm.

Time too far ahead: Touring and Turbo
The three-door Touring comes in 1971. He is becoming less popular than his two-door brother. This also applies to the 2002 Turbo from 1973. The Turbo technology is still in its infancy. The oil crisis is coming. The consumption is much too high and the Turbo is too expensive compared to the 2002 Tii racehorse. For the Munich Summer Olympics, BMW also releases an electro variant in 1972.

For the 1974 model year, the 02 series was perfected to enter its final years. Image: BMW AG
For the 1974 model year, the BMW-02 series was perfected to enter its final years. Image: BMW AG

In the meantime, BMW continues to sharpen the "02". The small BMW, now equipped with a modified grille and other rear lights, is being perfected. The track width is adjusted for the 1974 model year. The rims grow and get cooling holes to provide the brakes with extra ventilation. There will be innovations in the interior. The adjustment of all-round suspension and shock absorbers is optimized. For example, the 02 series from BMW enters its final period before being followed by the 1975 series in 3. Eventually the "E10" continues until 1977. Then the 1975 introduced in 1502 blows the candle out. The BMW 02 series is - including the open variants - built 861.940 times. He still enjoys iconic status to this day. Rightly so.

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