The 1968-1976 BMW 2002 was the well-loved and highly successful 2.0-liter version of BMW's smaller sedan, unchanged in dimensions or basic appearances from the original BW 1600.
It was offered variously in three different stages of engine tune, not all of which were available in the United States because of then-current emissions regulations. Also not available here were custom targa convertible conversions carried out by the Baur coach-works of Stuttgart or the neat "Touring" hatchback derivative of this bodyshell.
Carbureted standard and ti models were offered through 1974, with the fuel-injected tii beginning for 1972. The 2002 was the mainstay of BMW's American and European lineups in these years, and remarkably little changed.
The 1968-1976 BMW 2002 was quite fast -- 110 mph standard, 120 mph tii in European trim -- for such a practical design that included full four-seat capacity, a roomy trunk, well-chosen driving stance, and great outward visibility. Yet, it could beat the socks off many a so-called sports car in a handling duel.
Its most oft-criticized shortcomings were no provision for fresh-air ventilation and steadily escalating prices. The 2002 was replaced by the more refined, more expensive 3-series based on similar mechanicals and suspension, but to many BMW fans, the 2002 is the best car ever to come from Munich.
Pluses of the 1968-1976 BMW 2002:
- Gutsy character
- Great performance
- Surprising mileage
- High-demand item
- Others as for 1966-1975 BMW 1600
Minuses of the 1968-1976 BMW 2002:
- Detrimental effects of U.S. emissions controls compared to European versions
- Unitized, so rust a worry
- Plain styling, interior decor
- Good condition examples hard to find
- Parts expensive
- Over-shadowed in performance and collector interest by 2002s
Production of the 1968-1976 BMW 2002:
- 2-door sedan: 339,084
- 2-door cabrio by Baur: 4,199
- 2-door ti sedan: 16,448
- 2-door tii sedan: 38,703
- 3-door Touring sedan: 11,488
Specifications of the 1968-1976 BMW 2002:
Wheelbase, inches: 98.4
Length, inches: 166.5 (1968-1973), 176.0 (1974-1976)
Weight, pounds: 2,150-2,450
Price, new: $5,500-$8,500 (U.S.)
Engines for the 1968-1976 BMW 2002:
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*DIN; European models
Type Size Horsepower Years sohc I-4 1,990 cc (121 cid) 100-130* 1968-1976 sohc I-4 1,990 cc (121 cid) 113-140** 1971-1976
**SAE net, U.S. models
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