In March 1966 BMW introduced a new, smaller two-door body with similar engineering specifications to the previously introduced larger four-door sedans, but these cars only had 1.6 litre engines. In September 1967 a twin-carburettor, high compression model, the 1600TI was added to the range.
With the arrival of new US emission regulations it was found too difficult to bring the 1600TI into conformity with these regulations by simply adding twin carburettors so an alternative solution, adding more engine displacement, was adopted.
The result was the 2002, with a single-carburettor two-litre engine giving 15hp extra yet only suffering a very a modest weight increase. The rest is history: The BMW 2002 became BMW’s best selling single model and rapidly gave BMW a reputation as a leading maker of compact, high-performance sports sedans.
The 2002 was produced from 1968 through to 1976 and had a front mounted 4 cylinder sohc engine which developed 100 horsepower at 5500 rpm and drove the rear wheels. Both 4-speed manual and three speed automatic transmissions were available in this car which gave a top speed of 173km/hour. Like other BMWs, it used a semi-trailing arm rear suspension.
In 1973 export models, particularly those going to the US, received a revised cylinder head and a new two-barrel carburettor but these changes were not made to domestic European models until mid-1975.
To meet further changes in US regulations which specified ability to withstand a 5-mph bump rubber faced aluminium bumper bars with hydraulic shock-absorbing struts were added in 1974. Newly styled wheels of 127mm rim width, and an improved interior were phased in at the same time
For European markets a convertible was introduced in 1971 and over 4000 of these were produced. Baur’s conversion of the 2002 included an upgraded interior and added 50kg to its weight; other specifications remained unchanged.
As with the 1600TI, the 2002ti (lower case letters intended) was never exported to North America but was exported to other markets including Australia. Introduced in October 1968, it was a two-carburettor version of the 2002, with anti-roll bars front and rear and available with a five-speed gearbox.
Tyres, too, were adjusted to the higher performance level type 165HR-13 instead of 165SR. From the outside it could only be identified by its designation script, but under the bonnet the rather full engine compartment suggested a car bristling with performance.
In total 16,448 units of the 2002ti were produced and it was replaced by the fuel injected two-litre 2002tii in 1971 with production of a further 38,703 units but production of the 2002 reached 339,048 before the model was finally discontinued in 1976.