When the BMW 2002 turbo was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn 1973 as the new flagship model of the BMW 02 Series, the first Oil Crisis was just beginning. This backdrop was a major factor behind the growth of the BMW 2002 turbo into one of the most emotionally rich cars of its time. Today, it is a hugely coveted classic.
Its impact on automotive history alone provides sound reasons for this current status. After all, the BMW 2002 turbo was the first series-produced European car to feature a turbocharger. Only available in Polaris metallic and Chamonix paint finishes, it was soon thrilling drivers with its stunning dynamic repertoire. The BMW engineers employed a Kugelfischer fuel injection system and KKK turbocharger to extract a tidy 125 kW/170 hp at 5,800 rpm from the two-litre four-cylinder engine. And torque of 245 Nm (181 lb-ft) at 4,000 rpm was also more than impressive. That was enough to power the super-light BMW 2002 turbo (weighing in at just 1,080 kilograms) from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 211 km/h (131 mph). The BMW 2002 turbo was therefore one of the fastest-moving sights on German roads at the time.
And it wasn't afraid to shout about it. A large front spoiler, bolted-on plastic wing extensions and a spoiler lip on the boot lid signalled the impressive dynamic potential of the BMW 2002 turbo without the need for a second glance. The interior likewise upped its game to reflect the requirements of keen drivers. Sports seats offered maximum lateral support through quickly taken corners, the grippy leather steering wheel enabled silky-smooth car control and there was a gauge above the centre console to keep the driver up to speed on charge pressure.
With its cutting-edge suspension featuring a MacPherson front axle, a semitrailing arm rear axle, anti-roll bars front and rear and inner-vented front disc brakes, the BMW 2002 turbo led the way in the 1970s in terms of driving dynamics.
A total of 1,672 units of the BMW 2002 turbo were built between October 1973 and June 1975.