Although BMW’s entire model lineup is now dominated by turbocharged engines, the concept was rather novel in the early 1970s. That’s when BMW shocked the world by introducing the 2002 Turbo, beating Porsche’s 911 Carrera Turbo (930) to the punch by a solid two years.
Due in no small part to the contemporary fuel crisis, 2002 Turbos are exceedingly rare, with just 1,672 produced. Given BMW’s stuffy corporate culture around that time, it’s amazing that any were actually built at all.
The standard BMW 2002 has a somewhat cute, unassuming look to it. Not the 2002 Turbo. Aside from its explosive (for the time) performance, the 2002 Turbo let onlookers know that it was no ordinary BMW.
The aggressive fender flares, spoilers, and striping transformed the mild-mannered 2002 into a tough-looking race car for the street. This thing looks tough.
Legend has it that the ever-conservative German automotive press took umbrage to the inverted “2002 turbo” script on the front air dam. That script, designed to let lesser cars know what was bearing down on them in their rearview mirror, might as well have said “REVO EVOM.” Or, I suppose, its German translation.
It’s got the hardware to back it up that bravado, too. Even with just eight PSI of boost, the 2002 Turbo was good for around 170 horsepower—a solid 40-horsepower bump over the spritely, fuel-injected 2002tii.
2002 Turbos are rare everywhere, but that’s especially true here in the United States, where it was never officially sold when new. Imagine my shock upon seeing this one listed for sale on Hemmings in Houston, Texas, of all places. Having spent most of its life with loving, long-term owners in Germany, it found its home on the range after undergoing an extensive restoration.
Of course, at $154,500, there are a lot of newer, faster, and cheaper BMWs you could buy for the same money. However, few have the presence—or the history and rarity—of the mighty 2002 Turbo.—Cam VanDerHorst
[Photos via Driver Source.]