Turbocharging of automobiles was just getting under way in 1973 when BMW came out with its somewhat outrageous 2002 Turbo, beating both Porsche and Saab to the punch. The turbo coupe lasted for just the 1974 model year with only 1,672 examples produced.
Considered to be the first turbocharged production car in Europe (U.S. automakers had built a few turbo cars, notably the Corvair Corsa and the short-lived Oldsmobile Jetfire), the 2002 Turbo was based on the fuel-injected 4-cylinder 2002 tii, which was turbocharged for a peak output of 170 horsepower, 40 more than the normally aspirated engine.
The Turbo also was festooned with racy wheel flares and graphics, including reverse lettering under the bumperless grille to “warn” other drivers about what had suddenly appeared in their rear-view mirrors. The boy-racer look was polarizing, although in keeping with BMW’s iconoclastic racing liveries. It definitely makes the 2002 Turbo stand out in a crowd.
The Turbo also raised some eyebrows because of its radical performance. Predating electronic engine management and other advances, there was a major drivability issue; the BMW’s turbo lag was fierce, making for some wildly abrupt power surges as the turbocharger “spooled up.” Extra care and understanding are needed when driving one of these, as with other early turbo cars from Porsche and Saab, to keep it on the road and pointed in the right direction.
The comprehensive restoration of this 2002 Turbo was completed in 2014 by BMW experts, according to the seller, and the car stands ready for concours judging or high-end classic car rallies. Painted in the correct Chamonix White, the car comes with documentation and a BMW Classic Certificate.
The gallery of photos with the ad show a remarkably clean and authentic restoration.
“It’s always great to see original equipment in place where available, such as all BMW etched side and rear glass with defroster, trim components, working Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio with speaker, and fender flairs with factory part decals,” the seller says. “Correct-type steel wheels are like new and beautifully finished and mounted to new 185/70R13 Pirelli CN36 tires, complimenting the period attire and stance.”
The asking price for this rare piece of BMW performance is $154,500, which is in line with the Hagerty Price Guide. Hagerty lists the 2002 Turbo among those collector cars that have had the highest recent value gains, with a 48 percent increase over the past six months or so.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.