2021 marks the 50th anniversary of one of BMW’s greatest hits from the early '70s. The 2002 Turbo might have been the pinnacle of the 2002 range, but the tii was also fun and, of course, significantly more affordable.
By: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
It replaced the 2002 ti
Logically (unlike today!) the 2002 tii replaced the 2002 ti. The 2002 ti’s twin-carburettor system was dropped in favour of the new Kugelfischer injection system. The results were 96 kW, a 0-97 km/h time of around 9 seconds and a top speed of 190kph. However, two other important benefits of the new models were the improved fuel consumption and also the fact that the injection system eradicated the need to tune the twin-carb system of the old 2002 ti. Maximum torque of 181 Nm now arrived at 4 500rpm instead of at the previous 3 000.
Minor updates were made to the engine
After the 2002 tii had been on the market for around 12 months, BMW started making some updates to the engine. Why? Well, partly because the Type 121 engine suffered from some starting difficulties. A new cylinder head and pistons were used and the injector pump was modified. The engine was now referred to as the Type E12.
Alpina made some noteworthy performance parts
At the time, well-respected German automotive company Alpina was heavily involved in the tuning and racing of BMWs, including the 2002. Some of the highlight aftermarket parts the company sold included a dry sump oil pump, Bilstein racing dampers for the front and rear, front spoiler, full harness seat belts, high-compression forged lightweight pistons, high-pressure oil-cooler and pump, lightweight flywheel, racing exhaust system, twin-plate clutch and wheelarch extensions. Equipped with all of the above, the 2002 tii looked and "felt" notably sportier.
… and the performance improved
Alpina offered several levels of tune for the 2002’s engines. It ranged from 112kW at 6 600rpm to 125kW at 5 700rpm. In some cases, the engines' internals were changed, as well as the ignition timing and exhaust valve sizes. German automotive magazine Auto Motor & Sport tested a 119 kW Alpina 2002 and recorded a top speed of 208kph.
Right-hand-drive models are rare
The four-door 2002 tii model was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1969 as well as a 2002 tii prototype. In total 38 703 were made, however, of these only 3 680 were right-hand drive variants. Starting in September 1973, the 2002 tii received further updates. It now featured rectangular headlights, newly designed wheels and the interior received some improvements. The 2002 tii was also available in the Touring body. This meant the cabin was roomier and the car had a more hatchback-styled rear end compared to the 2-door coupé version. Even fewer of these were sold, only 5 783. Production of the 2002 tii ended in October 1975.
It was capable on track… and Schnitzer made some quick versions
The 2002 often proved its capability on the race and rally tracks of Europe. Here Alpina and Schnitzer played big roles. One of the cars that really stood out appeared in 1976. That model's 2.0-litre engine was still naturally aspirated, but developed 218 kW in a body that weighed only 854 kg. The 0-100kph acceleration time was now just over 5 seconds (!) and the 0-200kph time was 17.5 seconds. This race car is said to have cost DM 70 000.
*Check back soon when we take arguably the best 2002tii in South Africa for mountain drive.
Model: BMW 2002 tii
Engine: 4-cylinder, naturally aspirated
Power: 95.6kW @ 5 800rpm
Torque: 181N.m @ 4 500rpm
0-100kph: 9.4 seconds
Valve system: SOHC
Fuel system: Kugelfischer mechanical injection
Transmission: 4- or 5-speed manual
Front suspension: MacPherson struts, coil springs
Rear suspension: Semi-trailing arms, coil springs
Wheels/tyres: 13x5J/165 HR-13
Kerb weight: 1 010 kg
Maximum speed: 190kph
Price in 1971: DM 12 765
Price in 1975: DM 16 980