1973 BMW 2002 Turbo - Photo by ZorglubBellevue
Whether you love or are indifferent about the 2002 Turbo, when you’re talking about this car the phrase “turbo lag” is going to come up. In the very early days of turbocharging, the technology was primarily intended for racing, where cars spend a lot of time near the rev limiter and not much time putting about town. Plug that technology into the diminutive 2002, and you have the same issue. Near the top of the engine range, the large turbo provided plenty of boost to the fuel-injected motor, enough to result in a maximum of almost 170 horsepower at 5,800 RPM. For the early 1970s, in a car weighing a shade under 2,400 lbs., this translated into a quickness that’s tough to understand decades later in the midst of a horsepower bonanza. So that’s the 2002 Turbo’s trade-off: lots and lots of power, if you are patient or skilled enough to let the revs climb. Or simply park it and admire the infamous mirror-imaged “2002 Turbo” script on the huge front air dam, bolt-on fender flares, and iconic tri-color striping. Don’t park it too long though, this BMW is most at home on the track.