The 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo, and the same model of subsequent years, were excellent, aggressive cars that were destined for something big. Unfortunately, events conspired against them, aided and abetted by short-sighted executive management. These things happen all too often, I’m beginning to realize. 1973 was a year of turmoil in the automotive industry, thanks to OPEC, and it took years for car manufacturers to get over that trauma. Because of that, the boxy little car from BMW, with its fat tires, flaring fenders and racing stripes was seen as ‘inappropriate’, which explains why it was cancelled in 1975, after selling 1,674 examples.
The 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo came standard with a small four-cylinder engine, with a 2-liter displacement that pushed out an excellent 170 horsepower, thanks to a brutal turbo. Unlike later turbos, early models did not benefit from gradual boost; the onset of boost on the 2002 could be absolutely brutal, making it both very touchy and twitchy, and an immediate cult classic.
The 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo could have been even more awesome, if it had had the chance to come into its own, but alas, it was not to be.