Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
8/24/09 10:30 a.m.

Imagine a time when the name BMW meant nothing to the average American. Anyone who had heard of the company was probably a motorcyclist. Image-conscious Yuppies were nonexistent, and sporting imported sedans were practically unavailable. Then, in the late 1960s, one car changed all that. It was cal…

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12/10/10 10:56 a.m.

Interestingly enough, this article mentioned the introduction of the 02 'touring' hatchback version for Europe in 1971, a model hardly known to many BMW enthusiasts across North America. Yet, I do understand that some of these practical little hatchbacks did make it across the pond being privately imported at some stage, and are often present at classic BMW meets in the U.S.. My personal experience after having purchased one of the about 180 1802 tourings still on the road in Germany: an unmatched combination of 02-style fun on any road across the Alps, and the practicality of folding down the rear seats to comfortably take your road bike along on that spontaneous get away to Northern Italy. - A true rival to the 1st. gen. Golf GTi from BMW, although just a few years ahead of the pace and hot-hatch craze to follow in Europe during the mid 1970s.

Want a later updated and upgraded version of the practical little fun-machine from Munich? Classic Motorsports author is correct in his mentioning that BMW did come back with another hatchback during the 1990s: the third-generation "E36" model 3-series 318 ti and - the truly desirable - 323 ti. Still based on the E30 plattform offering crisp handling manners, the two-door hatchback truly brings back old 2002 memories - or a touch of 02 touring history for that matter, and due to its added fold-down-rear-seat-practicality again - especially if equipped with the smooth and quiet yet responsive "M50" 2.5 l inline six and M-tech suspension package. A still underrated upcoming classic which should be picked up right now.

Combine both, and add BMW's latest best-seller-in-Europe 1-series two-door hatch back model, and you have the perfect line of "Bavarian Hot Hatch History".

Wolfhard Geile, Munich and Ottawa.

TR8owner HalfDork
3/18/11 2:34 p.m.

The 2002 was the "real" BMW IMHO. They made other good cars afterwards, but the 2002 was what originally defined the company.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
7/15/19 11:28 a.m.

Updated with bigger photos and current pricing. These have absolutely skyrocketed in value. 

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