Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: BMW 1602 – And There Was Also An 1802 And 1502

Here in the US, when we see this iconic shape, we naturally think “2002”. Well, that was by far the most popular version of the 02 Series, especially in the US. But the 02 was available with no less than six different engines, of which only half made it to the states.

The original was the 1600-02, badged just “1600”, and it was the only one when it arrived in 1966. In 1971, it was rebadged “1602”, for clarity, like this one shot by Benoît, but by that time the 1600 was no longer available in the US, where the 2002, which arrived in 1968, reigned supreme until the hotter fuel injected 2002tii arrived in 1971 as a more expensive alternative.

But in Europe, there was also an 1802 and 1502, as well as the legendary 2002 Turbo.

This 1602 is from 1973 or later, when it received a bit of a restyle that included the rectangular tail lights and blackout grille. Curiously, these changes only arrived in MY 1974 in the US, along with the unfortunate 5-mile bumpers.

The 1600 was rated at 85 DIN PS, 96 gross SAE hp. It was pretty zippy for its time and low price; R&T tested one (links at bottom) and got a 0-60 time of 11.6 seconds, which actually was just about exactly as quick as the desmogged 2002 they tested a year or so later.

There was also a 1600ti, which arrived for MY 1968, but only in Europe, as its high-performance engine was not suitable to be desmogged readily. It was rated at 105 PS, or 104 hp, presumably net, a considerable increase over the 1600. The 1600ti was replaced in 1968 by the 2002, and as such was the rarest of the engine variants, with just 8,670 built, except for the Turbo of course, of which only 1,672 units were built.

Update: There was also a 2002ti (not available in the US), rated at 120 PS.

The 1802, which was rated at 90 PS (about 89 net hp) arrived in 1971 and sold in reasonable numbers (83,351). It seems a small step up from the 1602, but such was the way of the European market, similar to what the American one had been in its heyday, when cars like a Chevy were available with 6, 7, or more different engines, often in modest hp increments.

In response to the energy crisis and resulting recession, BMW like almost all European manufacturers offered “downsized” versions, with smaller engines and lower prices. The 1502, with 75 PS (74 net hp) arrived in 1975, but its number badge was deceiving (the first one from BMW?) as its engine had the same 1573cc capacity as the 1602, but it had a lower compression ratio, allowing it to run on European regular fuel.  72,632 of them were built.

Related reading:
Vintage R&T Road Test: 1967 BMW 1600 and 2000 Tilux – A Brilliant New Smaller BMW And An Excellent Older One

Vintage R&T Road Test: 1968 BMW 2002 – “But Where Did The Extra Horsepower Go?”

Vintage Review: 1968 BMW 2002 – Car and Driver’s David E. Davis Picks Favorites

Curbside Classic: 1975 BMW 2002 – Freshly Squeezed

Curbside Classic: 1972 BMW 2002 Tii – Fifty Years Of Unbeatable Success