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Force Fed: 1975 BMW 2002 Turbo


If you are into ’02s then you have probably lusted after one of these on occasion. It is a 1975 BMW 2002 Turbo and it’s a rare sight here in the States because they were never officially imported. Unfortunately this one is not yet on our shores, but the seller seems confident that someone here will want it. The car is currently in Italy and is listed for sale here in eBay with bidding starting at $44k.


The 2002 Turbo was built to go racing. BMW started with their 2002 Tii and then added fender flairs, bucket seats, and a big turbo. 170 horses and 178 ft-lbs of torque may not sound like much today, but in this little sports sedan it was enough to make things down right wild. The fact that the engine suffered from major turbo lag just made matters worse.


Inside the bolstered seats, red gauge surround, auxiliary gauges, and five speed transmission hint at what this car is capable of. The seller does not mention if it has been restored at some point, but from the looks of it we think it is safe to say that it’s original. They do peg the mileage at 42k kilometers which is only about 26k miles.


The early cars had stickers on that front valance which read “2002 TURBO” in reverse so terrified motorists could know what they were about to be passed by when it appeared in their rear view mirror. Little did they know that the navigator was the frightened one down the road when things got twisty. They had great handling, as all 2002s did, but you did not want to have that turbo kick in mid corner, as you might find yourself in the guard rail.


It is true that it would be easier to import this car because of its age, but we would still proceed with caution here. An independent inspection would be a must and plenty of verified documentation would need to be provided before exchanging any money. Still, it could be fun to own one of the most coveted and exciting BMWs ever built…


  1. Blindmarc

    2002 for me are the best of the older beemers. I rode in a soaped up 2002 about 25 years ago and was sold on them.

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  2. russell

    A special car. I wanted one of these at one time but were not available. I bought a 1976 Jade Green 2002. Now Iam content to play with my old mostly stock 95 BMW 525i. Well perhaps a 2003 BMW 530i or a 540i sport might attract me. :)

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  3. Dolphin Member

    The 2002 Turbo is at the top of the 2002 desirability scale, but these struggle to make $20K in today’s market, so this car is wildly overpriced. But with a bid at the opening level of $44K there is obviously someone who disagrees with that. The poor cellphone photos, the hard sell, and the almost complete lack of information makes it all the more remarkable that the car has attracted a bid. These are fairly easily cloned from regular 2002s, making it crucial to have ther VIN to confirm that the car is a genuine Turbo, but the VIN is not given. Perhaps the bidder is in Italy or a nearby country, but I can’t see the car selling to someone in the US without a detailed PPI, and that might be unlikely.

    FWIW, the mirror image 2002 Turbo script that should be on the air dam (which would read correctly when seen in your rear view morror) is missing. A minor point, but not for a car priced at twice market.

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    • Jesse

      $40k is high for this car, but $20k for it would seem like a bargain when compared to an early 911 turbo. BMW did away with the backwards “2002 turbo” stickers at some point in production so I think these could still be the original graphics. I’m sure someone in Europe will pick this up, but the seller sure seems convinced that an enthusiast in the States would fall for it. We will see.

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      • Dolphin Member

        I agree with Jesse about the relative values for early 911s (high) vs. early BMWs (low).

        I think that Porsche played their cards exactly right and fixed the….ahh….questionable handling of the early 911, responded to their fans who wanted the 911 to stay and the upmarket GT (i.e., 928) to go, proved their staying power in racing over the decades, and now they have the longest-lived and most recognizable sportscar in history, which is still selling for big $$$, with no end in sight..

        BMW has slowly and steadily built their brand by surviving bankruptcy, microcars, and competition from other sports and luxury brands to be the last major independant carmaker, as well as the best selling luxury car brand on the planet, an amazing accomplishment for a company that almost went under and remains relatively small and independant to this day. And as an M3 owner I can’t resist throwing in my view that a factor in this has been the fact that the M3 sedan is often able to beat out-and-out sportscars that have much better aerodynamics in direct competition.

        So both brands are raging successes, altho they produce very different cars (except for their similar SAV/SUVs, which are not really cars at all).

        The 2002 Turbo was the most exotic of the 2002s, and most of the rest of the BMWs since have been luxury sedans, and these are always going to lose out to true sportscars in terms of desirability and the relative prices that buyers are willing to pay. That’s why I think the rare 2002 Turbo brings half of what a non-rare early 911 brings, even when the 2002 Turbo is in better condition than the early 911.

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      • Jesse

        Well said.

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  4. Horse Radish

    2002 turbo, quite a rare car and as goes for BMW ‘newtimers’ not necessarily a vintage car, but somewhat more desirable.

    Not everyone’s taste, but certainly has it’s place in BMW history.
    My feeling is kind of luke warm on these, i think i’d rather like a really sharp 2002 Ti / Tii or even a touring or an authentic 1600(-02) convertible over this model and this price range.

    On this particular car I would definitely want to see some underside shots, as this could be a European car from not too far up north…

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    • Jesse

      You’re not the only one who didn’t get excited about this one. This is a very special car, but I’m afraid most people don’t know why. It was the first petrol turbo production car in Europe for goodness sake! Yet I have to agree, I would rather have a nice tii for driving purposes. This would look good in the garage though.

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      • paul

        10 years after my turbo Corvair.

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      • Horse Radish

        Now that you mention it…:
        some thirty years ago I heard or read in tests that the turbo was ill designed and needed replacement quite often. As I said it was some decades ago, my memory is faint and I was not that much into these cars then, but it put that seed in my mind to not want that car……

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      • paul

        As with any new technology it had a bug, you were supposed to let the car idle for 2 minutes before shut down to allow for cooler oil to circulate thru the turbo, these turbo’s didn’t have intercoolers yet, or fuel injection, turbo’s were in there infancy in 62/ 63.

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      • Horse Radish

        Corvair ? in 62/63
        BMW 2002 turbo72/73 ?/
        One way to put it, but it made the rounds, those bugs should have been fixed before putting it in series, which it never did long enough…

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      • paul

        I just read a very poor report of the Tesla S for 100 g you would think all the bugs were worked out. & I no some folks with expensive & new Audi’s that seem to have a load of problems for 70 G+ cars.

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  5. paul

    High #, but when these came out, I truly wanted one , I really like the euro bumpers & the lack of side markers.

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  6. paul

    Also forgot to mention what great driving cars these were, nimble, light weight, simple, how far BMW has gone away from this.

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  7. Chris H.

    I lust after this, but for the money, I’d rather modify a more pedestrian 2002 and not worry about some soccer mom dinging the doors when I run in to grab groceries. $44K will buy a ton of performance if planned properly. Still, within a few years the asking price on this won’t seem too far off the mark.

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  8. Jeff

    Pretty neat collectable for the 2002 fan who already has the Ti/Tii and deep pockets. I bought the first year re-design 77′ 320i when I was young back when they used the 2L engine. The car was amazing, handled great when side-swiped by a semi in Dallas, spun out into the shoulder. Long story but it drove back to WI. with no problem. i swear by BMW’s.

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