The BMW 02 series is, to many fans of brand, one of the most iconic and important models of the Bavarian car maker’s history. It is commonly regarded as the direct ancestor of today’s 3 Series and its design philosophy is said to still influence the make-up of modern BMWs namely its balanced rear-wheel drive chassis and lightweight construction.
The 02 series turns 50 this year, and the most recognizable members of the range are the 2002 models, of which the most desirable variant today is the 2002 turbo. BMW had steadfastly followed the naturally-aspirated route until 2006 after that, but the 2002 turbo was noteworthy for being the first European series-production car to be powered by a turbocharged engine.
Celebrating the notable milestone of one of its most famous models, BMW has turned up at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este with the BMW 2002 Hommage, essentially a modern day BMW M2 reskinned to pay tribute to the legendary 2002 turbo.
“Exactly 50 years ago, the 02 range kick-started an era of success for BMW. This compact coupe is one of the vehicles which made the brand what it is today,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.
From the front, the 2002 Hommage recalls a long-lost BMW styling cue, the iconic shark nose that adorned not only the 02 series, but also many other iconic models of the brand from the 1960s to 1980s era.
The 2002 Hommage sports two single headlights, recalling not only the 02 series, but also the E21 3 Series that followed. Looking closer, the headlights are borderered by gold reflectors, pointing to the golden 50th anniversary of the 02 series.
A styling touch that pays homage to the 2002 turbo specifically is the word “turbo” emblazoned on the front apron in ambulance-style mirrored fonts. It recalls the mirrored “2002” and “turbo” decals applied to either side of the 2002 turbo’s front bumpers that is supposed to let drivers in front to see what’s coming from the back on their rear view mirrors. The actual production cars never had this styling touch, however. It was only applied on pre-production cars that were photographed for BMW’s official promotional materials for the model.
The signature chrome strip that surrounded the 02’s body like a belt is re-interpreted in the 2002 Hommage as a wraparound carbon band. The corner-mounted front indicator lamps that sit on the 02’s chrome strip is similarly revived in the Hommage vehicle.
Finally, the BMW roundel at the rear of the Hommage sits not at along the centreline like modern BMW’s, but to the right of the number plate just like in the original 02 models.
In line with BMW’s ongoing centennial celebrations, the 2002 Hommage appears at the Concorso by the full line-up of Hommage vehicles unveiled by the BMW Group in recent years. They include the M1 Hommage (2008), 3.0 CSL Hommage (2015), Motorrad Concept Ninety (2013), 328 Hommage (2011), Concept Coupe Milla Miglia (2006), and MINI ACV 30 (1997).
Meanwhile, if you're on the look out for an actual BMW 2002, here's a listing that might interest you.....