BMW 2002 Turbo vs M240i: was the former better?

BMW 2002 Turbo vs M240i: was the former better?

Two doors, a protruding trunk, hypertrophied wings, a turbo engine, or all the ingredients of BMW Motorsport without receiving a stamp: 50 years apart, the 2002 Turbo and the new M240i Coupé share more than meets the eye. Meet on the rain cycle.

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BMW 2002 Turbo on the left, BMW M240i on the right: do you prefer old or modern?

Adrian Cortesi

Fed up with standards, fed up with taxes, let down by the rise of electric models, car enthusiasts in 2022 often complain about being born late. It would be to forget that in 1973, his grandfather was saying the same thing: the oil crisis, the near speed limits and the awareness of ecological and security issues were going to threaten – for a while – the rise of power. It is right in this context that will come BMW 2002 Turbo in 1973, the logical continuation of the popular 2002 Ti (120 hp with carburettor) and 2002 Tii (130 hp with mechanical injection). Conceived shortly before these events, his technical paper suspected nothing…

A 2.0 four-cylinder engine? Implantation of a KKK turbo blowing at 0.55 bar (high pressure tested on the weak “TIK” competition of 2002 did not encourage to go higher), increasing power from 130 to 170 hp and torque, from 180 to 241 Nm. A box? It is available in four or five speeds as an option, and is automatically coupled to a 40% balanced self-locking differential. chassis? It’s mounted in front axle alignment, and rests on four adjustable Bilstein shock absorbers “tested on the north loop of the Nürburgring” according to a sticker affixed to their tubes. All that remained was to widen the tracks and tires (in 185/70 R13!), and give the 2002 Turbo a body kit worthy of the name.

Gone are the straight sides and narrow body (only 1.62 m wide!) of the 2002 Ti and Tii. Turbo puts spacers around the wheel arches, lengthens and softens its front bumper, and ends its trunk with a very flexible kitsch spoiler, which you will not tire of sticking your index finger like a child in dough. The three-line stickers will do the rest and, despite the lack of a direct relationship with BMW Motorsport (the M1 will be released in 1978), it will write its own story: under the grille, a large 2002 Turbo sticker was written down, history. to warn (straight in his mirror) the squatter in the left lane that it was time to clear. Decorations quickly removed to prevent irritation… for nothing: the 2002 Turbo’s sulfur reputation was sealed and, in just two years of sale, only 1,672 units would be sold. 2.5 times less than forecast, and 33 times less than 2002 ti and tii together.

That aggressiveness, the descendant M240i Coupé has a lot. When the series is coordinated, this ambitious beast leaves a new generation of surprises: muscular fenders, a rear-mounted cabin, a long bonnet, and since the era is shown, scarred eyes and trapezoidal exhausts. But it’s not all show because the M240i receives the 3.0 turbo six-cylinder 374 hp of the big sister BMW M440i, without a light mixture and is more connected to the xDrive all-wheel drive. If our test 2 Series Coupé had four-wheel drive (and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, fitted in both modes), they were far from boring, as discovered on the La Ferté-Gaucher de -soaked circuit .

Driving the M240i xDrive

The weather has been fine for two months, but the rain comes on the day we test drive the very rare 2002 turbo, listing the house price and famous for its brutal behavior at the limits of holding. Breaking with the usual chronology, our test therefore begins at the wheel of a modern Béhème: all-wheel drive, tested rear differentials and a myriad of driving aids will all be displayed to realize the Ferté-Gaucher circuit, especially slippery in these wet conditions (review our Caterham 170R test).

Calm in Normal mode, the M240i is self-explanatory in Sport mode and unusually active in Sport Plus mode, which delays the intervention of the ESP anti-skid system and activates its controlled rear differential. Then it’s enough to caress the accelerator in the middle of the curve to feel the backslide clearly, then put the wheels straight to round the curve like the Andros trophy example. What a leg! It should be said that the six-cylinder turbo does not lack torque, whose curve looks more like a straight line: 500 Nm is available from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm before the maximum power takes up to 6,500 rpm / min.

Despite the balance of speed, the feeling is raining (this has nothing to do with cloudbursts) thanks to the clear impulse in the kidneys, the pleasant sound (acknowledged by the speakers) in the ears and the auto reactive box that, in it. Sport Plus mode, causes vibrations behind the ears when revving up. A fake but interesting charactera time when time and cool efficiency often take precedence over fun.

Driving a 2002 Turbo

Moving from an M240i to a 2002 Turbo makes you think of stepping off a flying saucer. The futuristic and compact interior of the BMW 2 Series Coupé gives way to delicate furniture complemented by large illuminated surfaces, which provide a better sense of space despite the 22 cm increased width. Firm enough seats don’t sink down like the M240i’s power and heated seats, though We appreciate the care that has already been given to the driving position: more enveloping seats than those of the 2002 Tii, the steering wheel is positioned but higher and closer to the body, the counters are clearly readable and balanced in red tin… which turned out to be chestnut on our 2002 test. The only sign of aging in this cabin looks half as old as it really is.

The pressure on the clutch closes, shifting from first gear to the bottom left (ah, that mythical inverted grid…), and the 2002 Turbo rushes into a small, unresearched detour: promising! We slowly start to fire up the engines (and the believed to be fragile turbo), manage the gearbox controls (a little hesitant) and get used to the brake pedal (a little spongy). After a few laps, we finally gather our courage with both feet to press the accelerator to the floor. So? There is nothing. There is nothing?! Let’s say dead calm: from idle to more than 4,000 rpm, the younger sister 2002 Tii, confirmed on the Tour Auto 2021, seemed more lively and one wonders if the turbo is not already stuck, a warm look at its pressure gauge with white, green, then orange area.

False alarm: at 4,500 rpm all in the battery, the vibrating needle ends up flying in the middle zone, confirming that the turbo is finally giving its maximum, but to be honest, we had seen it. At a light whistle, acceleration picks up suddenly and then increases further as the revs approach 6,500 rpm. upshift, the tachometer needle moves back to 4,500 rpm and the small whirlwind starts again., which is difficult to change with a short response time. Here is the guide! We hesitate to repeat ad infinitum, out of pity for this fifty-year-old sportsman… who nevertheless seems to be asking for more.

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Scabrous in turn, BMW 2002 Turbo? It’s not as it seems…

Adrian Cortesi

So it is led by the whip that the 2002 Turbo marks all its differences from the 2002 Tii, and that opinion applies to all parts of the game: the suspension is strong at low speeds but wipes everything in its path immediately under stress, heavy driving but correct. and straight into bends, turn the rear axle if the driver is not too focused but fully cooperative once provoked. The 2002 Turbo then shows surprising efficiency for its age, and proves how much it should have dominated its rivals fifty years ago. In wet circuits, of course, you should avoid reaching the famous 4,500 rpm if you do not fully know the art of coping, but on our test field, the most difficult BMW of the master can be what you think.

The 2 Series Coupé simple, really?

With its tires sliding at low speeds, its weight reduced and its power steering that accurately communicates the level of grip, the driver of the 2002 Turbo ends up knowing exactly when (and how) it will lose grip. It is not very noticeable in the modern M240i, whose torque falls from idle, whose steering wheel remains sharp and whose torque distribution depends on many parameters (steering wheel and yaw angle, pressure on the accelerator, selected driving mode …) that he rarely acts. the same way twice. When the M240i was launched, its 1,690 kg was announced empty to finally attract the outside while the 2002 Turbo stays well on the ropes, helped by its low curb weight of 610kg. (!) and its smallest appearance. Like that…

The way back to the bumpy department confirms this trend, with the 2002 Turbo flying over the bumps (well-tuned Bilstein shocks, very high sidewall tires) while the M240i’s heels more, crippled by its weight and its very low and hard tires. . The apparent subtlety dissolves in everyday use where the smoothness of the controls, effective sound deadening and 100% irresponsibility for braking sensitivity, acceleration and cornering make the M240i Coupé safer, more comfortable and more comfortable. A matter of taste. And the budget too…

Match report BMW M240i vs 2002 Turbo

At a time when everything is placed on a comfortable car, the presence of a queen coupe in the BMW range seems like a godsend … as scary as it was at the time of our report. Lovely, efficient, fun (even with all-wheel drive, especially in the rain!), the M240i Coupé remains a worthy successor to the unfairly shunned 2002 Turbo, whose full potential is revealed once it’s whipped. Its reduction in second-hand events unfortunately reaches its level of more than €100,000, more than the price of a new one for its generation in 2022. The BMW M240i Coupé xDrive can be purchased from €61,550 (before the minimum €9,550 malus ), or even €59,150 (including €6,400 ecotax) in its latest motivational version, closer to the spirit of the 2002 Turbo. We start again under the sun to see?

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Dimensions BMW 2002 Turbo vs Serie 2 coupe

1 cm shorter than the 2002, Series 2 Coupé is also 22 cm wider and 33 cm longer…

Adrian Cortesi

Comparison data sheets

BMW 2002 Turbo

BMW M240i xDrive



4.22 m

4.55 m


1.62 m

1.84 m


1.41 m

1.40 m


450 liters

390 liters



52 liters



4 cylinder turbo

Turbo 6-cylinder


1991 cm3

2998 cm3

Power (hp per rpm)

170 to 5,800

374 to 5,500 to 6,500

Torque (Nm per rpm)

241 to 4,000

500 from 1,900 to 5,000


For rear wheels



Meca gear 5 (optional)

8-speed automatic

Standard tires

185/70 R13

225/40 R19 front
255/35 R19 rear





0 to 100 km/h


Sec 4.3

High speed

210 km/h

250 km/h (less)

We express our sincere thanks to the management of the La Ferté-Gaucher circuit (77) for their hospitality during our comparative experiment. A 3,600-meter asphalt track that combines technical sequences and fast curves will delight fans of the genre, who will be able to have fun and continue the days of driving and motorcycling. Find the calendar, prices and all the information on

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