BMW 2002 vs BMW 1600: What’s The Difference?

With the introduction of BMW’s new class line in 1962, the game began to change for BMW for good.  An important member of this line, the BMW 1600 appeared before 2002, as it took over BMW 1500 in 1964. Then in 1968, came the BMW 2002. 

Some core differences between the 2002 and 1600 involve their engine’s size, weight, and speed. However, both cars were absolute game-changers back in their times. 

Now, if you’ve always wanted a vintage car, you may be eager to know more about the two models because of their unmatched popularity. I’m going to list the primary differences between the two models below so you can get a better idea.

BMW 2002 vs 1600: Comparison Table 

While both models have an aesthetic appearance, some differences distinguish them from each other. Please check the comparison table below that I put together.

FactorsBMW 2002BMW 1600
Engine2.0L 1.6L
Horsepower113 HP83 HP
Weight2380 pounds2010 pounds
ClutchHydraulic (except some early 2002s)Mechanical
Sway barsFront and rear sway bars were includedNo rear sway bars (earlier models)
Differential3.64 diff4.10 diff
Rear drums230mm200mm (except 1600ti)

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What are the fundamental differences between BMW 2002 and BMW 1600

These differences can vary a lot depending on the years. The exterior of both models also changed a lot over the years. I’m stating the fundamental differences between BMW 2002 and 1600 below.

1- Engine size and power

I can’t talk about the performance difference between these two models without mentioning power. And for that, I must bring up the engine size as it really makes a difference between the two models. 

BMW 1600 came with a 1.6L engine that could produce around 83 HP, while the 2002 model came with a 2.0L engine that could produce around 113 HP. However, with every launch of newer models, 2002 kept improving their power outputs.

2- Weight

Another noteworthy difference between the two models seemed like the weight to me. BMW 2002 weighs at least 200 pounds more than 1600.

I could feel the light handling of the BMW 1600 while cruising on it. The average weight of 1600 is around 2010 pounds, while the maximum weight of the 2002 model can be 2380 pounds.

3- Doors and grills (exterior)

I could tell that there wasn’t much difference between the two models from the outside. Apart from their badges, the thing that caught my eyes was the color of the grills. The 2002 had black bars on the grills while the 1600 had chrome grills. 

And then there’s the other basic difference – BMW 2002 with two doors and BMW 1600 with four doors. The two-door legacy of the 2002 was continued through the improvised three and four series.

4- Seats

As I got inside the cars and drove around, I found out that you could adjust the seats of the 1600 model over a small range. On the other hand, the 2002 seats had recliners which was a plus for me. 

5- Clutches

The 1600s came with mechanical clutches. Although some earlier 2002s came with mechanical clutches as well, the one that I got to drive had a hydraulic clutch. 

Although it occasionally requires modifications, the mechanical clutch has a really pleasant feel to it. The hydraulic clutch on the other hand could self adjust. 

6- Space

The 1600, being a four-door car, was a bit longer and wider than the 2002. The wheelbase was around an inch longer and the dash was deeper. 

I felt comfortable inside the car while driving because of the extra space and a wider interior which also contributed to the car being able to absorb bumps and shocks well.

7- Inclusion of sway bars

The BMW 1600 that I drove didn’t have any rear sway bars which was quite common in the earlier ones that came in between 1966 to 1968. 

They started including the sway bars in 1969. BMW 2002 always came with front and rear sway bars. 

8- Rear drums (200mm vs 230mm)

All the BMW 1600 cars (except 1600ti) had small 200mm rear drums. The 2002s produced in 1968 also had the small ones, but later they adopted the same 230mm rear drums as the 1600ti.

9- Differential (3.64 diff vs 4.10 diff)

Up until 1968, both 1600 and 2002 came equipped with a longneck differential. But 1600 had the 4.10 longneck diff, and 2002 had the 3.64 longneck diff. However, both models got a short neck diff in 1970.

BMW 2002 or BMW 1600: which one should you choose?

I enjoyed driving both BMW 2002 and 1600 as each car had many things to offer. 

Although it didn’t seem like there would be enough space in the BMW 2002 compared to 1600, I was pretty amazed at the ample amount of room inside that ‘tiny box’ like car. The car could run really fast thanks to the 113HP 2.0L engine.

At the same time, I can’t deny the beauty of the BMW 1600. The best part about this car is that it feels quite light to drive and very easy to maneuver. Also, the combination of small bumpers, stainless grills, and round tail lights look phenomenal.

However, in terms of speed, the 2002 model is speedier, more powerful, and offers extraordinary handling. Hence, 2002 soared in popularity as soon as it got introduced to the world.

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The BMW 2002 and 1600 are two dream cars that many vintage car lovers would love to own. I will state some commonly asked questions about these two models by their users and enthusiasts.

Are the parts for BMW 1600 readily available?

The 1600s, especially the earlier ones that came in between 1967 to 1969, faced a scarcity of parts. However, things became smoother as newer cars were introduced. Also, you can use most parts of the 2002 model in your 1600.

Can you replace the 1.6L engine of a BMW 1600 with a 2.0L engine?

You can replace the 1.6L motor of the BMW 1600 with a 2.0L. The concept of replacing the engine came from the desire to increase power. Since a 2.0L engine provides 25% more space than a 1.6L engine, it is thought to be able to produce more power.  

Are BMW 2002s rare to find now?

You may not be able to find a new BMW 2002 since the model is already around 50 years old. They came into production in 1968 and continued till 1975. However, you can still get your hands on an old or restored car and touch it up a bit.

What’s so special about having a BMW 1600 or 2002?

The smooth performance, charismatic and vintage appearance and agility are just some of the things that made the BMW 2002 and 1600 so special. Someone who got to experience driving at least one of the two vehicles would know.

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The BMW 2002, and its predecessor, BMW 1600, are two of the most desired and talked-about cars in history. They gained this popularity not only based on their vintage look but also their outstanding performances. 

I tried to state the fundamental differences between the two models. I hope it helps you have a general idea of the differences between the two models and enrich your knowledge if you love to read about vintage cars. 

BMW 2002 and 1600 are unique cars with stunning beauty that also offer excellent driving experiences. Although it has been around 50 years since they were first introduced to the world, they are still holding onto their popularity.

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