Written by Ted Gushue
The first thing I noticed getting into the BMW 2002 Tii was how downright roomy it is. Everything about the car on the outside screams diminutive, but sitting in the front seat and grabbing the wheel I was shocked by how much space I felt around me. One look at the diminutive pumpkin from the outside and you’d have felt a tingling sensation that your bags would have a hard time getting through the door, but engineers somehow cast some sort of magic spell that doubles the predictive size inside.
Your driving stance is, much like the 1600 Cabriolet I’d just driven before this, distinctively German. Posture is paramount, wheel position is non negotiable. You could have balanced books on top of my head as I slid the buttery transmission into first gear.
Now, the first thing I might compare the engine to would have been the original 2.7-litre magnesium-bodied number that you’d find in a compression bumper 911. Before I switched mine out to a 3.2 from an ’88 Carrera I recall the feeling to be almost identical in terms of torque pull, engine noise, and a general desire to make you go quickly—but an almost deflated realization that it couldn’t necessarily do so.
The Tii wants to go fast. It looks fast standing still. It screams, "Chuck me into that corner and see what happens!" but that’s where you start to lose the ability to do so. It just wants to deliver so much, but the 130 horses under the hood make it increasingly difficult to do so.
Somehow though, none of this matters, largely because if you can’t drive a slow car fast, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive a fast car slow.
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