This wonderfully politically incorrect decoration was just what the worried world didn't need when the 2002 Turbo was launched, just after the 1973 energy crisis, and BMW quickly deleted the script. The next couple of years of petrol parsimony, speed limits and disapproval of motoring enjoyment scuppered the Turbo's sales chances, so just 1660 examples were made between January 1974 and summer 1975, all with left-hand drive. Too bad: if BMW had been able to make more, there would be more to go round today and the world would be a richer place.
BMW's British importer has one, though, and it is in this car that I drove to the Goodwood Members' Meeting just past. I was very excited by this, not least because I owned a regular 1973 2002 back in the 1980s (with a shocking oil-burning habit) and I've always wanted to try the fully steroidal version.
Do not be fooled by the S registration, probably applied when this Turbo first came to the UK as a lightly used car. It's a 1975 example, recently restored and in rude health. The 2002 Turbo represents two major firsts in motoring history: it was the BMW motor sport division's first majorly performance-enhanced production road car, predating the M-cars, and it was the first European turbocharged production car, predating the Porsche 911 Turbo and, by several years, the Saab 99 Turbo.
It looks brilliantly, unashamedly functional with the front and rear spoilers and the bolted-on wheel arch blisters, covering – with generous clearance – fat little tyres by the standards of the time, mounted on lovely Mahle aluminium wheels. Inside, we find deep bolstering on seats as black and vinyl-covered as the open-plan dashboard and the door trims with their latch-handles that you squeeze with your hand clasping the door-pull.
Each of the three dials has a vertical and a horizontal line, giving the impression of a gunsight's crosshairs. The dials are set in a surround originally red, rather than the standard car's wood, but now faded to brownness. The steering wheel has a grippy leather rim, the pedals sprout from the floor like an old 911's or Alfa Giulia's. My 2002 had 'normal' pedals, so these are unexpected.