The BMW 2002 Tii Alpina A4S is one of the rarest and quickest iterations of the venerable 2002. The 2002 itself is now regarded by many marque historians to be the single most important model ever made by BMW, and it’s still undeniably a strong influence on the genetic make up of every sporting Beemer built since.

The reason for the success of the 2002 is relatively simple. It’s a small, lightweight car with a relatively powerful engine – coupled to excellent suspension, great steering, and iconic design. Perhaps the single most important feature is that the BMW 2002 is a sports car, with room for 5 adults, and some luggage. It fills that almost mythical space between a sports car and a daily driver that many automakers try to make, but usually miss by varying degrees.

The short version of how the 2002 came into being goes like this – BMW already had the 1.6 litre 1602 in their line up. They also had a more powerful 2 litre in production called the M10. The idea of dropping the more powerful engine into the 1602 occurred to at least two people at roughly the same time – Helmut Werner Bönsch and Alex von Falkenhausen, respectively the BMW director of product planning and the designer of the M10 engine.

Amazingly, Bönsch and Falkenhausen both independently had the M10 engine installed into their 1602s with no idea what the other man was up to.

One day they happened to be getting their cars serviced and realised they’d made the same modification – and Bönsch knew that influential American auto importer Max Hoffman had been requesting a faster 1602 for the US market. Bönsch and Falkenhausen quickly formulated a product proposal, and it was approved by the BMW board unanimously.

Over its production run from  January 1968 to June 1975, BMW sold almost 200,000 2002s. And today they’re revered by collectors and racers alike.

The two quickest iterations of the 2002 were the official 2002 Turbo built by BMW and released in 1973, and the Alpina A4S. The Alpina didn’t use forced induction, and still managed to outperform the official 2002 Turbo – 170bhp vs 195bhp.

Alpina is a Bavarian tuning company that focusses exclusively on BMW vehicles, and in the late 1960s they released their first performance kit for the then-new 2002. Over the course of the 2002 production run there were 3 major Alpina tuning kits offered: the Alpina A1, the Alpina A2 (and A2S), and finally the A4 (and A4S).

Exactly how many Alpina kits were fitted isn’t known, and how many have survived to the modern day is similarly hazy. So whenever one comes up for sale there is significant interest from around the world, and you can expect the phone bidding to be fast and determined. RM Sotheby’s will be auctioning the car on the 8th of February with an estimated hammer price of between €65,000 and €85,000 – although it could creep into the 90s without too much difficulty. Click here if you’d like to read more about this Alpina 2002, or register to bid.

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Photo Credits: Tom Gidden ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s