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Launched in 1966 as an integral part of BMW's innovative 02 Series, the BMW 1600-2 - subsequently renamed the 1602 - acted as a pivotal moment for the German car manufacturer, providing a more accessible and agile counterpoint to its upscale New Class Sedans. Designed under the aegis of Wilhelm Hofmeister, BMW's then design director, and fine-tuned by the capable hands of designers Georg Bertram and Manfred Rennen, the 1602 was engineered with a focus on sportiness and maneuverability. It achieved this through a shortened wheelbase and a compact overall length, which allowed the car to navigate tight turns with ease. Its 1.6L M10 engine generated an admirable 85 PS, equivalent to about 83.8 horsepower, skillfully balancing strong performance with cost-effectiveness, thereby appealing to a broad range of drivers. Expanding beyond its foundational two-door sedan form, the 1602 proved its versatility by spawning multiple body styles, such as a stylish convertible fabricated by Karosserie Baur and a hatchback iteration branded as the Touring model. Though the 02 Series eventually made way for the E21 3 Series in 1975, the 1602's impact persisted, partly due to the electric "1602 Elektro" variant developed as a special showcase for the 1972 Munich Olympics. This electric iteration underscored the model's role as a foundational influence in BMW's expansive and storied automotive history.
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