18/05/2024 12:18 AM


If You Really

Driving the Bavarian Econs BMW 2002 Prototype


“The event and advancement of activities by likelihood in a happy or valuable way.” Serendipity, a single word that rather aptly, describes how it came to be that anyone from Singapore could have just one of his most wonderful automotive experiences at any time, halfway across the environment, with very little to no prior planning by any means.

It all commenced shortly ahead of my flight to the money of Bavaria (for the BMW i7 launch) while scrolling by means of a very little app referred to as Instagram. With #BMW2002 after yet again showcasing a lovingly (albeit a.i.) curated choice of lovely old autos, I arrived across a beautifully crafted 2002 shot in the not much too unfamiliar streets of Munich.

As you’d anticipate, I sent a helpful information asking if I could choose a appear given that I was heading above and by some stroke of serendipitous luck (or magic from the Automotive Gods), all the things immediately fell into location and I observed myself meeting up with the very affable Nicolas Navarro on a lovely Friday morning, a enormous BMW admirer who occurs to also be the CEO of Bavarian Econs Tech Gmbh.

What Bavarian Econs do to resto-mod basic BMW 02s is anything I have often dreamt of and at the similar time, one thing lots of some others would think about pure heresy. They acquire these attractive iconic basic automobiles and transform them into EVs. Cue the pitchforks!

But ahead of we get there, let us consider a step again and hypothesise why some geeks like us adore vintage cars and trucks and can really feel so strongly about them. Some adore the way they appear, some revel in their unfiltered driving experience and the rest, perhaps, recognize their link to heritage or memory in time.

It is for these quite factors why I reckon the love for common autos can be so really particular and why I’m sure a lot of observers would have now built their conclusions the minute I described the forbidden “E” word.

But hear me out, because whilst this could shock (hehe) you, as a fellow 2002 owner, this Bavarian Econs 2002te, even in prototype kind, was a person of the most pleasing vehicles I have at any time pushed.

While this ex-rally spec BMW 2002 may have left the competitive circuit powering, lifestyle in the fast lane for this rough minimal Bimmer is nowhere in the vicinity of abating as it transitions into the Environment of electrification.

Putting on hand-created Alpina-Esque pig cheek flares with more girth even further extra to the rear area, a Kooglewerks air dam, time period-appropriate Michelin semi-slicks wrapping a set of tailor made-manufactured BBS E50s straight from the BBS manufacturing facility and THAT gorgeous livery.

Influenced by the BMW Frank Stella Art Car or truck and the traditional BMW Initial Teile E24 Schnitzer race car or truck with references to its electrified underpinnings and Bavarian icons (location the pretzels, beer and Olympic tower?), it surely far more than looks the section.

But as we all know, appearances can only count for so a great deal when it will come to automobiles and right here is where by points can get rather polarising as the Bavarian Econs 2002 has ditched it petrol burning powertrain for an electrified Tesla heart with lungs (batteries) from a BMW i3 (33 kWh, excellent for 180miles/290km).

When the preliminary strategy called for a motor from the iX to maintain everything within just the Bavarian relatives, the BMW’s electric power unit was, regretably, a pair of centimetres way too tall to properly slide under the 02’s minimal clamshell bonnet.

Even nevertheless the idea of swapping out an inside combustion engine for an electric powered a person could appear simple and fairly simplistic, the overall method of executing so with whole form approval by the rigid German regulators and authorities produced it an in particular involving challenge that spanned years for Nicolas and his workforce.

With each other with engineers from the German Television, this really prototype was subject to hundreds of KMs well worth of extreme tests and hundreds of internet pages value of formal documentation. High velocity, lengthy-distance operates on the Autobahn and ongoing drives by means of the Alps in different climates, this 2002 has noticed and performed it all.

And now, with a lot kindness, generosity and (plenty of) have faith in from Nicolas, it’s my flip to push it.

Receiving into this 2002 was an knowledge that, for me at least, felt the two at residence and foreign at the identical time. The door, even though fragile hunting, opens with a familiar metallic clunk as I lengthen it outwards in advance of sliding into a interval bucket seat though dodging a roll cage, a reminder of this car’s racing record.

Inside, you will immediately become aware that this is a prototype. It is uncooked, unfinished, a tiny messy and unashamedly reason-crafted to be pushed. Ideal.

Forward of me, a a little bit weathered Momo Prototipo emblazoned with the Bavarian Econs insignia and specifically behind, the typical 2002 instrument cluster which is in which items start out to look a minimal different.

Cleverly retrofitted to get the job done in sync with this car’s new-age motor, the tachometer is now a electric power meter, displaying not just how significantly share of electricity is currently being churned out of the rear wheels, but also how significantly electricity is going again in with regenerative braking. The gas meter now exhibits the battery’s cost stage with the temperature gauge now concentrating on the batteries in its place of drinking water. Each and every other secondary handle on the binnacle remains as-is. Even the started off essential is intact.

Alongside the centre console is wherever the major variances lie, long gone is the equipment lever along the transmission tunnel, changed by a generate method selector and a cluster of buttons to toggle travel modes and charging functions. I would never have imagined looking at a “Sport mode” button in a 2002.

Nicolas guarantees customers’ cars will not in any form or form have an interior as spartan or as the prototype and I’m self-assured they’ll be ready to pull it off. Particularly when he mentions that they are sourcing for products used by the Rolls Royce factory and have even paid a go to to Singer. Certainly, that Singer.

With the 2002te turned on, it was time to generate and straight away the absence of electrical power steering hits you, somewhat more difficult in this car or truck since of its more-wi
de tires and feathering the throttle to go off effortlessly normally takes some receiving used to with in close proximity to-instantaneous torque at your disposal.

Even though electric power from the Tesla motor has been constrained to 161 horses (and 170 Nm of torques) in order to keep Television set content (thanks to the inventory 2002 brakes), at 1,150 kg, this is still a fairly gentle automobile with -60 coming up in a quite respectable 6.2 seconds, readily surpassing the acceleration figures of the 2002 Turbo.

Although the electricity figures could possibly audio relatively tame, they felt perfectly suited to this car or truck. With uprated brakes coming up on a future develop, this electric power determine will be bumped up to a very healthier 250 horses. I reckon that may possibly be a small scary.

And contrary to what you might visualize, this Tesla motor isn’t silent possibly, with all of its audio deadening stripped off, it produces a superior-pitched whine reminiscent of a straight-cut gearbox. And when the decline of a manual gearbox could be a lead to for initial alarm, the success, tractability and continual shipping of electric power from the electric powered motor and its regenerative braking houses enable for a new layer of discovery as you begin to delight in the generate.

Acceleration figures aside, the biggest takeaway right after a generate in this 02 is just how a great deal it nonetheless “feels” like an old traditional car.

2002 proprietors, you know what I’m speaking about, the body weight of the steering, the lean into the corners as it eagerly turns in, the vibrations of the overall chassis, the roar of the road and the sounds of the wind bouncing off the windscreen and by way of the facet home windows, it is nonetheless there.

The lack of driving aids, or basic safety products and that sense of euphoric dread as you catch yourself imagining, “Oh my God, I’ll probably die if I crash” when the speedometer spins up towards 160km/h. It’s even now there.

That experience of engagement, of link with the auto and a feeling of ponder as you catch its reflection in the corner of your eye. It is continue to there.

Freude am Fahren. It is nevertheless there.

In a globe where these previous automobiles may well encounter extinction, thank you Nicholas for supplying them a new lease of existence and including a new dimension to their driving knowledge.

Even though the Bavarian Econs 2002te is not listed here to change our beloved inner combustion-engined 2002s, it is below to sit together with them and sit alongside them proudly it should due to the fact it felt really particular and I am permanently grateful to have had the prospect to push it. I wish I experienced a person.

A joy to travel almost everywhere, a joy to search at, and a joy to have shared 1 of the greatest drives with an really passionate BMW supporter. It was a serendipitous working day in truth. And we’re only midway via. Stay tuned.

Thank you for looking through!