“BMW hesitated long and hard before adding the new touring to the range in 1971. The powers-that-be were keen to broaden the reach of the 02, which had been on the road for five years by this point. But the development of a totally new body type would be quite the wallet-lightener, not to mention a risky proposition. The new variant was intended to share the front and side sections of the existing 02, but then offer buyers genuine variation from the B-pillars back. Enhanced versatility and functional appeal made an excellent fit for the evolving zeitgeist; customers now demanded extra practicality from their car, but that didn’t mean they wanted to confuse it for a van.
And so the new touring defied classification as either a coupe or an estate car in the classical sense. Instead, it carved out a distinctive and previously uncharted niche for itself. The touring was 12 cm shorter than its sedan stablemate (and 3 cm lower), but its large tailgate combined with the split/folding rear seat backrests to create a load area of eye-catching dimensions, one which could swallow some really quite large items of cargo. Added to which, the rakish new design provided the universally familiar 02 range with a dramatic refresh. Such a youthfully sporty Nullzwei caught everyone by surprise.” Courtesy of BMW Group Classic.