As 2016 rolled by, the automotive world was enthralled by the celebrations set up by BMW to mark their 100th anniversary. Even age-old rivals chipped in, wishing the Munich-based company a happy anniversary as well as good luck to keep the momentum going for maybe another 100. But this year also marked another important milestone in the history of the blue and white roundel – the 50th anniversary since the launch of the BMW 2002.

The 02 Series has a large number of followers, most of them people in love with what BMW used to stand for and the classic design it brought forward. This icon was the source of inspiration for the BMW 3 Series that came afterwards and ended up being the best selling model the Germans ever put out throughout its history.

BMW 2002 vs 3 Series 23

The cars were brought together for an ad-hoc photo shoot in Bucharest, as a tribute paid by BMW Romania to the original sporty sedan from Bavaria. Alongside an original BMW 2002 from 1972, starred a 2016 BMW 3 Series, showing what five decades of refining a recipe can bring to the table. Of course, today it would be hard to tell that what we’re looking at here are a great grandfather and his nephew but some similarities can still be spotted, such as the Hoffmeister Kink, for example.

It was March 1966 when the first car part of the 02 Series was launched under the 1602 nameplate. Back then few people were able to understand or predict the huge success the car would record among people of all ages and all kinds of demographics. Later on, other models made their debuts as part of the same range with bigger models, with new names like 1802 or 2002. The latter even received a turbo version that won numerous races with Hubert Hanne and later on Dieter Quester behind the wheel.

BMW SoNoRo 2016 Ateneu
BMW SoNoRo 2016
And while all of that may seem impressive, it is the car’s legacy that matters the most, the 3 Series which it inspired being an icon these days not only for BMW but for the auto industry as whole. The photo gallery shown below shows the two side by side, at the SoNoRo event, a venue which features classical music in a variety of unconventional setups, hosted by buildings with special architecture or incredible history behind them. This is just one of the events BMW has been sponsoring for almost 50 years now.

Besides co-initiatives, such as BMW Tate Live, the BMW Art Journey andthe “Opera for All” concerts in Berlin, Munich and London, the company also partners with leading museums and art fairs as well as orchestras and opera houses around the world. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all its cultural activities – as this initiative is as essential for producing groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.