Tuning Test

The Mangoletsi “Hi-Torque” B.M.W. 2002

In concluding his Road Impressions of the B.M.W. 2002 last September the Editor wrote: “Anyway, a B.M.W. will be right at the summit of my next short list; and just think of a 2002 with the 135-b.h.p. TI engine”. Well, for the latest tuning test I have just completed an exciting week driving a B.M.W. 2002 with the engine tuned to give 160 b.h.p., and it has certainly been an experience I will long remember.

The car is marketed by the well-established Cheshire company of Mangoletsi and is one of their Hi-Torque conversions. They prefer to sell the car as a package deal for with the engine conversion go several other modifications which contribute towards the best saloon car I have ever driven. The engine in standard form has a tremendous amount of potential for tuning, as has been seen by the performance of these units in the back of Chevron sports cars. Obviously the first thing to do is to substitute the single Solex carburetter with instruments for pumping a lot more fuel into the combustion chambers. The Mangoletsi plan is to fit two of the large 45 DCOE-type Weber carburetters. That was the 32 m.p.g. B.M.W., that was! Petrol consumption falls to below 20 m.p.g. but what can you expect from a 2-litre car that will out-accelerate almost any sports car you like to name costing less than about £4,000.

Mangoletsi do a considerable amount of fettling on the cylinder head to improve the gas flow, and round the engine job off with much sportier camshaft. With this work done the tuners reckon on about 560 b.h.p. at 7,000 r.p.m. With this kind of power they have been able to utilise a higher final drive (3.7 to 1) yet retain quite breath taking acceleration. With an increase of this kind one would expect the car to be rather unreliable and completely intractable. Quite the opposite is the ease for the engine proved reliable throughout the test and pulls in top gear from just over 1,000 r.p.m., picking up strongly once over 3,500 r.p.m.

Added creature comforts include the re-positioning of the rather awkwardly mounted clutch pedal, and the car is finished with a two-tone paint job. The car we tested was also fitted with a set of 5½J Minilite wheels, although these are extra and in standard trim similar sized steel wheels are provided. Dunlop SP41 radials glue the car to the road.

From the performance panel readers will see the staggering acceleration of the car, while the top speed is in the region of 125 m.p.h. The only problem we experienced with the car was that under fierce acceleration the steering column vibrated alarmingly. The handling and brakes are fully up to the performance of the car. The road holding is of quite staggering order and though when pressed hard the car initially understeers a quick dab of power can convert this to oversteer, and one can indulge in some glorious opposite-lock drifts if one is sufficiently brave.

The B.M.W. 2002 has rightly been praised very wisely and has performance which betters that of many sports cars and nearly all saloons. But in the Hi-Torque converted 2002 the driver has a car that is quite out of the ordinary. It is a car for the enthusiast who likes to drive fast, hard and long. In these days of the 70-m.p.h. limit it is a car that tempts one to blatantly ignore the law. But one can do so with complete comfort and safety. It is obviously a car that will appeal to very many Motor Sport readers. Full details from Mangoletsi Ltd. at 3 Church Hill, Knutsford, Cheshire.—A. R. M.