Alpina BMW cars have always been a pedigree higher than any of the other tuners. Here’s why…
The 2016-17 season has been the period of some of the most legendary brands and models of the automobile industry touching milestone numbers. From Range Rover to Williams in F1 to the Ducati Monster, each one of these big names and icons has touched some significant number in last one and a half year or so. Amongst the big names, there is Alpina, and we admit that among all the tuners out there working closely with the automakers, it is one which always manages to make petrolistas go weak in their knees. This year, Alpina is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and they’re doing it the best way they’re known for, by building another incredibly fast and sumptuously luxurious fleet of BMWs. Case in point, the new Alpina B5 and B6 50th Anniversary editions for the celebration. The would be enough outlets pointing out towards the new cars. So instead, we took this opportunity to explore the best Alpina BMW cars from its half-century history.But before we go further talking about the fabulous Alpina’s from last 50 years, let’s have a brief look at the company that does the whole tuning game differently. It was Burkard Bovensiepen who founded the company in 1965. Back then, he started off by developing the now well known Weber carburettors which are installed in BMW engines. Things came into perspective after the successful incorporation of the Weber Dual Carburettor in the 1962 BMW 1500. Prior to getting in the tuning industry, Alpina used to make typewriters and textiles. The Alpina as we petrolheads know, happened in 1965 when Burkard decided to do something better with his stock market profits. However, it was only in 1967 that Alpina name became famous and well-recognised with its (now well reputed) logo and trademark.
Also Read: 1985 BMW M5 Superproduction
The first big break for Alpina BMW was in 1971 after the company successfully raced its cars in the European saloon car racing series. The success arrived after Burkard’s suggestion to BMW that they needed a much lighter version of the company’s 3.0 CS Coupe. The idea had clicked with BMW and they gave the responsibility of developing this new car with Alpina, and the legend was ready to roll. BMW liked the idea and handed responsibility for the development of the new car to Alpina. The end result was the Alpina BMW 3.0 CSL lovingly known as the “Batmobile”, and it had those evergreen and absolutely stunning 20-spoke wheels that since then have become a trademark for Alpina.Ever since then, Alpina BMW cars have become synonymous with blisteringly fast engines, sublime drive characteristics, and unmatched luxury. Here are the best Alpina BMW cars from the company’s 50-year history.
1971 Alpina BMW 3.0 CSL:
It was this car that established Alpina as a builder tuner who can make a truly great car. It was also the beginning of Alpina BMW relationship that keeps on giving reasons to fall in love with cars over and over again. This 1971 Alpina BMW 3.0 CSL was based upon the 3.0 CS but had a number of changes to make it light weight. The hood, boot lid, and the doors were all made out of aluminium. There was a special glass for the windshield which was lighter than the standard passenger vehicle, and there were those trend setting and brilliant 14” 20 spoke Alpina wheels.
Alpina had modified the car to its B2S specifications, that meant that the 3003cc engine was not only slightly bigger than the standard 2985cc engine, it also had specially made pistons and three twin-choke Weber carburettors as compared to the standard car’s 2 Zenith carburettors. Alpina also gave the car a new airbox, a limited slip differential and modified suspension for a much better driving characteristic and ability to handle increased power as well. Did we tell you that the car was also absolutely stunning to look at!
1984 Alpina B7 Turbo Coupe:
This has got to be among the most beautiful cars ever designed. The Alpina BMW B7 Turbo Coupe took the baton from the brilliant Alpina B7 Coupe when the new BMW 6 series (E24) arrived in 1982. It was powered by the same turbocharged six-cylinder 3.0-liter engine from the B7 Saloon and was based on the BMW’s 3.0-liter engine. Alpina had made several modifications to the engine design such as – incorporation of lower-compression Mahle pistons and an all new fuel injection system. This meant the car could make anywhere between 250-300bhp depending on the variable boost control. Alpina gave the car a better suspension and 16 inches of Alpina trademark 20-spoke wheels.
The interior was also given some Alpina love with a hand-stitched steering wheel, a new design to the ear knob along with new sports seats that wore Alpina upholstery while the instrument panel was also given an upgrade. Back then, its power output gave superb numbers and it was a genuine supercar, infact, the fastest coupe in the world.
Alpina BMW RLE:
Not a very well known car, but it was spectacular never the less, the Alpina Roadster Limited Edition was based on the BMW Z1. It was stunning to say the least and with 197bhp on tap, it was a sure shot promise of some incredible fun. In its true form, Alpina had tinkered with the chassis along with upgrading its interior luxury. Only 66 cars were ever built making the Alpina BMW RLE one rare piece of automotive brilliance.
Alpina BMW B10 Bi-Turbo:
Where BMW M cars were absolute single-minded track oriented beasts, Alpina has established itself as an alternative for someone who wanted more luxury and comfort but still desired insane performance. And the 1989 Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo was a perfect example of this, it had a massive turbocharger punch as compared to the rev-hungry M5, it was much more accessible. On the inside, the B10 Bi-turbo showed off opulence with its walnut veneer and all the top spec toys from that day and age.
Alpina BMW B12CSi:
BMW 8 Series was an astonishing car in itself, but then Alpina had different things in its mind. The result was the Alpina B12CSi and it was even faster than the 850CSi prepared by BMW Motorsport. In truth, the B12 CSi was a true Alpina supercar, it made staggering 400bhp and had top speed in access of 190mph. In true Alpina form, the B12CSi was also a breathtaking beauty.
Alpina BMW B10 V8S:
When BMW built the E9 M5 with V8 power, it was a matter of time Alpina made a V8 powered super saloon. The answer was the Alpina B10 V8S, and instead of the ferocious M Division tuned, Alpina choose a rather lazy V8 from the X5. What result was a super saloon that matched the performance of the contemporary BMW M5 but offered much better luxury, comfort and relaxed mode of sublime performance.
Alpina BMW Roadster V8:
If there was any car that could be called for being better in Alpina disguise than its BMW form, then it has to be the Alpina Roadster V8. It was based on the brilliant yet a confused BMW Z8. Alpina gave it some love with new softer suspension and a much improved automatic gearbox. This transformed the BMW Z8 into a supremely comfortable cruiser that suited the cars retro aesthetics.
Alpina BMW B5:
And the world got a taste of some absolute Alpina awesomeness with the Alpina B5. Alpina called it the world’s fastest performance saloon and they weren’t kidding. The B5 S did 0-100kmph in just 4.6 seconds made possible by its monstrous 523bhp powerplant. And we just can’t get over those wheels, never.
50th Anniversary Special – Alpina BMW B4 and D4:
It is their 50th anniversary and to make sure the world knows how special it is, Alpina brought two celebratory cars, the Alpina B4 and the Alpina D4. Based on the current BMW 4 Series, the Alpina models are already being said to be better cars than the original BMW on which they are based on. They are known to be extremely fat, extremely comfortable and agile which is absolutely mesmerizing.
Please Note: Pictures doesn’t necessarily follow order.
Pictures Courtesy: Alpina