10 of the best BMW-Alpina models over the years
Some gearheads may think Alpina is just an aftermarket tuner messing with BMW a little and sells them at full price. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Alpina is actually integrated into BMWhowever, according to the very strict German Federal Ministry of Transport, Alpina is a car manufacturer in its own right.
Alpina started by manufacturing typewriters, but this operation failed and in 1965, Alpina was founded as a violinist of BMW. Initially, the company tuned cylinder heads and carburettors, which helped Alpina-tuned BMWs win race after race – including hill climbs and the 1970 24 Hours of Spa, in Belgium. Since then, Alpina has tuned just about every BMW model to have a little more performance, a little more comfort and a little more refinement.
Today, some Alpina models are faster than genuine BMW “M” cars. Alpina even builds the B7 – which is an unofficial M7 – alongside the normal 7 series. All Alpinas are built on the same assembly lines as their BMW counterparts, as many cars are the same or similar. Here are the best BMW-Alpina models in history.
ten Alpine C1
The Alpina C1 was one of the first 3-series Alpinas to make an appearance. It was based on the E21 323i coupe but produced 168 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque, slightly more than the standard car.
The C1 was later updated to the C2, which featured an improved 2.5-litre – which became a 2.7-litre – increasing power to between 190 and 210 bhp. Top speed was limited to 137mph and thanks to all of Alpina’s upgrades, the C1 could do the 0-60mph sprint in 7.1 seconds – fast enough for the early 1980s.
9 Alpina B7 S Turbo
The Alpina B7 was originally based on the 5-series E12, as opposed to the 7-series we know today. The B7 featured a 3.0-liter inline-6 from the 530i, but Alpina added a turbo to the engine, boosting power to between 250 and 300 bhp.
The B7 originated when the turbocharger was just entering the automotive world as a means of increasing performance – before it began to be used as an emissions reducer on small engines.
8 Alpina B7 Turbo Coupe
The Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé shared much of its drivetrain with the B7 sedan, i.e. the same 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6. The B7 Coupé was based on the BMW 635CSi Coupé, which is one of the most beautiful coupés ever made.
The B7 was in production for the duration of the 6 Series, being updated each time the 635CSi was improved by BMW. It was and still is a great car, which has gone up in value, potentially making the BMW 635CSi and Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé a good investment for the future.
7 Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo
The Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo was one of the most important cars in Alpina’s history, eventually becoming the fastest super-sedan on the planet. The B10 Bi-Turbo started out as an E34 535i, which initially produced 208 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. Alpina took the engine, stripped it completely, changed almost everything and added some turbochargers to it, and put it back in the car.
The result was 335 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, more than the M5 of the time. The B10 Bi-Turbo could do 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 180mph, while the M5 was limited to 155mph.
6 Alpine B12 5.7
The Alpina B12 5.7 was a V12-powered grand tourer based on the BMW 850CSi E31. Alpina increased the displacement from the 5.4 liters to 5.7 liters. Alpina offered the car with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, but they offered an automated manual as an option.
The B12 5.7 received an Alpina body kit and its signature 20-spoke wheels, and the bonnet was replaced with a carbon fiber version. The B12 5.7 produced 416 bhp and thanks to a stainless steel exhaust system the car sounded much better than its BMW counterpart.
5 Alpina V8 Roadster
The Alpina V8 Roadster was based on the BMW Z8 Roadster, which was not a very good car. While the Z8 was based on the same platform as the E39 M5, with the same engine and gearbox combination, the Alpina had a smaller, less powerful 4.8-liter V8 mated to an automatic transmission .
Alpina tried to solve the problems encountered by the Z8 by transforming it into a grand tourer rather than a sporty convertible. Alpina also replaced the hard suspension with something softer and reupholstered the interior with soft Nappa leather to add to the more relaxed modifications.
4 Alpine B12 6.0
The Alpina B12 6.0 was one of the best, most luxurious and most exclusive sedans ever made. Alpina took the E38 750Li, bored out the 5.4-liter to 6.0-liter, and did the usual “Mountaining” of the engine and transmission. The end result was 424 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque going to the rear wheels only through a 6-speed automatic.
Between 1996 and 2001, Alpina produced and sold less than 300 B12s, just over 200 5.7s and less than 100 6.0s. As a result, the B12 6.0 is a car that is rarely for sale, and when it is, it can go for around $50,000.
3 Alpina 3.0 CSL “Batmobile”
In Alpina’s history, the company has helped BMW with many of its racing ventures, the most famous of these collaborations being the 3.0 CSL. Alpina modified the car for racing and installed a number of aerodynamic features to improve high-speed stability and downforce.
The addition of these aerodynamic parts gave the car an awesome nickname, the “Batmobile”, because it looked like something Batman would go into to fight crime. The 3.0 CSL produced around 200 bhp and was much lighter than the normal 3.0 CSi. The Alpina 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ took part in various racing competitions, including the European Touring Car Championship.
2 Alpina XB7
the Alpina XB7 is based on the larger BMW SUVs – the X7. Alpina took the highest-spec X7 (the X7 M50i) and tweaked the engine, transmission and the rest of the drivetrain, so the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 produced 612 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque – nearly 40 more torque and nearly 100 more horsepower.
Alpina intended to create a diesel version called XD7, which would have been the most powerful diesel-powered production SUV, but the last time anyone heard of it was in 2019 when it was seen being tested at the Nurburgring. Still, the Alpina XB7 is one of the fastest SUVs currently on sale and certainly one of the most desirable.
1 Alpina D3 S Touring
the Alpina D3 S is one of the best all-rounders in the world, alongside the VW Golf GTi, Range Rover Vogue and Volvo V90 Cross Country. The touring version makes even more sense as it offers more cargo space and improved styling.
The D3 S is available with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine, producing 350 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The D3 S comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but BMW’s excellent xDrive all-wheel-drive system can be fitted, which adds to the car’s more practical appeal. The BMW 3 Series is the norm for the small executive sedan, and the petrol-powered B3 S improves on that recipe, but the Alpina D3 S Touring is the absolute better version of the two. It also has a fast enough top speed to rival the BMW M3. A pretty awesome car.
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