BMW’s Alpina range is a good place to look if you want more exclusivity. These are basically factory BMW’s but with more trimmings. They have more pace, more performance, more style, and more desirability.
And just in case you didn’t know, Alpina is the BMW-based manufacturer that’s been sprinkling fairy dust on the German brand’s cars for over half a century. In this unique article, OSV take a look at four of their recent releases:
Join OSV as we give you the low-down on what these mega cars are all about.
2017 BMW Alpina Convertible
Alpina have delivered the goods once more with the 2017 BMW Alpina Convertible. It’s a sparkling drop-top that blends comfort with sports car speed. It’s Alpina’s more expensive answer to the M4 Cabriolet.
We say more expensive, but the premium over the insatiable M4 isn’t too high – just £1,790. However, £1,790 isn’t mere change in anyone’s back pocket. So is the BMW Alpina Convertible worth the extra cash?
One of the appealing things about an Alpina in general is how rare these cars are. But the convertible needs something a bit more than that if you’re to be convinced that it’s the one they wanna rock up in the sunshine in. And its strength lies in how well it manages to seamlessly combine refinement with performance.
It’s also a huge positive that Alpina chose to build on the BMW 440i model, rather than starting with the M4 as their inspiration. As such, what you have here is an impressive 440i model. It’s had its aerodynamics, engines and pretty much everything else modified to transform it into a proper Alpina.
The 440i’s 3.0-litre six-pot turbo engine has been traded for a more kick-ass twin-turbo unit that delivers more punch and an extra 82bhp. That means it produces up to 404bhp. This is enough to get you from a standstill to 62mph in 4.5 seconds before maxing out at 187mph. The M4, by contrast, maxes out at 155mph and can do 0-62 in 4.2 seconds.
An eight-speed automatic transmission comes as standard. It is a satisfying alternative to the faster-changing twin-clutch automatic you’ll find in the M4. It’s a punchy, smooth gearbox that changes in good time.
The fact that there are two turbochargers fitted to the engine could have resulted in some pretty rough power delivery, but quite the opposite is true. Moreover, we prefer the Alpina Convertible’s suppler ride quality. It’s more forgiving, too, despite some pretty hefty 19” alloys.
However, it’s well worth mentioning that this is a rather languid, almost lazy drop-top that’s perfect for those blissfuly sunny days when you just want to lower the roof and chill out. It doesn’t fizz with excitement, but it does have plenty of power.
Another thing worth mentioning is how heavy the car is. Weighing 225kg more than the BMW M4 Coupe means it’s slow to respond at times. Still, once the roof is down you get to enjoy the tremolos reverberations spat out by the exhaust as you progress through the revs.
In terms of running costs, the 2017 BMW Alpina Convertible is good for 37mpg, and emits 177g/km of CO2.
BMW Alpina Coupe
The 2017 BMW Alpina Coupe is a large car – in more ways than one. It packs a mighty twin-turbo V8 4.4-litre petrol engine under its bonnet that delivers up to 591bhp, and which produces a maximum 6250rpm and can get you from 0-62 in 4.2 seconds. That’s a herculean effort, and almost rivals the M6, which does it in 4.1 seconds.
An 8-speed automatic gearbox power the engine, which is lifted from the standard BMW 6 Series. It’s a modified version, with the aim being that it stops upshifts when you’re in specific modes. This will come in especially handy whenever you’re on the circuit.
The chassis has been given a makeover, too, so that there are more setups to choose from than there is in the regular 6 Series. For example, the Comfort mode is really comfy. It’s a softer experience. Switch to Sport + mode and – you guessed it – the driving experience is sharper. But you would have to be a serious BMW enthusiast to recognise them. But good news is if you do spot them, you’ll feel pretty chuffed.
The interior is a similar story: It’s a better version of the one in the 6 Series. One difference is that the differences in quality are much more noticeable, and you don’t need to have such a discerning palette or an encyclopaedic knowledge of BMW to spot them. The sumptuous leather is of a higher quality, while the seats and dials are exclusive to this car.
Among the interior standard kit are twin-zone climate control, cruise control, heated front seats, LED fog and head lights, parking sensors, and beefy 20” alloys.
If you want to distinguish the car even more from your neighbours, there is a vast array of personalisation options available. They don’t exactly come cheap, though.
In terms of how it looks on the outside, what sets the BMW Alpina Coupe apart from the standard 6 Series are its 20” turbine alloys, its front splitter that’s fresh for 2017, and which cuts lift by around 12%, as well as a brand new rear lip spoils.
And if you’ve got some extra cash lying around, why not add the optional tea-tray wing?
Out on the road, the car is quick. The gearbox does a stellar job of managing the sheer flow of energy, and the car produces lots of torque . Despite this, the Alpina Coupe isn’t what you’d call an out-and-out sports car. It’s more of a cruiser that’s good at high speeds. Derived from the 6 Series, it’s got more depth than its siblings.
BMW Alpina Estate
Remember your dad’s ugly Estate that wheezed and moaned its way from a rest to 62mph in 15.0 seconds when you were a kid? Such speeds were typical of such a cumbersome car type back in the nineties – a car type that seemed destined to always be the ugly duckling which “did a job”.
But what if we told you that the highly desirable BMW Alpina Estate can do 0-62 in just 4.6 seconds? Estate’s have come a long way since the Vauxhall Cavalier.
The BMW M3 Touring if your other option, but if that one is a bit too much of a hooligan for you, the new BMW Alpina Estate is a good alternative. More refined than its wild-child sibling, it offers excellent economy, solid performance, and a sound ride quality.
Derived from the 3 Series, the new Alpina Estate has been treated to a few niceties in order to boost its appeal. It now comes with a choice between 19 and 20” alloys, Alpina’s exclusive body kit, optional Pinstripe logos, and – of course Alpina’s unique, purposeful aesthetics.
Inside, the gear change buttons found behind the steering wheel are no longer here, with preferring instead to let you operate the 8-speed automatic gear box with paddles.
That smooth 8-speed automatic transmission works in tandem with the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine that also powers the Alpina Saloon, as well as the 3 Series’ 335d model. Here, though, it’s been upgraded so that it gets a bigger inter-cooler and some enhanced air intakes. The result? More power. In the Alpina Estate, the engine produces up to 345bhp, while torque has been raised to 700Nm.
Another major difference between this and the 335d is that the latter is still xDrive 4WD only, while the Alpina gets rear-wheel-drive. The result is slicker handling.
Its traction control system is super effective, and the car has lots of grip. It also means there is no need for 4WD. The Alpina Estate is quick, and can cover the 0-62 stretch in just 4.6 seconds, which is astonishing for a car of this type. And it almost makes it as quick as the BMW M3.
However, you won’t need to propel your family along at such speeds all the time, and if you keep a lid on things you can regularly return fuel economy of 50mpg.
The car isn’t just quick, though. It’s accomplished in bends, manages body roll well, and there is plenty of feedback from the steering wheel. Handling is precise, and it’s even fluid on winding country lanes.
It’s also a useful family car, too, and buyers will be satisfied by the 495-litres boot. The interior is plush and marked out by top-notch materials, and there are plenty of bespoke Alpina additions that enhance its exclusivity appeal. The standard kit list is long, and overall this is a very assured sports car that can do many things. Crucially, it blends together style, performance and usability.
BMW Alpina Saloon
According to BMW and Alpina themselves, there is no faster diesel production car on the planet right now than the BMW Alpina Saloon. It takes the body-shell of the BMW 3 Series and mates it to a 345bhp engine while producing up to 516LB of torque. With numbers like that, you have to take them at their word.
The car get a twin-turbo 3.0-litre engine. It doesn’t emit the most satisfying of sounds, but it fizzes and crackles nicely. It comes paired up with an eight-speed automatic transmission that changes gear smoothly. And once you get it into fifth and sixth gears, you’ll find that the car can easily do between 4000 and 2000rpm without any hassle.
The ride is smooth, the performance is effortless, and the handling is sharp and impressive. The steering isn’t dissimilar to the the way the 3 Series steers – which is not exactly a bad thing. It means it’s precise, accurate and clean. And even at high speeds, the car glides along almost as if it’s using no energy at all.
You can switch between a few driving modes to get the car to feel and behave as you prefer. In Comfort mode, the Alpina Saloon is calm and relaxing. In Sport Plus the suspension is nicely firmed up and body roll is controlled much better.
And we feel that £48,000 is good value for all that performance. We feel it represents stunning value for money. Especially when you take a look around the market and see what other high-performance saloons cost.
Standard kit is good, too, and includes 19” alloys, LED headlights, and heated adjustable front seats. You also get adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, USB connectivity, Bluetooth and sat nav.
But the genuine USP of this car isn’t its effortless performance, its smooth ride or even its relatively low asking price. Instead, it’s its running costs. Despite having performance available on tap, the BMW Alpina Saloon can manage fuel economy returns of 50mpg in real world conditions.
The Alpina Saloon is a sensible priced Alpina – perhaps it’s the most sensibly priced Alpina’s. It’s super desirable, but because of its low asking price, low running costs, exclusivity and badge appeal, it’s been snapped up in its droves by customers. If you want one, you would need to act fast.
He believes that words can take on a transformative aspect and wants to help people make better decisions today.
His influences as a writer include Hunter S Thompson and Jack Kerouac, while among his interests outside writing are music, art, foreign films and football.
He’d one day like to own a Tesla, and still holds a candle for the Ford Capri.
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