・Magnificent 3.3 straight-six engine ・Dark green over light tan leather ・Enormous history file ・High specification, cult classic
Alpina is a renowned modifier of BMWs. Still run as a family business, they add performance, style, comfort and meticulous attention to detail to BMWs, creating some of the most sought after and exclusive performance luxury vehicles available today.
Introduced at the Geneva motor show in 1999, the B10 3.3 was Alpina’s take on the E39 5-series, one of BMW’s greatest cars. Utilising the standard 3.3 litre straight six, Alpina made a raft of modifications to the engine, suspension, brakes and interior to create what many consider to be one of the finest fast saloon cars ever made.
This B10 is an early model, first registered in May 2000 in the UK. It spent the first few years of its life in the south of England, before being purchased by the previous owner in Oxfordshire in 2012. The current owner purchased it in 2018. The car comes with an extensive service and maintenance history.
As well as the current V5 and previous V5s and a wealth of MOT certificates going back many years, there are a host of servicing and maintenance receipts stretching back across the entire life of the car. The original handbooks and servicing history are all present and correct.
Two large folders of paperwork are provided, which also include the DVLA registration assignment documentation for the cherished plate (W33ALP - included in the sale), a dealership confirmation letter for the factory-fitted Thatcham category 1 alarm, the HPi clear certificate (the only note being the cherished plate) and confirmation of all the factory-fitted options.
In reality, there’s far too much paperwork to list here, suffice to say this is an extremely well-documented car, in terms of ownership, maintenance and servicing. The mileage is confirmed both by the servicing records and the previous MOTs. It really does give confidence that this is a very original car. The current MOT is valid until June 2022.
The paperwork also confirms that the vehicle was also ordered with a substantial number of factory-fitted options, including automatic air-conditioning, heated sports seats, Xenon lights, cruise control and white indicators.
BMWs of this vintage are well known for their beautifully appointed, high quality interiors. So Alpina have always taken a fairly light touch with modifying the interiors. Other than the Alpina ID plate above the rear-view mirror, the sports steering wheel and Alpin’s own wood veneer trim and gear selector, the rest is standard E39. This is no bad thing, as it’s one of the nicest interiors you’ll find.
In this car, everything is in fine condition. There are some age-related marks and wear evident, but nowhere near what you’d expect from a 21 year old car - proof again of the high-quality of the base machine. The light tan / cream leather of the seats is in superb condition, as is all the switchgear, dashboard and trim. The owner assures us that everything works as it should, certainly everything we tried worked perfectly well. As would be expected, the driving position is excellent, the seats supportive and comfortable and generally everything just feels right.
Again, Alpina take a relatively light touch with the exterior styling of the B10, and rightly so. But what they have done really adds a touch of class and distinction to the car. Modifications include new front and rear spoilers, traditional Alpina-styled multi spoke alloy wheels (with the trademarked centre-cap mounted air-valve), a unique exhaust and subtle Alpina branded side-stripes.
As with the interior, the exterior of the car is in lovely condition. The deep green paintwork is a lovely hue and, other than a few minor blemishes, belies its age tremendously well. It’s a colour that suits the taut, muscular styling of the B10 extremely well, giving it a real Q-car vibe. We like it a lot. Underneath the car looked solid and in good order too.
In 2014, a bare-metal respiratory was carried out on the bonnet, roof and sunroof panel by the specialists at Munich Legends, All other areas look in great condition too. With a professional polish, we’re confident that the paintwork will look like new.
BMW’s 280bhp, 3.3 litre straight-six is a phenomenal engine. Reliable, smooth and powerful. In this car, it sounds fantastic - creamy and smooth at low revs, rising to the traditional straight-six howl as the car gathers pace. It’s a dramatic power plant, the sort that gets the blood-pumping and raises the hairs on the back of your neck. Mated to the 5-speed ZF manual gearbox, it makes for an engaging driving experience.
Here it’s been wonderfully well looked after, the maintenance records in the paperwork file are extensive, the service history complete and always undertaken by specialists. It appears to have been maintained to a very high standard, regardless of cost. The rest of the mechanical aspects if the car have been very well cared for too, the car rides smoothly and well, cornering well with no evidence of suspension or braking issues. You’d be hard-pressed to believe it has covered more than 130,000 miles.
Overall, it’s in wonderful condition mechanically. This is confirmed by the maintenance record. There’s far too much to list here, but some of the major recent items include:
New front shock absorbers, front Michelin tyres and battery fitted in April 2021
ABS pump reconditioned and new Michelin tyres fitted to the rear in September 2019
Alpinas have a fantastic reputation. We’ve yet to meet anyone that has owned an Alpina that wouldn’t purchase another. The recipe of taking BMW’s best performance models and tweaking them, making them that little bit quicker, even more special to look at, and adding in Alpina’s legendary ability to combine comfort with a sporting ride is one that’s easy to get behind.
This car is a wonderful example of their craft. Many regard the E39-based B10 as one of the finest performance luxury saloons ever made, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a muscular car, but hides its ability well - like a bouncer in a Saville Row suit. When you consider the specification, it only deepens the appeal of this vehicle. It’s a highly specific car for the time, fitted with a raft of factory options, and with (in our opinion) the best engine and gearbox combination. That howling straight-six is a glorious piece of engineering, and to experience it through a manual gearbox is truly something special.
Dressed as it is in subtle but beautiful deep metallic green paintwork over light tan leather interior, we think this is an achingly pretty car. E39s are becoming more sought after now, and it’s even harder to find an Alpina version in such a great spec, with the extensive service and maintenance record this car comes with.
We love this car. If you’re willing to keep on top of the maintenance, it will reward you with a wonderful Q-car experience and the combination of subtle-yet-brutal performance and luxury that only Alpina provides. It’s a rare vehicle, in a near perfect specification, presented with a faultless history. What more needs to be said?
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