For every manufacturer of cars, there is another company that exists to improve upon their work. Mercedes-Benz has Brabus, Ford has Mountune, Audi has ABT, Porsche has RUF, the list goes on. BMW isn’t without one of these companies, of course. It has Alpina, and Alpina takes the brilliant work of BMW and makes it even better.
Alpina has been around since the 1960s, however it wasn’t until 1983 that it was finally recognised as a bona fide vehicle manufacturer. As such, the cars it takes from BMW and builds upon are now recognised as Alpina models, not BMWs. Alpina covers every base with its builds, from engine, transmission, suspension and styling elements such as paint, trim and wheels. No nut is left unturned once Alpina gets their hands on a car.
You may be wondering why you wouldn’t just go out and buy an ‘M’ model from the BMW range? Well, you could. But the thing to remember with Alpina is that it’s not all about performance. Yes, that’s a huge part of the appeal, along with the hand built nature of the cars, but Alpina models are more than that. They’re about luxury and about pushing the limits of what the base car can be, and that’s what makes them special.
Take this frankly stunning Alpina B9. Once, back in 1985, it was destined to be just another BMW E28. However, fate would see to it that it was destined for more. It would have been plucked from the line and sent to the talented team at Alpina. It was there the transformation started. And Alpina took this transformation seriously, as the B9 was the first E28 for the company.
At the time, the E28’s top-level engine was the 2.8. However, that wasn’t going to cut the mustard for Alpina, so instead they sourced a 3.5 straight-six from BMW. The cylinder head was modified, forged Mahle pistons were fitted, as was a new camshaft. The objective, however, was more torque, not outright power. Though, with the reprogrammed Motronic management, the B9 would jump to 245bhp from 218bhp. However, the torque was the main attraction, which in this car jumped up to 320Nm.
To keep the newfound power on the road, the team at Alpina fitted progressive, lowered springs with Bilstein dampers. The car rides on 16-inch custom Alpina alloys (Alpina cars always have their own, specifically-designed wheels). The rear brakes are stock, but the fronts have been upped to 284mm vented disks.
This car has only just come to the UK, having been in Japan beforehand. This is a good thing though, as the Japanese MOT equivalent makes a UK MOT look like a primary school maths test! As such, you can be sure this car is immaculate. It’s also got an enviable specification, too, with additions like a limited-slip differential, air-conditioning, cruise control and lots more.
Rare, handsome, built to last and with driver appeal that simply can’t be matched, this is one truly spectacular car. At £27,500, this Alpina B9 is a bargain too.