Alpina B6 2.8, based on E21 E30-based Alpina B6 2.8

Talking about BMW automobiles, quite sure the name Alpina will drop. This little Buchloe-based company, which since 1978 manufactures "exclusive automobiles" under its own label, started life in 1961 - with a bang!

Burkhard Bovensiepen, a young engineer converts BMW's new 1500ccm engines with a set of custom designed Weber-twin-carburettors. That way, BMW's "New Class" automobiles gain attributes of a modern 1960s sports car and great recognition by the press. Even more, all converted cars retain BMW's full warranties, unheard of until then.

1965 sees the formation of "Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen KG", the famous emblem being designed in 1967, marking the start of a remarkable story of success.

Since 1968 Alpina competes in national and international motorsport series, attracting famous drivers like Jacky Ickx, Niki Lauda or Hans (Striezel) Stuck. Competing (and wining, of course) not only on the race tracks, Alpina also succeeds in Mountain- and Rally-Championchips.

After a suggestion by Burkhard Bovensiepen, BMW in 1971 makes him leading the engineering of the famous CSL-series, a lightweight variant of the type E9. Did you ever notice the familiar 20-spoked wheel design Street-CSLs sport?
Continuity, value and a passion for eningeering and pruduction have been and still are key components of Alpina's success.

In 1978 the first B6 2.8 emerges, a 3-series saloon with an engine which up until then equipped only upper classes of BMW automobiles. The engines final design performes 218 HP, with a max. torque of 265 Nm at 5000 rpm. Also in 1978 the supercharged B7 becomes the fastest saloon in the world. Later followed by the B10 Biturbo, these sports cars are prime examples still being robust daily drivers.

Following BMW's launch of the M20 powered 3-series, Alpina developed the 170 horse-powered C1 2.3, based on the M20 B23. Between April 180 and July 1983 462 examples left Buchloe's factory halls. With the advent of the 325i E30, a C1 2.5 variant sporting 190 HP emerged, however, only in small numbers.

In April 1986 Alpina presentd the C2 2.7, featuring 210 HP. When Alpina started equipping its engines with catalytic converters, performance diminished little down to 204 HP and 265 Nm at 4800 rpm. Still, acceleration and speeds up to 230 km/h made the cars real thoroughbreds.

Alpina B3 2.7 engine

The B6 3.5 went on sale in 1985. Powered by the legendary M30, the variant sported impressive 261 HP, little choked down by catalytic convertes to 254 HP. Combined with the 2.8l-version, 478 examples were bulit.
The highlight of E30-based Alpinas was launched in 1987, the B6 3.5s based on the M3. Production ceased after 62 cars.

Letīs not forget the Z1, of which Alpina bulit 66 own cars named RLE (Roadster Limited Edition) / Z1 C2/6. The engine was basically a C2/2 with a revised camshaft, thus performing 200 HP and 261 Nm at 4900 rpm and also eliminating certain motor vibrations, which were noticable due to the weaker design of the Z1's A-pillar. If you nowadays give your 2.7l-engine to Alpina for an overhaul, this will be your new camshaft. The loss in performance in small and outweighted by the gain in comfort.

Alpina B3 2.7

But Alpina not only engineers just engines. Features like shift-tronic or the B12's switch-tronic have been pioneerd by Buchloe. Or for example heated catalytic convertes or mechanised supercharging, realised with the B5/B7 series.

Taking your "old" Alpina to Buchloe nowadays, you won't go unheeded. They still rebuild worn engines with the same passion and help perserving "mobile tradition". If you're lucky and get a guided tour through the manufactory, in the end you will surely walk on clud number B6 ...
However, quantities of 600 examples per series are memories of the past - the change of time did not treckless pass Alpina.

Alpina variants and quanitites of E21/E30 based automobiles

Designation Base Engine HP Nm/rpm ccm Period built Quantity
RLE Z1 C2/6 200 261/4900 2693 8/90-9/91 66
C1 2.3 E21 C1 170 210/4500 2316 4/80-7/83 462
C1 2.3/1 E30 C1/1 170 225/5000 2316 8/83-11/85 35
C1 2.5 E30 C2/3 190 235/5000 2494 10/86-7/87 50
C2 2.5 E30 C2 185 265/4800 2554 7/86-11/86 74
C2 2.7 E30 C2/1 210 267/4500 2693 4/86-7/87 108
C2 2.7 Kat. E30 C2/2 204 245/4800 2693 4/87-7/87 52
B3 2.7 Kat E30 C2/2 204 265/4800 2693 8/87-5/92 257
B6 2.8 E21 B6 200 248/4500 2788 03/78-8/81 324
B6 2.8 E21 B6 218 265/5000 2788 9/81-1/83 209
B6 2.8/1 E30 B6/2 210 280/5000 2788 3/84-7/86 259
B6 3.5 E30 B10/2 261 346/4000 3430 11/85-7/87 92
B6 3.5 Kat. E30 B10/3 254 320/4000 3430 8/86-7/87 40
B6 3.5 Kat. E30 B10/5 254 320/4000 3430 11/87-12/90 87

B6 3.5 S Kat. E30 B10/5 254 320/4000 3430 11/87-12/90 62

The "office" of an Alpina B3 2.7

Manfred Laufer