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As distinct from a number of renowned car manufacturers, Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH can boast neither a high volume of production nor a footprint across the world. Despite those facts, this German-based company has managed to prove itself as a top-tier producer of luxurious vehicles. Its longstanding cooperation with BMW permanently yields fruits which are seen in the output of all new sedans and SUVs.
Alpina was established in 1956 by an industrialist Burkard Bovensiepen. Initially, the company specialized in the design of typewriters, but further on it settled down to BMW tuning business, developing carburetors and cylinder heads. A few years later the maker started producing own cars on BMW platform. The move followed by decades of successful performance in major sports racing competitions, including titles in the European Touring Car Championship, Spa 24 Hours and Hillclimb Championship.
Currently, Alpina is headquartered from Buchloe, Bavaria. It is acknowledged by the German Ministry of Transport as a car manufacturer rather than a tuner. As of 2014, the brand has broken its personal record, selling 1700 vehicles per year. The lion’s share of the sales volume belongs to Germany (600 units); the second and third places are given to the USA and Japanese markets (approximately 400 units per each).
One of the most alluring advantages ascribed to Alpina vehicles is the possibility for a customer to configure a car from scratch. The customer is supposed to be a creative designer who shapes his/her four-wheeled assistant at own discretion; he is privileged to select a color scheme, interior looks, upholstery, some additional doo-dads, etc.
The other distinctive feature that is a characteristic of Alpina solutions is an absolute safety. Each and every vehicle, rolling of the production line, undergoes a thorough testing. Besides, the team of engineers exercises not only ready-made units, but also particular parts (transmission, brakes, damping components, tyres, engine) to ensure the utmost level of protection while driving.
Few people know that Alpina is a standalone car brand with individual facilities and research workforce. The majority believe wrongly that this is just a model line of proper BMW’s inventory. Indeed, BMW is an eminent parent and a partner of Alpina, but with a more versatile target audience and more markets worldwide.
Alpina vehicles are differentiated from BMW model range by:
- the application of a patented metallic paint ‘Alpina Blue’;
- the usage of expensive materials to create luxurious interior environment;
- the implementation of pinstriped style for the exterior design;
- the integration of automatic transmissions.
Almost from the origins, Alpina gave a test of quality in motor racing. During 1968-1977 the team took part in all major European competitions, including Touring Car race and Europea. Nonetheless, after a string of successful years, the management has decided to cease the development of racing vehicles, focusing on the design of road cars.
A long-awaited comeback to the international arena happened only in 2009. The team introduced B6 GT3 racing car and settled down to the conquest of Olympus. Since 2010 the company has been supporting customer teams rather than working on the starting grid. As of today, the automaker does not compete with its own factory team. Yet, it offers four proprietary B6 GT3 models for a race track with customer teams.
Nowadays Alpina offers a range of vehicles for connoisseurs of performance, comfort and drive. The list of available models consists of:
- D3 – Bi-Turbo sedan, based on BMW F30/F31;
- D4 – Bi-Turbo coupe, based on BMW F32;
- D5 – Bi-Turbo sedan, based on BMW F10/F11 5 series
- B3 – Bi-Turbo saloon and touring, 8-speed automatic transmission;
- B4 – Bi-Turbo coupe/convertible, switch-tronic automatic transmission;
- XD3 – Bi-Turbo, based on BMW F25 X3;
- B6 – Bi-Turbo coupe/convertible and Edition 50, based on BMW F12/F13 and BMW F06 respectively;
- B7 – Bi-Turbo saloon, based on BMW F01 7 series.