Alpina celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, and has released a video to shed a little more light on the company’s transition from small tuning firm to one of the world’s most respected BMW tuners.
It’s earned that respect by creating some impressive cars – occasionally offering performance and handling (and ride quality) capable of worrying BMW’s official M-branded vehicles.
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At the same time, Alpina has kept pace with modern trends – creating its first diesel model in the late 1990s with the D10 Biturbo (and popularised in 2006 with the 320d-based D3), and more recently launching the X3-based XD3 to plug a gap in the luxury crossover market.
On a purely aesthetic basis, there’s also something hugely satisfying about Alpina’s traditional combination of arch-filling multi-spoke alloy wheels, demur colour schemes and the brand’s distinctive ‘Deko Set’ stripes.
The company’s latest video covers Alpina’s history, starting with its creation by Burkard Bovensiepen. Bovensiepen first began tuning the BMW 1500, dropping in an extra carburettor to increase the car’s power.
From there, the company went racing – even signing Niki Lauda as a driver, and later Hans Stuck – and achieved plenty of success in touring car events.
On the road, Alpina was an early adopter of turbocharging, and is widely known for its early take on race-style gearchanging too, with the Switchtronic steering wheel button system.
Alpina’s high-performance, luxurious take on BMWs continues to this day, as does its involvement in racing. You can see this – and more – in Alpina’s video above.