Why did YOU buy an Alpina?

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Why did YOU buy an Alpina?

Post by Charles » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:27 pm

Pottering back from a meeting this afternoon - well, pottering isn't quite the right description - and I got to thinking about why people buy particular cars. For some it's performance, others its visibility and others again its practicality or cost.

Each of us has our own reasons and so I began thinking about why Alpina owners became owners in the first place.

I'm sure there are so many reasons - for me its the exclusivity coupled with mind blowing performance and genuine grand tourer ability that made my mind up. Also, with my engineer's hat on, I just love the idea of highly engineered specialist equipment.

But why did YOU buy your Alpina?
Teacher of Chemistry and driver of ALPINAs - not necessarily in that order ;)
B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
Renault Grand Espace - not mine but the wife's!

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Post by Slamby » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:16 pm

I said to myself I always wanted to have a BMW at some stage, but there seemed little point to me in getting a small 4-cylinder engine, so I vowed to get a powerful one.

As my bone-jarring ride days are over, and I wanted something that was comfortable and not too sporty, the M3 didn't really appeal, and the 330i was a bit too ordinary.

To be honest though, I'd never really considered Alpina. I knew they existed, as I'd seen a 5 series driving around my home town when I was in college, but I'd never really looked into them.

The rental on the Lexus was coming up, and I was leaning towards a Golf 4-Motion, and then happened to pop down to the local car Hi-Fi/Security place. I knew the guys pretty well, and one of them was always changing cars every year and getting some interesting stuff like 911s, Maserratis, Renault Alpine etc.

He said he had a BMW Alpina at the moment, but was thinking about selling it and moving on. I had a look around it and thought "That's a smart looking car", and then read up on Alpina and really liked the ethos of what they were doing.

Style, comfort, power. Just love it. Not too flash, but very stylish and purposeful. Will poodle or cruise when you want it too, but is quite happy to "go" when required.

Not quite sure what more you could want from a car.

Oh, and it was my favourite colour. :lol:

I don't care that not everyone knows what it is. The spanners at the dealership were in raptures over it, and they see nice cars all the time. I know what it is, and a select few other people do too. That's the good bit.

Depreciation? Without it, I would't be able to afford one in the first place.

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Post by nixB10 » Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:22 am

Good question Charles.

Well I sort of bought mine by accident I suppose. I was looking for a replacement for my E39 523 (my first BMW). I had spent years driving uninvolving Mercs, plus SAABs but once I got my 523iSE I was smitten with the E39. So there I was browsing for a 528 or possibly a 540. M5? - nice but just too much of a jump pricewise. Then up crops an ad in the Exchange & Mart for a B10 3.3. Now I knew of Alpinas but always equated them to that 'Specialist' bracket and hence `expensive`but I took a look anyway. I knew the price of the car was good and the BM warranty and a bit of web searching swayed me to take a chance.
I so love having something a bit different. Its been a great experience. I am hooked. Don't even want an M5 anymore.
The Alpina fulfilled all my hopes and none of my fears materialised. It has been no more expensive to run than the 523. The only real downside is the insurance. I thought that I would keep it for a year maybe but nearly 3 years on and I'm still happy. Very happy. :)

I have had my car up for sale recently (unfortunatly I need the cash for other things) and have found this to be a surprisingly emotional time. The thought of parting with her fills me with dread but its good to see that most Alpina owners love their cars so I am sure she will go to a good home.

Would I buy another one??

Definitely and the sooner the better. :dance

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Post by Heuer » Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:21 pm

After having two 540i Tourings I went into Sytner to buy an M5. Bearing in mind this was when they had 1300 of the things sitting in a field in the UK the salesmen said "You can borrow one for three days, but you will hate it, especially with the mileage you do". "In two weeks you will be back wanting to change it - poor gearbox, fractious ride and no estate body". I was crestfallen but they said "follow us". In storage was their ex-demonstrator B10 V8 Touring. My then view of Alpina was 'medallion man car' with daft wheels but they gave me the keys and sent me off.

Within 5 minutes I was intrigued, within 10 minutes I was impressed, within 15 minutes I was smitten. Within 30 minutes it was mine!

After three years and 75k miles it it as good and solid as they day I bought it and never fails to impress - I love driving it. The B5 is faster but does not feel as special or bespoke and certainly does not ride/ handle as well. I keep thinking 'why am I buying the B5?'. Never been attached to a car before - weird experience.
B5 Touring - The Black One (gone)
Range Rover Sport TDV8
'97 Porsche 993 Carrera
'63 E-Type Roadster
'69 Lotus Elan S/E DHC

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Post by Charles B » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:03 pm

I was looking to move up to a cab after owning a new 320ci from new. Phoned Sytner's in sheffield to see what they had.Got chatting to salesman about likes dislikes etc. Said what i would rearly like was a Alpina cab ever since i saw one at the motershow prob 12 years ago,but alas they were always just the wrong side of what i was going to pay.He said he might have something to intrest me.Emailed me a pic of the car two mins later i had payed the deposit over the phone, went to look at it in the flesh 3 days later. Sod the extra few k over the price of the 330 cab sport there is no comparison. every time i sit in the car i feel special and that's good enough for me.It's always nice when someone knows about the car and makes the head swelling comment but if they dont who cares i know what im sat in. These cars dont come any better buy one and you wont regret it at all. You all know who you are :D :D :D .
Charles B.
Drive safe Be sure

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Alpina's are one special car

Post by Sunnyville » Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:51 am

Hi guys,
Just thought i would add my story to the list. I have noticed that a lot of alpina owners seem to stumble on them rather than actually looking to buy an alpina. It was that sort of thing for me to.
I used to own and drive an E36 328i sport, which was a fantastic car. Every time i picked up the keys it brought a smile to my face :D It looked and handled superb. After three years there seemed to be so many young guys buying the 318's and doin them up like M3's it was untrue. I didnt mind but it did get to the point where everyone looking at mine looked at it like they were looking at another Chav mobile :evil: I was also gettin a bit tired of them being 2"s of my rear and trying to give me a run for my money lololol.
Well i started to hunt for an E46 330 ci sport or a cab. I had been looking for some time and i had test driven a few but could not find that special car for me. The first 330 i drove was terrible! The engine rattled and whilst out on the test drive the sunroof broke. Not good :( Anyway i saw an advert for an E46 B3. I New of Alpina's but not enough to be able tell anyone exactly what the cars had had done. I started by doing some research right here on the forum. I even bought a couple of manuals of ebay. I spoke to the guy and he told me that I could view the car if interested. So i drove over to Chesterfield to have a look. I parked up next to the B3 and had a good look round her, amazing. She was ABSOLUTLEY imaculate. Everything was spot on with the car. It had been very well looked after and all the History was there. Unfortunatley there was no warranty with the car but it had ALL bills and receipts and even the original bill of sale. The more i chatted to the guy about it the more interested i was. You know what its like hehe. I think that when you find the right car you just know somehow.
I couldnt pick the B3 up for a month after i gave hime the deposit as i was selling mine and he was on holiday. That was the longest four weeks of my life.
The day i went over to pick her up was amazing. I just couldnt wait to see the car again. I was waiting to be picked up from the station and they arrived in the B3. The sight of it driving into the car park i will never forget. She was sparkling and it was like something special. Everyone was looking at the B3 :D I drove her home with such a big smile on my face.
I got stopped by an interested guy the day after i bought her asking about it. This has happened on many ocasions since and it still amazes me how little people know about Alpina's. Special doesnt seem to put these cars high enough.
The main reason that i bought the B3 is that i wanted something that you dont see every day. I havent seen one around where i live since owning her and probablly wont either. I can only recall ever seing one B3 E46 in my home town some years ago.
Sorry for ramblin on a bit there but just wanted to get the picture across.
I wouldnt sell her now for love or money :D :D

Cheers to the guys at Alpina


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Post by jezza » Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:18 am

I have had BMWs on and off for the last 20 years, starting with my E21 323i - this was the fastest 3 series available at the time and was a really special car! And oh how it could bite if you became too enthusiastic, as the wall of the corniche in the S of France and my front wing discovered.

This was followed more recently with the e34 535i Sport owned for over 8 years, I still regret selling, again a special car which was a real DRIVER'S car, loads of power (for its day) and a proper LSD (the last non M car to have one) so you could get the back out whenever you wanted, but much more controlable then the 323i.

I replaced this with an E39 540i, my first V8. The engine's effortless power and noise was intoxicating, and the refined drive was very impressive. But after a while I realised that this was not a driver's car, no LSD and an over active DSC that killed all power just as the fun was starting. Turning it off usually resulted in 1 wheel spinning away all power. The "adaptive" auto gearbox never changed gear when I wanted, and this adaptive behaviour meant I could not allow for its characteristics either. I searched around desperately for a solution, confused as to how the character of the cars had changed so much with apparently no comment from any journalists, who simply all called it the best exec saloon, presumably afraid or unable to voice a true opinion. The car was very acomplished, but ultimately boring and frustrating for the keener driver.

Talks to tuning specialist Birds revolved around them trying to make it handle and go much more like an ALPINA. Suddenly a light bulb came on and I started a 6 month search. I considered the E39 B10 3.3, it was very nice but I just could not go back to the 6 cylinder having sampled the V8, it had to be a B10 V8. That was 5 months ago and it was the right decision, the car is fantastic giving raw power/feel and comfort that no current standard BMW can give. And you can leave the DSC on and still have fun, it will allow some slip but reign things in only if you get too out of hand. The economy is also pretty stunning for a 347 bhp V8 auto, regularly giving around 24mpg with enthusiastic driving. Once again, the car has that special feel.
2000 ALPINA B10 V8
2000 E39 540i (sold)
1989 E34 535i Sport (sold)
E21 323i (sold)

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Post by b10liquid » Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:43 pm

I remember seeing an E34 B10 3.5 featured in Performance BMW.

It just looked..."right"

Was all geared up to buy a 3.8 M5 when I had an epiphany. I had reached a point in my life where I was fully appreciating the finer things. I've always opted for excellent examples of whatever folly I pursued, hi-fi, guitars etc and thought the M5 had it (which it does in many areas)

As good as the M5 is, it never "communicated" with me. Fantastic drive, superb performance and beautiful aesthetic. The B10 however, seemed more at ease with itself. Comfortable in the fact that it didn't have to show off any particular aspect of its performance (see aerodynamic addenda). I guess I resonate with the idea of having an apparent calm and serene disposition, with the ability to shatter any preconceived idea when the mood takes me. The usual cliches of "wolf in sheeps clothing" and iron fist in a velvet glove" spring to mind. They have an aenima seldom felt in other cars
Current fleet:
1988 E34 Alpina B10 3.5
1998 E31 BMW 840Ci Sport Individual
2014 VW Passat Estate

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Post by peterB10 » Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:53 pm

a friend had a bi-turbo, and remember nearly soiling myself the first time he took me out in it! :oops:

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Post by silver » Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:17 pm

Power, refinement, individuality, superb secondhand price. Oh, and 4 doors!
(It's an E46 B3 3.3)

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Post by Simmer » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:32 pm

there was no M available at the time, so it was a no brainer (Roadster S)

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Post by Gimlet » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:34 pm

Almost by accident ....
After having a TVR Chimaera and a Tuscan both bought second hand I then purchased a new Tuscan.
In 6 months of ownership it went back to the Factory at Blackpool twice and to the Dealer on four occasions, each time with the same fault.
It got to the stage whare SWMBO would not get into the car.
We had a European holiday all booked and paid for but we dare not use the Tuscan, and I only had 4 weeks to find an alternative car.
I decided to get out of the "supercar" market and buy a "normal" Z4 to get us through the summer.
I specced it on the Internet and went to Sytners to place an order.
At this point I was asked why I wanted the 3.0L, and I replied that it was the biggest Engine available.
I was then introduced to Alpina via a brochure and the Internet. I ordered the Roadster S without having seen one in the flesh and took delivery 2 weeks later of No.: 035.

Best move I ever made ... I love it and it won't be my last Alpina purchase though I've no plans to trade it in. I will need a replacement for my Volvo in 12 - 18 months and I will be looking at the options available then with a view to running two. (Adiesel would be viewed favourably as I drive circa 40K business miles per year)

On a positive though reference the Tuscan .......
The Tracker worked ... each time they collected the car and put it on a low-loader I received a call to tell me it was being "lifted".

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Post by B9-200 » Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:12 pm

I had owned my 1985 E28 528i for nearly 10 years, and I had been exhibiting her at various shows and rallies for the last three of those. My original plan was to buy an E30 325i as my daily driver, and “retire” the 528i, keeping it just as a show car and for weekends.

However, my fellow 5-series owning friend Steve Offley had recently bought his second E28, an M5, and after taking me out for a drive in it I found myself thinking “I would really like one of these!” Unfortunately, or so I thought at the time, I realised that a good one was going to be beyond my finances.

It was then that I saw an advert in BMW Car magazine for a 1983 Alpina B9 3.5. This stirred my interest in Alpina, and on reading reports and road tests from my 5-series Gold Portfolio book, I realised that this car had a very similar performance to the M5, but at a price that I could afford.

In the 6 years that I have owned it I have thoroughly enjoyed owning and driving my Alpina, not only for the way it drives but also for the attention it receives at shows and rallies, which is a great boost to my ego. The exclusivity of this car and other peoples’ interest in it sure makes me feel glad that I couldn’t afford that M5!

1983 Alpina B9 3.5 (#200) (March 2005 Total BMW)
1985 BMW E28 528i
2002 BMW E39 530i Sport Auto
1981 BMW E21 323i (RIP)

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Post by newey » Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:28 pm

Hi All

It was quite simple really. I had been looking at the possibility of a 5 series for a while. This was a bit of a step up from a Vauxhall Vectra SRi. There isn't a little smiley yellow face to insert that means 'I hate my dull motor!'

It really had to be a 5 series as I wanted a larger car and had to have four doors. The only problem was that I didn't want what some friends had described as an 'old mans car' as I was only 29. (After getting married and having baby I already felt that I was aging prematurely! :roll: )

Like some of the other amounst us I had thought that an Alpina would be too expensive both to buy and to insure. I had a quick look on the Autotrader just to satisfy my curiosity. I found a couple and was surprised that they were not that expensive (it was 6 years old, but I didn't see that as problem with a quality marque). It was a 1999 plate B10 3.3 with 67k on the clock for just under £13k.
I went to see it, having told my wife that I was just going for a look. After driving it I then rang the wife and explained that I was going to buy it. (I JUST HAD TO HAVE IT!!!) She then chose not to speak to me for a few days. That was always going to blow over in a couple of days and I had the car I wanted. I have owned it for about 8 months and it has not missed a beat and I really love it.

Also, the 'old mans car' idea seems to have gone out the window as my friends have now discovered that the 'old man' can embarrass a 'younger' 325ci.

At the moment I can't see any reason for not going for another Alpina the next time around.


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Post by daveboy » Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:41 pm

having owned my first bmw for two years which was a e36 328 sport i decided it was time for a change i always fancied the m5 which is a great motorcar but then i thought i like the rarity of an alpina having a test drive in a b10 v8 from north oxford garage made my mind up also scaring poor old geoffrey the salesman to death i then knew i would need one of these.didnt buy the one from north oxford but bought a b10 v8 in reading havent looked back,everytime i get in it i know why i bought this,cant wait for the b5 to come down in price now :lol:

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