1986 BMW Alpina B10 3.5 Saloon
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 3453cc|
Founded in 1965 by Burkard Bovensiepen, Alpina was a Bavarian-based tuner and race car builder who concentrated exclusively on BMW motor cars, recognised in Germany as a manufacturer in its own right since 1983. Focusing on bespoke luxury and high performance, Alpina began building a range of modified BMW road cars in the mid-1970s with its unique (and often complex) model identification, based on the 3-Series, 5-Series and 6-Series. By the mid-1980s, Alpina was competing directly with AMG – and BMW’s own M-Sport Division – to be the ultimate German autobahn burners. When BMW launched its second generation BMW 5-Series, codenamed E28, the executive-level model was an entirely new and significantly improved model from the outgoing E12. A superbly engineered sports saloon, the 5-Series featured redesigned suspension both front and rear to give better ride and handling, along with a reworked range of six-cylinder engines using the latest in fuel injection technology from Bosch. The range topping 535i featured a 3.5-litre M30 version of the silky smooth straight six engine developing nearly 220 horsepower and was available in either automatic or five-speed manual form. Improved build quality was another key area of improvement, along with a beautifully designed cabin that set new standards in both ergonomics and passenger comfort. Alpina transformed the standard 535i into the B10 in 1985, upping power to 261 bhp and torque to 345 Nm. This was achieved by redesigning both the cylinder head and combustion chambers, along with Mahle high compression pistons, a revised camshaft and new exhaust system. The Getrag five-speed gearbox was standard although many B10s were equipped with automatic transmissions for more relaxed cruising. The B10 also boasted upgraded brakes, unique 16-inch Alpina rims, stiffer suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and uprated springs. The bespoke cabin featured Alpina upholstery, Recaro sports seats, leather steering wheel and gearknob, while exterior enhancements included both front and rear spoilers plus Alpina’s signature pinstriping. Alpina claimed a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h, putting the B10 firmly in the mid-1980s supercar league and just 577 of the fabulous super saloons were made, a figure that includes its predecessor, the B9.