Opinion: BMW has bought Alpina. Where does it go from here?
The BMW Group has now acquired the rights to long-time BMW tuner brand, Alpina.
This makes us more than a little worried. BMW has said that the current production process (Alpina models pre-assembled at BMW plants before being sent to the tuner for discreet but exceptionally-stylish engine, chassis, body panel and interior mods) will continue until 2025, but after that the current line-up will be discontinued and BMW will have free rein over Alpina’s future.
So, what do we think BMW will do with the name? Here are just a few suggestions, some of which we like slightly more than others…
Alpina – the trim line
This would be a cruel fate for a brand that once gave the world things like the pinstriped, V12-engined B12 5.7 Coupe. Alpina prides itself on understated performance. If you wanted the speed of an M car but didn’t fancy the shouty styling and firm ride, our friends in Buchloe were there with a modified 3 or 5 Series.
A 2 Series Active Tourer Alpina Edition with different wheels and some green and blue stitching? No thanks.
Alpina – the all-electric sub-brand
Credit to our commentors on the original news story for this one. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if BMW decided to turn Alpina into an all-electric sub-brand that sells stylish, bespoke EVs à la Polestar. Let’s just hope they keep the current Alpina stylists rather than transferring the work over to BMW’s design department…
Alpina – the Singer-style in-house restomodders
Here’s where we reckon Alpina’s future should lie. The Buchloe brand loves tuning engines, so why not set it up as a Singer-style restomod company? We know Alpina can stitch together a glorious interior, and we know the world is in love with old BMWs right now. Surely it’d be the perfect fit? BMW just needs to buy back every E30 on the market, then it can set about Alpin-ifying (that’s a word, we checked) each one.
Alpina – the race team
Yes, we know that BMW’s M division is fairly competent on a racetrack – it’s even planning a return to Le Mans in 2023 – but wouldn’t it be great if the bosses in Bavaria allowed Alpina to get back on track as a factory-backed race team?
The company raced in touring car classes in the late 1960s and throughout the 70s, with drivers like Derek Bell, James Hunt, Jacky Ickx, Niki Lauda and Hans Stuck all piloting Alpinas at different points. It then left racing for a decade, before returning with a gorgeously green, Michelin-sponsored E30 M3 DTM.
Any other suggestions for the future of Alpina, folks?