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German car manufacturer BMW is expanding and can now add tuner and collaborator Alpina to its growing list of brands. A recent press release has revealed that BMW has purchased Alpina, and now one of the coolest tuners on the planet will be owned by the famed German company. 

The relationship between Alpina and BMW goes back over 50 years, and its modified BMWs are some of the fastest and most exclusive cars on the planet. Here is everything you need to know about Alpina and the future of the relationship with BMW.

The history of Alpina stretches back 57 years

A close up image of Alpina's brand emblem
The Alpina brand badge | Karol Serewis via Getty Images

Alpina, as a company, began in 1965. The tuning side of the business initially focused on revised carburetors and cylinder heads for BMW automobiles. The company started with just eight employees, but within five years had expanded to 70. 

Tuning carburetors, cylinder heads, and crankshafts for more power eventually led the company into motorsport, and Alpina found a lot of success in touring car, rally, and endurance racing. The company regularly competed in several championships from 1968 to 1988, when it officially withdrew from racing.

In 1983, Alpina became an independent automobile manufacturer. That meant that cars carrying the Alpina brand are Alpinas and not BMWs. This is similar to the relationship between RUF and Porsche. RUF uses Porsche components and is its own brand. 

Alpina cars are easily distinguishable from their BMW counterparts by the distinctive multi-spoke wheels and pinstriping details.

The current purchase of Alpina by BMW could keep the brand alive for many years to come

A 3/4 front view of a green Alpina B8 sedan driving on a tree-lined road.
2022 Alpina B8 | BMW Group

Alpina is a small company and sells a tiny number of cars per year. In 2021, the company sold around 2,000 vehicles globally compared to BMWs sales of 2.5 million. Because of the low sales volume, there is an ever-present danger that Alpina may not survive the current challenges to the automotive industry. 

Alpina’s vehicles are assembled on BMW’s production line before being shipped to the tuner’s workshop for engine, interior, and chassis modifications. As reported by Top Gear, BMW’s purchase agreement would keep this same arrangement until the end of 2025. After 2025, Alpina’s model line-up will be discontinued, and a new strategy for the company will be mapped out.

Alpina co-director Andreas Bovensiepen, as quoted by Top Gear, had this to say about the deal, “We recognized the challenges facing the automotive industry early on and are now setting the right course for Alpina and for our family firm.

“This marks the beginning of a new chapter. Both the Alpina brand and our company are extremely desirable. We made a conscious decision not to sell Alpina to just any manufacturer because BMW and Alpina have worked together and trusted one another for decades. That is why it is the right decision strategically for the Alpina brand to be managed by the BMW Group in the future.”

What Alpina vehicles are available in the U.S.?

Alpina currently produces 12 vehicles based on BMW sedans, coupes, wagons, and SUVs. Of those 12, only three are available for U.S. customers. Those three are the B7 sedan, XB7 SUV, and B8 sedan.

For car buyers seeking the ultimate version of the ultimate driving machine, the Alpina models offer more power, better performance, more luxury, and a unique design. All of Alpina’s cars are hand-made by a small team of engineers and craftsmen in Buchloe, Germany.

BMW’s purchase of Alpina continues the trend of car brand consolidation and mergers. This won’t affect Alpina production, at least until 2025, and BMW will continue to offer Alpina models through their dealership network. How BMW plans to integrate the brand into its portfolio beyond 2025 is still a mystery. BMW could continue to keep Alpina cars as a sub-brand or incorporate Alpina as a trim option in the same way the BMW offers M Sport and M Performance trim packages. 

Whatever comes out of BMW’s purchase of Alpina, we’re just happy that the brand and their high-performance cars will survive for several years to come. 


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