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BMW’s Alpina brand launches in Australia
Fettled BMW 3 and 4 Series part of first wave of Alpina’s Australian introduction
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25 Nov 2016
By TUNG NGUYEN
BMW tuning house Alpina has launched in Australia with order books open for its 3 and 4 Series-based B3 and B4 twin-turbo mid-sizers starting from $155,900 before on-road costs.
With four models available in sedan, coupe, Touring and convertible body styles, stock allocation for Australia will be limited to around 50 vehicles in the first year to gauge interest in the high-end Alpina brand.
Alpina shares a very close and unique relationship with BMW with some of its parts being integrated and installed on production lines, but it was Melbourne-based The In Motion Group who reached out to the German tuning company to bring the brand Down Under.
However, Doncaster BMW and The In Motion Group managing director Ingo Reisch said the support of BMW Australia has been integral to introducing Alpina to Australia and that all servicing would be handled at BMW centres.
“We realised doing this as just The In Motion Group won’t work, so we are now, in conjunction with BMW, the importer of the product, we then distribute that to our dedicated BMW selected dealers, which is also in conjunction with BMW Australia and Alpina,” he said.
“BMW Australia made it work, they could have made it very difficult, but they allowed us to do that and now we have a tri-contract in place, obviously between us BMW and Alpina.”
Mr Reisch said customers wanting to service an Alpina would not be limited to a handful of dealerships around the country.
“All the servicing can be done in any BMW service centre, every Alpina runs two chassis numbers, one is an Alpina chassis number, and the other is a crossed out reference chassis number to BMW production and all the computer diagnostics works with our standard service facilities,” he said.
While global production numbers for Alpina have reached up to 1700 vehicles annually, Australian numbers are expected to remain low while the brand finds its footing.
Alpina sales manager for Australia, China and Singapore Daniela Schmid said there are some cars already in Australia ready to driveaway, but the company would need about a six-month lead time on new orders.
“In Australia, we have for now around 20 cars at the moment, more to come next year,” she said.
“We have got some stock here at the different dealerships that are already available for sale, they are nearly fully specced, so there is not much more you can add to it, but of course if you want to have an individual interior with the Lavalina leather, which takes us at least one week to do the complete interior, if you want to have a specific colour combination, interior and exterior, it would be late April to May because you have to think of long transport times, and BMW is involved in production and Alpina, so there is transport times to the different factories.
“If you really want a bespoke Alpina which is not already here, the car would be arriving in Australia around end of April to May.”
Opening the range is the $155,900 B3 sedan – priced at a $16,285 premium over BMW’s M3 sportscar – while opting for the B3 Touring moves prices up to $160,900.
Both B3 models are powered by a 301kW/600Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six that will propel the luxury sedan from zero to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds, with the wagon following closely behind at 4.4s.
By comparison, BMW’s M3 and M4 produces 317kW/550Nm and will sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.3 and 4.1s respectively, however, Alpina models are tuned more for comfortable grand touring than track performance.
Based on last year’s 335i, changes under the bonnet include the introduction of a second turbocharger, revised cooling systems, optimised air intakes and a forged steel crankshaft.
The Bavarian-based tuning firm has also tweaked the suspension with its own adaptive sports system with damper control which “has been recalibrated to provide softer compress and stiffer rebound” for “excellent bump absorption”, according to Alpina.
A retuned eight-speed automatic with new software for smoother gear changes sends power the rear wheels and the B3 will return a fuel economy rating of 7.6 litres per 100km in the sedan and 7.7L/100km in the wagon.
From the outside, the Alpina is easily distinguished by a new front splitter, Akrapovic quad-tipped exhaust, rear spoiler, signature 20-spoke wheels and branded badging throughout.
Inside, Alpina has fitted its logo to the seats and door sills, and also changed the instrumentation to blue, while also covering the steering wheel with hand-stitched Lavalina leather.
Moving to the 435i-based B4 coupe and convertible lifts pricing to $160,900 and $170,900 respectively with two-door Alpinas utilising the same 301kW/600Nm powertrain.
However, while power and torque figures are the same, the B4 is quicker to accelerate from 0-100km/h with the coupe achieving a 4.2s sprint time and the convertible covering the same distance in 4.5s.
Fuel consumption in the coupe is 7.6L/100km, while the convertible is the thirstiest Alpina at 8.0L/100km.
Standard equipment across the Alpina range includes a head-up display, radar cruise control, automatic headlights, Alpina-branded floor mats, digital radio, premium Harman/Kardon sound system, heated front seats, surround-view cameras and a unique Alpina production plaque.
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