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Back in the 1980s, the German luxury car scene was still taking shape, and M and AMG hadn’t quite gained their footing with retail customers yet. That said, BMW tuner extraordinaire, Alpina, which is actually registered as an official automaker in Germany, was in full swing modifying Bimmers and selling them under its own nameplate. One said machine was the 1986 Alpina B6 3.5, which was a BMW 325i body and chassis with a 3.5-liter engine, tons of performance goodies, and suspension system that was great for the era.

With one of these icons of the German performance world for sale on Ebay, I decided to take a look back at the 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 and give you a rundown of just how amazing it was. I also took a look at how it compared to its main rival, the Brabus 190E 3.6.

Click "Continue Reading" to read my full review of the 1986 Alpina B6 3.5.

  • 1986 Alpina B6 3.5
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    260 @ 5800
  • Torque @ RPM:
    255 @ 4000
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:


1986 Alpina B6 3.5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 618226
The looks of the Alpina may be a bit “boy racer” by today’s standards, but for Bimmers of the 1980s, this was actually a good look.

BMWs of the 1980s were very simple machines on the outside, so there wasn’t much for Alpina to work with once it got its hands on the 3 Series. Changing the base 325i into the raging B6 3.5 included the installation of new front and rear spoilers, the optional Alpina stripes, the required “Alpina” and “B6 3.5” badges to the front and rear, and a new set of 16-by-7-inch wheels shod in 205/50R16 rubber.

The looks of the Alpina may be a bit “boy racer” by today’s standards, but for Bimmers of the 1980s, this was actually a good look. One thing that may catch you off-guard is the striking contrast from the front to the rear, as the front features that massive lip and the rear, on the other hand, has a standard Bimmer bumper. Again, this unbalanced look wasn’t uncommon among BMW tuners in the era.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 170.3 In.
Width 64.8 In.
Height 53.3 In.
Wheelbase 101.2 In.
Front Track 55.9 In
Rear Track 56.3 In.
Curb Weight 2,833 Lbs.


1986 Alpina B6 3.5 Interior
- image 618221

Like the outside, the 325i that the B6 3.5 is based upon was not too advanced, so all Alpina could do to update the interior is add in a set of Recaro seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an updated speedometer, and digital instruments in between the air vents in the dash.

Otherwise, this is just a standard 1986 325i, which means it is rather barebones by today’s standards.


1986 Alpina B6 3.5 Interior
- image 618217
This drivetrain combined to get the Alpina to 60 mph in a just six seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph.

Under the hood of the 1986 325i was a 2.5-liter straight-six with 169 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. While this was quite good for the era, it just wasn’t good enough for Alpina, so it ripped this engine out and installed a 3.5-liter straight-six BMW engine. In its standard tune, this 3.5-liter was impressive at 218 horses and 214 pound-feet of torque, but Alpina updated the cylinder head, installed high-compression Mahle pistons, added a revised camshaft, and fitted the little beast with a free-flowing exhaust to bump the output to 260 horses and 255 pound-feet of twist.

There was an optional catalytic convertor for the Alpina that dropped the output to 254 horsepower. Where’s the fun in that?

Delivering the power to the rear axle was a five-speed Getrag manual transmission.

This drivetrain combined to get the Alpina to 60 mph in a just six seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph. With the optional cat, the sprint time increased to 6.6 seconds and the top speed fell to 153 mph, which were both still very good for the era.

Handling the handling was a set of Bilstein shocks and progressive springs up front, while the rear end retained its standard 325i setup. Braking duties were the responsibility of ventilated disc brakes up front.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 3.5-Liter I-6
Output (HP @ RPM) 260 @ 5,800
Torque (LB-FT @ RPM) 255 @ 4,000
Transmission Five-Speed Getrag
Acceleration (0-60 MPH) 6 Sec (6.6 Sec w/ Cat)
Top Speed 155 MPH (153 MPH w/ Cat)


1986 Alpina B6 3.5 Exterior
- image 618224

I couldn’t quite find the original MSRP for the 1986 Alpina B6 3.5, but there are a few here and there that have popped up for sale in the U.S. The latest one is for sale on Ebay for a “Buy it Now” price of $62,000. That’s an eye-popping number to say the least, and I have my doubts that this car will bring it.


Brabus 190E 3.6

no article High Resolution Exterior
- image 618294

With AMG not under Mercedes ownership at the time, Brabus was to MB what Alpina was to BMW, in a way. The best competition the B6 3.5 had was from the Brabus-tuned 1986 190E 3.6. With a 3.6-liter six-cylinder tuned to 241 horsepower, the 190 3.6 was an insane sedan.

While there is not much information to go on, the 1988 3.6S model hit 62 mph in 6.3 seconds with 268 horses, so I would assume a 6.6-second sprint would be a good estimate for the 1986 190E 3.6


1986 Alpina B6 3.5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 618215

The Alpina B6 3.5 was an incredible machine for its time. Additionally, its limited numbers make it highly desirable, particularly here in the U.S., as the one on Ebay is claimed to be the only one known to exist in the America. The fact of the matter is that despite being fast for its era, super-rare, and a cool conversation piece, is it really worth bypassing a new M3 to get? That is a decision only you could make. I know what I’d do.

  • Leave it
    • Could get a 2015 M3 instead
    • Nowhere near today’s standards for handling
    • Good luck finding parts

Source: eBay

Justin Cupler
Justin Cupler
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