Alpina Could Develop Hybrid Model
Alpina takes BMWs and transforms them into very a specific type of automobile. Comfortable but effortlessly fast. Cossetting but sporty. Discreet but instantly recognizable by connoisseurs. They even put an automatic transmission in a 2000-2003 BMW Z8 for god’s sake. Now the company could be looking to apply its unique formula to BMW’s hybrid models.
“Hybrid technology is advancing quickly. We’re now seeing what I’d call ‘second-generation’ hybrids and EVs, like the BMW i8, and it’s becoming more interesting,” Alpina CEO Andy Bovensiepen told Autocar at the company’s recent 50th anniversary celebration.
Bovensiepen went on to emphasize that performance and daily drivability are still priorities for the company, but that previous concerns about hybrid technology have been all but eliminated. Previous concerns dealt mainly with battery life. Alpina’s are known as long-distance grand tourers, so a flat battery at the end of a 200-mile drive was unacceptable.
Once the decision is made to build a hybrid Alpina, things could start moving very quickly. “If we have a good technical base of a car from BMW and we also see the sales figures taking off, then we could have a car ready within two years,” said Bovensiepen. He also emphasized that Alpina would continue improving its lineup of six- and eight-cylinder gasoline and six-cylinder diesel engines.
Note: Future Alpina B7 rendering pictured here.
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Why it matters
Alpina is typically known for building torque-happy gasoline and diesel engines that propel its cars to alarming speeds with minimal drama. It’s a philosophy that torque-on-demand electric engines could complement nicely and one that would be fairly easy to implement.
The tricky part would come with calibrating the hybrid system with the new power curves, but Alpina’s close relationship with BMW should expedite things.
With a drivetrain consisting of a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six producing 306 horsepower and a 55 horsepower electric motor, BMW’s 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Series and 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Series are already fairly performance-minded.. Total system output is a very un-Prius-like and very potent 340 horsepower.
Alpina’s 410-horsepower twin-turbo gasoline straight six and torqy 350-horspower twin-turbo diesel straight six both displace 3.0 liters as well, so they should slot right into both cars.
The tricky part would be calibrating the hybrid systems with the new power curves, but Alpina’s close relationship with BMW should expedite things.
Alpina engines are currently installed on BMW assembly lines and the cars are then shipped back to Alpina for finishing touches.