Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH & Co. KG is an automobile manufacturing company based in Buchloe, in the Ostallgäu district of Bavaria, Germany that develops and sells high-performance versions of BMW and Mini cars.
Alpina works closely with BMW and their processes are integrated into BMW's production lines, thus Alpina is recognized by the German Ministry of Transport as an automobile manufacturer, in contrast to other performance specialists, which are aftermarket tuners. For instance, the Alpina B7 is produced at the same assembly line in Dingolfing, Germany (BMW Plant Dingolfing), as BMW's own 7 Series. The B7's twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 is assembled by hand at Alpina's facility in Buchloe, Germany, before being shipped to BMW for installation, and the assembled vehicle is then sent back to Alpina for finishing touches.
The firm was founded in 1965 by Burkard Bovensiepen, a member of the Bovensiepen family of industrialists.
On March 10th, 2022, BMW announced its intention to acquire Alpina.
Since 1983, Alpina has been recognized by the German Federal Ministry of Transport as an automobile manufacturer, thus Alpina-built cars are branded and registered as Alpina instead of BMW, although an Alpina can be serviced at all BMW dealerships, and is fully covered if a warranty issue arises. Alpina automobiles are also sold at some BMW dealerships.
Alpina's roots can be traced back to 1962, when Burkard Bovensiepen developed a Weber dual carburetor for the BMW 1500. This carburetor was well received by the automotive press, as well as BMW's own sales boss Paul G. Hahnemann. In 1964, BMW certified the quality of this Alpina product by awarding BMW vehicles fitted with the Alpina system the full factory guarantee.
Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen KG was established on 1 January 1965 in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria. The company had eight employees.
Although Alpina started by producing typewriters, the original Alpina ceased to exist at the end of the 1960s in their attempt to move into the textile industry. In 1965, Burkard established a BMW tuning business, following his success with investments in the stock market. He started the tuning business in an outbuilding of the original Alpina typewriter factory. The company worked on carburetors and revised cylinder heads. By 1970, with seventy employees, the original facility changed locations from Kaufbeuren to Buchloe.
In its first years, Alpina established its core competency by tuning carburetors and crankshafts to extract more power from BMW engines, elements that eventually defined the company's logo, which came into being in 1967.
Between 1968 and 1977, Alpina cars did very well in competition. The highlight was in 1970, when the team's cars won the European Touring Car Championship, the German Hillclimb Championship, rally and track racing championships, and the prestigious Spa 24 Hours.
Alpina officially withdrew from racing in 1988 because of capacity limitations and restrictions. Tied to this was the decision to begin production of a new set of BMW Alpina automobiles.
Distinctive features of Alpina vehicles are the fact that these models are literally "manu-factured", meaning "hand-made". The production process switches between fine tuning the engine, delivering it to the BMW plant, marrying engine and body there, and bringing it back to Alpina for interior upgrade with Alpina's specific components, again all in a hand-made process that allows only limited production numbers. Besides engine and interior, Alpina also optimizes the transmission and installs steering wheel-mounted button shifters (called Switch-Tronic) on most cars, with paddle shifters used on the B4 S Edition 99. This has historic reasons, since Alpina was the first to mount shifting buttons on the steering wheel.Distinguishing marks from the exterior are the 20-spoke alloy wheels with hidden valves under the center cap and the "Alpina Blue" or "Alpina Green" metallic exterior colours. Inside, "the finest materials are used to fabricate the exclusive feel". A typical blue and green pattern is often used on interior parts such as stitching on leather. A thin, pinstriped style outside body decor set in gold or silver is also a hallmark of older Alpina cars which is an option on new Alpina models. A metal plate inside also proves the heritage and the serial number of the car.