BMW ALPINA Roadster V8 (Z8 E52) Quick look
Alpina, a company founded in 1965 years by Burkard Bovensiepen, has graduated from a simple tuning shop to the most successful contender in Touring Car racing. What began in the late 1960s and 1970s has evolved into the manufacturer of some of the world’s finest cars, always based on BMW production models.
The Z8-based Roadster V8 marks the entry of Alpina into the American market and will be sold through BMW dealers. It is also the first Alpina model that is less powerful than the model from which it was developed, and there is good reason for it. The M5 4.9-liter engine powering the BMW Z8 develops 394 bhp at a high 6600 rpm through eight throttle valves, all of which Bovensiepen considers inadequate for an automatic car.
Consequently, he preferred to use the 4.6-liter V-8 of the BMW X5S as a base and develop it to increase its power and torque. It is stroked by the use of the M5 crankshaft to raise the capacity to 4837 cc and features new camshafts, special Mahle pistons and connecting rods, valves to Alpina specifications, polished ports and a freer-breathing intake system.
The result is 375 bhp at only 5800 rpm and, in spite of its 104-cc-lower capacity compared with the M5, the engine develops a remarkable maximum torque of 383 lb.-ft. at 3800 rpm, 15 lb.-ft. more than the M5 engine at the same speed and with a torque curve better suited to the ZF 5-speed adaptive automatic transmission.
Despite the automatic transmission and the “loss” of 19 horsepower compared with the standard BMW Z8’s, the Alpina is still a very fast car and fully a match for the Z8 on country roads if the Switchtronic is used to make the best of the shifts under power. It would not be quite a match on a traffic-less Autobahn because, for safety reasons, Alpina has chosen to electronically limit the maximum speed to 161 mph, above which the aerodynamic lift on the front end is said to affect straight-line stability.
In the U.S. the Alpina Roadster V8 will be offered at $137,595, including full maintenance by BMW for four years or 50,000 miles.