Alpina says it has no interest messing around with BMW models underpinned by the company’s new front-wheel drive UKL architecture.
This transverse-engine platform was introduced back in 2014 in the Mini Hatch and has gone on to be the basis of front- and all-wheel drive BMWs, including the 2-Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer, X1, and X2. The 1-Series was also recently updated with the same architecture.
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Talking to Motoring at the recently Australian launch of the B5 Touring, Alpina boss Andreas Bovensiepen said it wouldn’t make financial sense for them to start building pumped-up versions of Munich’s new crop of FWD models.
“No, it’s not our plan. Development costs are very high and [they’re] still going up with the new emissions rules. So for us it’s better to stay with inline [powertrains], the ZF gearbox,” he said. “We like to use one engine in several cars. For example, we have the V8 engine we had in the past, in the 6 Series, in the 5 Series and in the 7 Series. With our diesels we have the same engines in the X3, [and] in the 5 Series, and only the six-cylinder petrol [engine] in the 3 Series and 4 Series.”
One area of particular concern for Alpina is that the front-wheel drive models use Aisin transmissions from Japan rather than those sourced from ZF, meaning the company would have to work with a new gearbox supplier. Moreover, it would be difficult to make a profit in this lower-priced segment of the market, so they prefer to stick to the tried and tested practice of tuning RWD Bimmers that has, so far, served them extremely well.