BMW’s Haus- und Hof-Tuner Alpina is well-known for particularly successful arrangements of the topic sport sedan. Fans are anxiously waiting for the version from Buchloe when a new Munich model is released – so far in vain for the models with front-wheel drive architecture. And that will remain so.
This has now been clarified by Andy Bovensiepen, one of the managing directors responsible for sales, development and racing. In the conversation with the Australian magazine Motoring, however, he did not cite image reasons, as is the case with the M GmbH, but simply development costs that would not pay off.
“They are already very high and will continue to rise due to emissions regulations. It’s better for us to stay with longitudinal engines with ZF transmissions, “explained Bovensiepen. “We prefer to keep our fingers off the front-wheel drive architecture.” Alpina basically uses engines in several models. “For example, we had the V8 in the 6th, 5th and 7th. In the diesels we have the same engines in X3 and 5 Series. Only the six-cylinder petrol engine we have in 3 and 4.
“No money can be made in the segment”
The front-wheel drive architecture would complicate development. “Alone because we would have to cooperate with a new gear manufacturer.” Above all, it is difficult in this price-sensitive segment, high-priced cars for sale. And somehow the development costs would have to come in again.
Incidentally, no Alpina version of the BMW 2 Series coupe is planned, although it still has rear-wheel drive. “That would be interesting, but too expensive. The BMW M2 already looks very cool, with many modifications to the body. But we can not afford such an effort in the face of lower quantities. “
Front-wheel drive and the image problem
With the cost argument, the rejection of the front-wheel drive (and the all-wheel-drive derivatives) sounds very reasonable. M GmbH argues very differently: one simply can not agree with the brand image. Thus, the BMW subsidiary continues the line that was once law in the parent company – and has led to cheeky ads, in which one made fun of front-wheel drive: