2003 BMW AlpinaRoadster V8
Year of manufacture2003
- One of just 450 examples delivered to the US
- Serial no. 341 of 555 total examples
- Showing less than 10,000 original miles from new
- Striking Black and Red leather with removable hardtop
- Includes original manuals, tools, first-aid kit, and hardtop carrier
BMW’s relationship with Alpina is more than mere neighborly friendliness, even if the two companies are a mere hour’s drive apart through bucolic Bavaria. That hour may go by much quicker in an Alpina-modified BMW, however. Alpina is recognized by stringent German officials as a car constructor rather than a tuner, and the fastidiousness with which its BMW-based cars are created is highly regarded.
When it came time to remake the BMW Z8 in its distinctive style, Alpina chose to balance luxury and performance without diluting the roadster’s retro-inspired looks. The Z8 itself, after all, was perhaps Henrik Fisker’s finest moment in Munich. The Z8 was more than an homage to the legendary 507, the car that nearly bankrupted BMW and yet cemented the automaker as a producer of fine high-performance cars. With the Z8, Fisker worked with exotic materials to craft a relatively lithe 3,500-pound roadster with the heart of an M5.
Alpina chose not to rework Fisker’s styling. The only visual cues that separate the Alpina Roadster V8 from its Z8 sibling are its wheels and subtle badging. Alpina discarded the 18-inch BMW wheels in favor of 20-inch wheels that fill the car’s wheel wells nearly perfectly.
Inside, the Roadster V8 is draped in softer napa-tanned hides, while Alpina-branded instrumentation, framed by the three-spoke Alpina-specification steering wheel, serve as a visual reminder to drivers before they push the ignition button. Upon doing so, the tuned 4.8-liter V-8 based on the stock M62 4.6-liter makes its presence known. The Alpina-massaged engine was rated at 375 horsepower and 383 foot-pounds of torque, figures that require more explanation than face value. The Alpina was intended for high-speed yet relaxed long-distance cruising with effortless power. Accordingly, Alpina fitted an uprated version of the five-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters that it used in its version of the contemporary E39 M5.
The car was as much a play for Alpina as it was for BMW’s North American–market dealer network, which had heretofore not been able to sell Alpina cars through its outlets. With the automatic transmission and more accessible power band, the Alpina was uniquely geared toward American drivers. As a result, the 450 of the 555 Alpina were earmarked for American dealers. This black-over-red example is one of them, and it is presented after having been kept in two private collections. A recent service has been completed in anticipation of the sale, ensuring that the high-performance roadster is ready to be enjoyed.
In addition, the Alpina is offered with a matching hardtop and stand, a tool kit, a first-aid kit, and an owner’s manual. Rarely do Alpina come up for sale, and even less common is one in such a striking and dynamic color combination.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo20.