The way Alpina goes about introducing new product to the press provides a first-class metaphor for its cars.
Whereas BMW or any other car maker might launch a model over weeks or months to many hundreds of journalists and associated hangers-on, the launch of the new B5 saloon and estate was attended by 12 hacks, lasted one day and was twinned with the launch of the B3 S and B4 S models.
Our host was Alpina boss Andy Bovensiepen, who didn’t just fly in, make a statement and bugger off again. No, he hung around for the duration, driving cars, checking tyre pressures and directing events. The last thing he did was give me his mobile number just in case I had any outstanding questions.
Understanding the Alpina B5’s blueprint
During presentations and conversations, talk was of ‘cautious’ component choice, ‘modest’ styling enhancement and development taking place almost entirely on the road and only at the Nürburgring and other tracks for extreme tyre testing, high-speed sign-off and other requirements that can’t legally be satisfied on the street.
And if you wanted one reason to explain why Alpinas feel the way they do, and why that feel is so utterly different from that of any other BMW, be it an M car or not, it is this understated approach that provides it.