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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of BMW Australia believes there is “good opportunity” for high-performance Alpina vehicles to achieve sales success in Australia.

Alpina is technically an independent German vehicle manufacturer, despite the fact its cars are based on BMW vehicles, and sold and serviced through BMW dealerships.

Last month Alpina sales and marketing assistant director Daniela Schmid told CarAdvice the brand was “very interested” in offering its vehicles Down Under and confirmed talks were underway with Australian BMW executives.

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BMW Australia managing director Marc-Heinrich Werner last week confirmed the local division is working through the business case for Alpina, and seems likely to make an announcement on the introduction of the performance division soon.

“We are currently doing a feasibility study when it comes to brining Alpina to the Australian market,” Werner said.

“I personally believe that there is an opportunity for Alpina to come to Australia and we are currently working on that and we will announce shortly what that will look like.”

Werner said Australia’s unrivalled hunger for performance vehicles made it an obvious target for a brand like Alpina.

“The Australian consumers really have big interest in high-performance vehicles that you probably don’t see in anywhere else in the world, so we believe there is good opportunity for the Alpina brand in Australia.”

He says it’s “still to be decided” if Alpina would be marketed as an independent brand in Australia or if it could slot into BMW’s range as a performance sub-division, much like its family of M cars.

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The BMW 4 Series-based Alpina B4 BiTurbo coupe looks set to be the first model offered in Australia, with certification documents on a government website confirming the car has received the green light to be sold on our shores.

If offered here, the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder B4 BiTurbo would effectively form a high-performance double act with the similarly motivated M4, which costs $149,900 plus on-road costs.

The Alpina version trails the BMW for power (301kW versus 317kW), but it’s the former that boasts a torque advantage, producing 600Nm compared with the M4’s 550Nm. The M4 claims to be fractionally quicker from 0-100km/h, however, stopping the clock at 4.1 seconds, one tenth sooner than the B4 BiTurbo.

Unique to the Alpina is a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission, distinct from the seven-speed dual-clutch unit in the BMW.

As well as the B4 BiTurbo, Alpina produces other tuned versions of the 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series and X3 models. All are likely to be at least considered for our market if the B4 is well received by local customers.




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