PH Carpool: Alpina B10 BiTurbo (E34)

Fredy Lienhard

1991 Alpina B10 BiTurbo (E34)

Owned since:
November 2011

A young Fredy was blown away by the B10
A young Fredy was blown away by the B10
Previously owned:
Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ford, VW, various BMWs but nothing special

Why I bought it:
When I was a kid I always dreamed about fast cars, in particular the Ferrari Testarossa. Until I had a special encounter with the B10. It was at a local car show in 1990 when I first saw this car - a blue B10 BiTurbo - and it was supposed to be even faster than the Testarossa. The owner took me along for a ride ... that was it! Ever since it was my childhood dream and I swore to myself 'one day I'll have one!' It took me nearly 15 years after I got my driving licence to get it but I was constantly looking out for one, and I wanted it in perfect condition. This car I finally found on eBay and I took a chance. Now I'm the owner of No.299 out of 507.

Twin-turbo 3.5-litre six is good for 360hp
Twin-turbo 3.5-litre six is good for 360hp
What I wish I'd known:
Of course I did a lot of research, also on this particular one. It is in original condition, fully loaded and out of an Alpina collector's hands. It had one registered owner since it was built and the collector had it in his showroom for over 10 years, just drove it once in a while. There is an Alpina registry where you can find historic data about the car, just by filling in the VIN. I have owned it for a few months and haven't had the chance to make my own experience with it yet. I've driven it for 20 miles so far...

Buying tips? There are a lot, most important is that you look for a car that has been very well maintained with no expense spared. The best advice is to sign up to a forum and educate yourself before you buy one! On the BiTurbo model the turbos are one of the weak points. Replacing those two Garrett GT25 in specific Alpina spec can cost over 5,000 Euros! Also, the first 50 cars built have a weak organic cylinder head gasket which has been replaced later by a metallic one. The engine can get very hot during hard use. Very important to warm it up before driving hard and let it cool down before turning off.

'No comment' on the price but look at the grin
'No comment' on the price but look at the grin
Things I love:
It's a legend. When this car was launched, it was the fastest saloon until the Lotus Carlton/Omega came out two years later, but the Alpina still had the highest top speed until 1996 when the Brabus E V12 came out. Personally, I like the engineering behind the car. Alpina put so much effort into this car, it's just too much to list. But the most impressive thing is the power delivery of the engine. Back in the late 80s when turbo engines still suffered from lag this car was different. I had to drive it myself to believe it, but it delivers full boost from just over 2,000rpm and keeps it steady. The parallel twin turbo set-up makes it possible. Great spool up and enough air all the way to the redline is just unbeatable - even now!

The four-piston brake calipers, the Bilstein suspension, the special Getrag gearbox with a limited-slip differential combined with a more or less 535ish look make this car the perfect sleeper. It's a piece of proper German engineering. Blasting this beast down the Autobahn at an indicated 300km/h-plus is just priceless!

The fastest saloon available for a while
The fastest saloon available for a while
Things I hate:
Nothing so far - I haven't owned it long enough yet. But I'm aware of the risk that this car could tear a big hole in my wallet. So I'm constantly looking out for parts, such as the turbos and maybe even a replacement engine, just in case I will need it someday.

I keep the running costs low because I only drive it every once in a while, when weather and conditions are perfect. Since it's not my daily driver, I don't care much about the running costs, but it's slightly higher than that of a 535i. German tax is rated at the emissions of the car, and it's even better than those of the base 535i thanks to Alpina's unique and leading-edge catalyser technology. But if something goes wrong, repair costs can make you cry. Insurance is just about average of a medium size car, like any other 5 Series for example. I will bring the car to an Alpina specialised garage to service and maintain it, I have a few in mind but there are not many.

Where I've been:
I will take it to some Alpina meetings in Germany and Switzerland, and I planned a trip over the Swiss mountain passes. Maybe I will take it on a smooth sightseeing lap around the Nordschleife?

Interior is in beautiful original condition too
Interior is in beautiful original condition too
What next?
I'll never sell it, just to make this clear! I will keep it, treat it, drive it and look at it. And I'll be proud at every moment I'm doing this. I will try everything to keep it in 100 per cent original condition. I'd even consider of getting its older brother the B7 Turbo. If anyone knows how to get hold of a 1979, let me know!


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Comments (60) Join the discussion on the forum

  • GTRene 26 Mar 2012

    here you have his older brother, although not 1979

  • Itsallicanafford 26 Mar 2012

    ...from the look of his face i think this cat has certainly got its cream, and from the look of that motor its full fat!

  • Bencolem 26 Mar 2012

    What a find, the condition of that is exceptional - please keep it that way (although I get the impression you will anyway!). I've had 3 x E34 Tourings (all 540i's, 2 with a manual gearbox) and still think the E34 is the best looking 5 series (and best looking estate) ever made. I'd love one in my collection, well done.

  • Motorrad 26 Mar 2012

    A proper car from an era when the future seemed as limitless as the thrust from this beasty.

    Nice choice of wheels.

  • Luca Brasi 26 Mar 2012

    Very nice! Enjoy it!

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