The Alpina B6 continued from the E30 generation in the new E36 chassis in 1991, while the last of the prior generation cars were still in US showrooms. Alpina took the basic M50 and shape of then-top-of-range 325i and upped the ante; they bored the displacement to 2.8 liters, stuck Mahle pistons, a special exhaust, Bilstein shocks, 17″ wheels, and the normal assortment of aerodynamic tweaks and interior details to create the B6 2.8/2, which could be had in coupe or sedan form. With 240 horsepower on tap, it offered M3-level performance two years before the E36 M3 debuted.
While these are the least potent of the E36 Alpina variants, they’re still quite special and very rare – just 40 coupes and around 180 sedans were produced before the B6 3.0 replaced it in mid 1993. This particular example, though, comes via Japan and is already imported to the US – if you’re willing to pay:
While some other aftermarket tuners such as Ruf and Renntech offer turned up versions of the already potent cars, Alpina operates slightly differently – filling in the voids of models not offered by the manufacturer. There are plenty of examples of this, and if often seems to be misunderstood; Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the Alpina Roadster is probably the most notable case. A slower, softer, automatic version of the hardcore roadster certainly doesn’t make a lot of sense at first glance. But what Alpina does is give enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the performance that BMW offered in a slightly different package that sometimes outperforms the original platform car. One of the notable missing gaps in the BMW lineup in the mid 90s was a faster version of the E36 Touring; building off the earlier B6 – effectively, Alpina’s 4-door M3 challenger built between 1992 and 1993 with a bespoke engine and typical Alpina upgrades, the company later launched the Japanese-only market B6 2.8 Touring. Produced between 1996 and 1998, only 136 of these small wagons were produced, again utilizing the 240 horsepower bespoke Alpina motor, special wheels and interiors, Alpina’s own body kit, exhaust and suspension. They were available in 3 colors only; red, green, and silver: