For now, things will continue as is.
BMW recently purchased Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH & Co, better known as the famed BMW tuner, Alpina. Not much is known about the deal, but BMW's head of design, Adrian van Hooydonk, spoke about the brand's future for the first time.
The terms of the deal were kept secret to date, and until Van Hooydonk's recent statements, there has been no official word about the future of Alpina. This led to speculation that BMW might use the brand as filler between top-spec BMWs and entry-level Rolls Royces. The latter does make sense, considering there's a massive $200,000 gap between the all-new BMW 7 Series and the entry-level Rolls Royce Ghost.
A similar strategy worked for Mercedes-Maybach, as the Maybach brand did not have enough power to stand on its own two feet.
Van Hooydonk spoke to the BMW Blog recently and revealed what BMW had in store for Alpina.
"We want to be careful with that brand because we bought it for a reason. Alpina is successful in its segment, and it stands for something. For high quality, handcrafted luxurious mobility. We felt that that would be good to add to our range. In fact, we were already helping Alpina produce these vehicles, so we are not looking at any radical change in the immediate future," said Van Hooydonk.
Before the purchase went through, BMW signed a five-year agreement with Alpina. BMW would continue to provide cars straight from its assembly plants, or, in some cases, continue to be manufactured by BMW directly. The XB7, for example, is built alongside the standard X7 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The current deal is set to last until the end of 2025, at which point BMW will need to decide what to do with Alpina. This means current and upcoming models like the XB7, B4 Coupe, and inevitable replacement for the B7 will continue as planned.
Following that, it's anyone's guess. We still think BMW will sell Alpina models as more upmarket cars as they don't compete directly with BMW's M department. The B4 is a prime example. The B4 has yet to be confirmed for the US market, but it will likely cost the same as the M4 Competition.
While these cars appear to be similar, they are pretty different. The 462 horsepower and 516 lb-ft 3.0-liter turbocharged 3.0-liter engine in the B4 can hurl it to 60 mph in roughly 3.5 seconds. While that is similar to the M4's time, the M department does not compromise with ride and handling. Alpina exists to make luxurious high-end cars that happen to be fast.
Those are two very different approaches, and BMW will likely want to keep it that way.