Ads on test: Alpina B9 3.5 (E28)

There isn't much that's cooler than a 1980s BMW these days. Apart from this Alpina...

Cost New £28,393 Price £49,950


hinking of an E28 M5 but put off by the ever-escalating cost of entry? How about something rarer, slightly cheaper and, some say, even more visually pleasing? Welcome to this Alpina B9 3.5, number 166 of just 577 built, and one of only a handful known to be in the UK.

Unlike a lot of Alpinas, this one's blessed with a dogleg manual gearbox. The paintwork is original, but despite its 36 years it presents well, if not quite to concours levels. There are swirl marks and minor scuffs and surface scratches, but only two areas are in need of immediate rectifation – chipped paint on the passenger-side bootlid and a down-to-the-metal stonechip on the bonnet. These will be sorted by the vendor prior to the sale if the prospective buyer wishes it.

The alloy wheels are in largely fantastic condition, though there is a minor chip on one of the spokes of the driver's side rear. Each wheel wears a Bridgestone Rego tyre, all of which have plenty of tread remaining.

On the inside, the stunning cloth bucket seats look and feel amazing, though the plastic Alpina tags on the seat have snapped. That's the only blemish on the seats. The dashboard/control interfaces are immaculate. The headlining is a bit grubby and some discolouration of the leather hide indicates water ingress around the rear windows at some point. This will all be attended to by the vendor before the car is sold, and we're pretty sure the leak is gone – the interior was free from mustiness and fresh rubber is present and correct around the rear screen.

This car was imported here in 2017 by its sole UK owner, at which point he spent £2953 on recomissioning. That included work on the ECU, air-flow meter, ignition coil, various sensors, UK wiring loom and Bilstein dampers. The original build sheet and sales invoice is included with the paperwork.

On the road, the pull from that infamous BMW straight six has lost none of its appeal. Get it high into the rev counter and it's a proper screamer. The handling is direct and the braking much more instantaneous than you'd imagine from a 1980s BMW. We experienced no odd rattles or vibrations through the steering, pedals and drivetrain.

With recent auction results showing more interest in 1980s Alpinas, this is a rare-groove car that's only going to appreciate. With the issues sorted, it'll be a genuine concours hero.

Alpina B9 3.5 (E28)

Year:     1983
Mileage:    85,000
On sale at:    Cambridge Motor Co

Engine:     3430cc, 6-cyl, SOHC
Transmission:    RWD, 5-speed manual
Power:     240bhp@5200rpm
Torque:     236lb-ft@4000rpm
Weight:     1519kg

0-60mph:    6.7sec
Top speed:    149mph
Economy:     21mpg

Choose your Alpina B9 3.5 (E28)

1981: Alpina's first take on the E28 5-Series – the B9 3.5 – takes the 528i as its basis. Alpina junked the 2.8-litre engine and replaced it with the 3.5-litre straight six. It was further enhanced with Mahle pistons, a new camshaft and a revised ECU, plus Bilstein dampers. In 1985 it was renamed the B10, and received the same engine as the B6 3.5 3-Series, which produced 261bhp without a cat, or 254bhp with. Production ceased in

1987: With 577 built, 77 of which were B10s.

1984: B7 Turbo/1 released, based on the B9/B10, but with a KKK K27 turbo. Just 236 of these 300-320bhp cars were built before production ceased in 1987.