Alpina Founder Burkard Bovensiepen Passes Away At Age 87

The BMW community mourns the loss of Burkard Bovensiepen, an icon who founded Alpina in 1965. He had been working on BMWs since 1962 when he developed a Weber dual carburetor for the 1500, which garnered the attention of BMW’s sales boss at the time. As a testament to the high quality of Alpina’s products, the German luxury brand decided in 1964 to retain the full factory warranty of cars modified by Alpina.

Although Alpina started off as a tuning company, the German Federal Ministry of Transport recognized it as a fully-fledged automaker in 1983. The cars have an Alpina-specific vehicle identification number that overrides the original BMW VIN. The idea behind Alpina-modified products is not to clash with BMW M as the vehicles modified in Buchloe tend to be more comfortable and luxurious tourers rather than outright sports cars.

2022 Alpina B8 Gran Coupe

While most of us have heard of Burkard Bovensiepen in the context of road cars meticulously upgraded by Alpina, he also had tremendous success in modifying touring race cars during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1988, the company’s management team decided to withdraw from racing activities and focus solely on tweaking BMWs. In 2022, the BMW Group acquired the Alpina brand.

The existing collaboration will expire at the end of 2025, so there are not going to be any changes to Alpina’s modus operandi until 2026. High-ranked officials from both companies have suggested Alpina is going to be pushed upmarket and fill the gap between BMW and Rolls-Royce.

A recent report indicates the B7 will return with the facelifted 7 Series expected to arrive in early 2026. At the other end of the lineup, the future doesn’t look bright for lower-end models such as the 3 Series-based B3 and D3 considering a statement made by BMW’s Vice President, Head of Series Luxury Class, Christian Tschurtschenthaler: “Does it make sense then that someone spends that €250,000 or €300,000 money on an Alpina then sees a B3 come alongside at a traffic light?”

Whatever the case may be, Alpina has a bright future by sitting underneath the BMW Group’s corporate umbrella. Although a survey from 2021 revealed customers are not interested in electrified vehicles, EVs are inevitable since the ICE age is gradually coming to an end. Without BMW’s backing, Alpina’s prospects might not have been this positive.

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