2003 BMW ALPINA B10 V8s

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2003 BMW ALPINA B10 V8s


Alpina, or Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH & Co. KG to give the company its full title, is a factory endorsed manufacturer of high-performance BMWs. In fact, the quality of its work is so high that, in contrast to most tuning automotive firms, Alpina has been known to build its cars alongside regular production models on the BMW assembly line – and its cars even get their own chassis number in place of the BMW item.

The B10 E39 was designed and built for the customer for whom an M5 was a bit too common, a bit too mainstream; Alpina customers have always preferred to plough their own furrow, and the sort of person that would have chosen one of these over the (admittedly very, very good) production M5 is one of us.

The changes wrought were extensive: the V8 M62 engine was bored and stroked out to 4.6-litres; the valve seats were changed and the cylinder head flowed; the camshafts were given a sportier profile; the crankshaft was balanced and lightweight Mahle aluminium pistons were fitted. The maximum revs rose to 6,700rpm – and power soared to 340bhp and 346lb/ft.

Only ever available with an automatic transmission, Alpina did a typically thorough job and lowered and stiffened the suspension, and fettled the brakes, too. The wheels were replaced by some fancy 18-inch jobbies that hid the tyre valve behind a lockable cover; neat, huh?

And yet, not as fancy as the B10 V8S you’re looking at here. For a start, that 4.6-litre engine has been stroked to 4837cc, which means it now develops 375bhp and 376lb/ft of torque. The power upgrade ensures it can reach 62mph in 5.4 seconds and, because it’s a limited edition it doesn’t have the gentleman’s agreement 155mph limiter fitted, so it’ll hit 178mph…

It’s got 19” wheels fitted too, plus bigger Brembo discs and calipers at the front. Revised suspension settings and front and rear spoilers help pin the car even more firmly down at high speed. Just 100 were built, of which 49 were RHD and 42-45 are thought to have come here

The Vehicle

Number 058 in the series, the owner tells us that the Alpina B10 has “until the last two years has been regularly used as an “interesting way to get around” and has been on the UK Alpina Forum Register since he acquired it in November 2006.

It was showing just 28,000 miles on the odometer when he bought it; it now has 197,861, so he’s had almost 170,000 miles of ‘interesting’ getting around, which makes him our kind of guy.

In storage since the beginning of lockdown - a Mercedes-Benz E220 estate car suited his needs better at the time - it’s taken him two years to “come to terms with parting with the car”. Which makes him our kind of guy.

Offering a more nuanced, subtle approach to high-speed transport than the frantic, in-your-face M5, the vendor has such faith in you lot that he’s offering it with no reserve. Which makes him our kind of guy.

On the Outside

Finished in the special paint colour of Nachtblau Metallic, or Midnight Blue Metallic, the Alpina B10 looks every inch the junior supercar it is. Panel fit is excellent, and the flanks are straight and true; the mileage might be higher than you would like but few would find anything to quibble about over the way it presents.

The Alpina front air dam is present and correct and free of chips, scuffs and other damage, as is the boot spoiler.

The multi-spoke alloy wheels are in, and you’re ahead of me here I’m sure, great condition. Sure, the 8.5” front wheels (9.5” at the rear) have both got some minor kerb damage (#121 and #127) for example) and they have never been restored but are free of corrosion.

The rear 275/30ZR19 tyres are virtually brand new having only covered around 2,000 miles since being fitted. The front 245/35ZR19 tyres are very good. Of course, they all match being Continental Eagle F1s.

As we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Regularly Waxoyl’d, the only issues we can see are a few small patches of surface rust on the leading edges of the sills behind the front wheels and in front of the rear wheels (i.e. #157 and #184). There are also a few stonechips that could do with addressing and a small dent on a wheelarch (#146). The owner tells us that the former have already been treated during his ownership but would benefit from some more attention before winter arrives.

Fastidious, you see?

On the Inside

Yes, of course the interior is wonderful. That semi-ruched grey Nappa leather might be very of its time but there’s no denying its quality as it’s shrugged off almost 200,000 miles with impressive ease.

The car’s origins are clear thanks to a plethora of Alpina badging but it adds to the car’s upmarket air, something the many options add to.

Because the list of extras is long and includes extended Nappa leather in light grey, including the door cards, lower dash, knee roll, glove box cover, tunnel console, armrests, lower B pillars, gear knob, handbrake, steering column cover and gaiter.

There are Alpina roundels on the back of the heated seats too, plus a wooden Alpina steering wheel with a leather-bound rim, a graduated tint screen (which is, incredibly, still the original), an electric glass sunroof and blinds, electric rear and manual side window sunblinds, factory satnav, voice control, a BMW six CD changer, TopHiFi with DSP, hi-gloss black Shadowline trim, Alpina branded floor mats, and electric door mirrors from the M5.

It is also fitted with a Tracker, and has the period mobile telephone in the centre console.

The boot floor is protected by a wonderful velour Alpina mat, complete with two lash-down straps. It’s home to the CD multichanger too, plus the navigation system, a full-size spare wheel and the O.E. tool kit. Lifting the contents out reveals only a solid, rust-free floor.

The owner tells us that the interior has been regularly treated with good quality cleaner and restoring creams, so the whole car smells nice and leathery still. We’d agree and the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle is still in great shape with the only sign of its age and mileage being the edge of the driver’s seat (#43), the edge of the telephone console (#63), and a small stain on the rear seat (#69).

Actual problems are few, as you’d expect of a car that’s been loved so much. The rear offside illuminated ALPINA kick plate has stopped lighting up. However, the others still work and are a lovely blue colour.


The Alpina’s five-speed ZF ‘Switch Tronic’ automatic transmission can be driven in two ways: either in fully automatic mode or by using the electronic gear selection via the buttons on the back of the steering wheel. The change is very slick and the gearbox is responsive and adaptive, so if you drive it fast it changes gear faster and sooner to keep the RPM in the sweet spot.

The owner tells us that it doesn’t have the usual 155mph speed limiter, but while he’s managed 130-140mph a few times he hasn’t explored the outer edges of its top speed. He also says that it has never been driven on track days.

The seller is honest enough to point out that the last MoT had a couple of advisories: a slight oil leak which we believe is the nearside cam cover gasket; a rear differential leak that he thinks is actually oil drips from the former which catches the diff casing; and corrosion of the rear discs which has since cleaned up as he has started to drive the Alpina more regularly again.

Oh, and if you wanted a demonstration of his mechanical sympathy, he tells us that he managed 99,000 miles on the front brake pads and 130,000 miles out of the front discs, which is just as well really as replacing ‘em is a four-figure job…

And, the brake pipes have all been greased recently to prevent corrosion setting in, and most of the suspension links have been replaced over his ownership, so it still feels tight to drive.

He also tells us that he regularly gets 30mpg from the B10, which makes it a far more economical car than you might think while simultaneously reinforcing the fact that this is not a car that’s been thrashed without mercy.

The engine bay would be the pride of a car with a quarter of its mileage and while pedants might want to replace the odd rusty screw and fastener, and perhaps sort out the oxidised panels, we wouldn’t do a thing to it.

History Highlights

Sytner was the first owner, leasing it before selling it to an acquaintance of the vendor in July 2004 when it was just over a year old. Interestingly, the original purchase price was £70,785, or about £100,000 in today’s money.

The B10 has a complete file of all the work that has been carried out on it including all the MOTs in addition to the regular servicing that’s kept it running so well all these years. Luckily, the owner’s local garage is owned by an Alpina-trained ex-BMW technician, so it’s been in capable hands for most of its life. Pre-emptive maintenance has been rigorous, including regular waterpump changes (although an improved, aftermarket design seems to have cured the BMW’s appetite from front bearings…) plus an alternator and radiator.

The attached pictures show the service book and the last service was at the end 2019 and since then it has covered about 1850 miles.

It also comes with an original Alpina brochure,

Please take the time to browse the paperwork, or, even better, make an appointment to come and see it, and the car, in person.

The MOT is current until October 2022, and the recent RAC Vehicle History Check shows nothing of concern.

What We Think

The Alpina B10 is a much rarer, and some say better, car than the BMW M5 that everyone else bought. As such, it is a much sought after modern classic and one that will always find a ready buyer.

The price of good ones should do well in the medium to long-term, too. While the price of M5s has rocketed in recent years, the Alpina is still a bit of a slow-burner, which means they’re spectacular value at the moment. They’re a safe place to put your money, too, which makes the guide price of £7,000 to £10,000 look like great value, value that’s only possible because of its mileage.

And yet, few things destroy a car more quickly than not being used, so the fact that this one has been regularly exercised by an unusually sympathetic owner is, in our view, a positive thing. Sure, if you’re after a low-mileage centrepiece for your collection then this ain’t for you but anyone who’s looking for a highly usable example of one of the definitive German supersaloons of the period won’t find anything better.

And, if that isn’t enough to tempt you, can I remind you that the best cars are bought from good people, and the vendor is very definitely good people; after all, anyone who runs a bespoke, highly tuned Alpina for 170,000 miles because it’s “interesting” is exactly the sort of bloke you want to buy a bespoke, highly tuned Alpina from, right?

Still unconvinced? Okay, well the fact that it’s being offered with no reserve means it’s going to sell from the very first bid. So, what have you got to lose? After all, the very worst that could happen is you end up with a much-loved B10 in your garage, and that’s not exactly an unhappy ending, is it?

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

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BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 198052
  • Chassis Number: WAPBA48L02EF50058
  • Engine: 4837
  • Gearbox: auto
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Nacht Blau
  • Interior: Light Grey
  • Estimated Price: £7,000 - £10,000

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