This transverse-engine platform was introduced back in 2014 in the Mini Hatch and has gone on to be the basis of front- and all-wheel drive BMWs, including the 2-Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer, X1, and X2. The 1-Series was also recently updated with the same architecture.
Talking to Motoring at the recently Australian launch of the B5 Touring, Alpina boss Andreas Bovensiepen said it wouldn’t make financial sense for them to start building pumped-up versions of Munich’s new crop of FWD models.
“No, it’s not our plan. Development costs are very high and [they’re] still going up with the new emissions rules. So for us it’s better to stay with inline [powertrains], the ZF gearbox,” he said. “We like to use one engine in several cars. For example, we have the V8 engine we had in the past, in the 6 Series, in the 5 Series and in the 7 Series. With our diesels we have the same engines in the X3, [and] in the 5 Series, and only the six-cylinder petrol [engine] in the 3 Series and 4 Series.”
One area of particular concern for Alpina is that the front-wheel drive models use Aisin transmissions from Japan rather than those sourced from ZF, meaning the company would have to work with a new gearbox supplier. Moreover, it would be difficult to make a profit in this lower-priced segment of the market, so they prefer to stick to the tried and tested practice of tuning RWD Bimmers that has, so far, served them extremely well.