In 1985, At the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW presented the M3 E30 to the general public.
This sportsy version of the 3 series which was made for group A homologation purposes. It is a version that has been reworked at Motorsport with 4 cylinders boosted to 200 horsepower. On the Buchloe end of things they didn’t wait around for the BMW to offer the B6 2.8 with a flat 6 engine pushed to 210 horsepower. However the new M3 pushed Alpina to offer a whole new ball game with the B6 3.5. A E30 with a flat 6 from the 7 series, and with 262 horsepower!
The B6 2.8 was already a little bombshell when you know how hard it is to harness an E30 with such capacity! To go beyond the 200 bar of horsepower on such a car could make driving delicate especially on wet roads So what can be said about the 262 steeds under the B6 3.5s hood?
However at Alpina things were always done in an original fashion : the idea is not to propose sporty versions to compete with BMW products but to offer a different vision of the basic model. This was done by emphasizing the pure power of the duo Motosport (for the Sports part) and Alpina (for the Gran Turismo. ) which always insured excellent relations between the Munich and Buchloe manufacturers. As a reminder the Alpina brand is in fact considered as a constructor in itself since 1983.
Alright back to our B6 3.5! Launched in November 1985 it was right in front of the M3 by several months which allowed it to catch a few impatient clients. It got the motor called the B10 a big flat 6 of which there had never been in an E30 until then, that was developed into different versions later on (such as in a catalyzed version which forced it to lose a little horsepower down to 254).
Where the M3 went up to 236 Km/h but in a wilder way, the B6 got up to the 249 Km/h in a more bourgeois way, which wasn’t obvious with its decorations which were the typical “look-at-me” of Alpina in the 80s. Lets not forget that at that time period “car-tuning” was taking off in Germany and touched every class. It was not yet the wild tuning trend but time to call on professionals such as Zender, Carlsson,Brabus, Hartge or Irmscher. Alpina stayed in this style but with the constructor label which made all the difference. It made sense in uninhibited Western Germany at that time to show what it was all about.
Though a bit showy, the Alpinas are still rather simple : rims with white stripes typical of Buchloe, with golden borders along its flanks, spoilers front and back, big red and white B6 3.5 logo on the cars rear end. Hard to be discreet with such a livery especially in France where the Alpinas were imported by the famous “Garage du Bac”. They were notably available in 2 and 4 doors to the contrary of the M3 only available in 2 doors and cabriolets.
The Alpina B6 3.5 were developed based on the BMW 32i E30 but got many modifications such in terms of brakes, suspension and running gears. When the M3 came out, Alpina could directly use the M3 as a base on which to transform, thus the B6 3.5 S (only in 2 doors) was marketed using the same motor but on the M3 frame gaining a little more performance (251 km/h at its climax).
The first B6 3.5 was offered from November 1985 to July 1987 in both non-catalysed version (262 horsepower) and catalyzed (254 horsepower). With the restyling of the 3 series, the second B6 3.5 entered the catalogue (with 254 horsepower) until december 1990. The B6 3.5 S was produced from November 1987 to December 1990. These B6s were relatively rare with 219 exemples produced for the B6 3.5 (both phase 1 and phase 2 combined) and 69 units for the S for a total of 288 cars. That is quite a different scale from the 17,000 examples of the M3 that were almost produced on a grand scale.
Today an Alpina B6 3.5s quotation is around 40,000 euros (LVA 2018) while a M3 (less powerful, less exclusive and with two less cylinders), varies between 60,000 (195/200 ch) to 125,000 euros (for a Sports Evolution with 238 horsepower). The difficulty will be to find an owner that will be willing to be seperated with such a car. Such beasts are rare in the want ads. Otherwise you can always fall back on an E36 version made by Alpina in the 90s.