Rare Rides: An Incredibly Rare 1982 Alpina B7 S Turbo Sedan

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides an incredibly rare 1982 alpina b7 s turbo sedan

Rare Rides has featured exactly two Alpinas in the past, both coupes. From the Eighties came the B7S Turbo Coupe, a 6 Series-based sporty two-door. The Nineties were represented by the hefty B12, an 8 Series modification which was very expensive.

Today we step back to the Eighties and have a look at a B7S Turbo with twice as many doors.

The E12 5 Series entered production in 1972, as successor to the New Class. As the genesis of the 5 Series, it was also the start of what most consider modern BMW styling: quad headlamps, kidney grille, Hoffmeister kink, and generally boxy styling — everyone accounted for. Not big on large engines in those days, all 5 Series of this generation were endowed with inline-four engines of up to two liters of displacement, or inline-six power ranging from 2.0 to 3.5 liters.

By the time Alpina got around to tinkering with the E12, it was in the latter portion of its life: the first B7 Turbo sedan debuted in 1978. Based on a 528i, Alpina modified the engine and added twin turbos. That upped power output of the 2.8-liter I6 from 173 to a whopping 295 horses. What Alpina created in Malaisey 1978 was the fastest four-door sedan in the world. The B7 Turbo remained in production through the rest of the E12’s run, but Alpina wasn’t finished with its idea.

In 1981, a new version of the B7 arrived with an S added to its moniker. It featured the usual Alpina paint striping, spoilers, and festive upholstery. However, it wasn’t simply a minor modification or trim package on the standard B7. The B7S was based on the new and fastest 5 Series, the 535i. That meant a swap to the largest 3.5-liter inline-six. Alpina turned up the boost on the turbos and created a new ignition system.

Horsepower increased with the larger power plant, to 326. The engine’s torque also improved, jumping from 341 lb-ft on the original B7 to 369 lb-ft on the S. For comparison, the first M5 in 1984 produced 256 horsepower. The second generation M5 for 1988 nearly caught the B7S, with 311 horsepower, but lagged at 266 lb-ft of torque.

The incredibly powerful B7S was at least a decade ahead of its time as far as performance sedans were concerned. Never a big volume producer, Alpina built only 60 examples of its super sedan. All were confined to 1981 and 1982, which was the E12’s final model year. Unlike some rare classics, this particular Alpina has been enjoyed. It’s racked up nearly 137,000 miles in its life, and has been maintained and refreshed along the way. It was auctioned last year in Paris, and was expected to bring between $160,000 and $217,000.

[Images: RM Sotheby’s]

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5 of 7 comments
  • Del My father bought GM cars in the 60's, but in 1971 he gave me a used Datsun (as they were called back then), and I'm now in my 70's and am happy to say that GM has been absent from my entire adult life. This article makes me gladder than ever.
  • TheEndlessEnigma That's right GM, just keep adding to that list of reasons why I will never buy your products. This, I think, becomes reason number 69, right after OnStar-Cannot-Be-Disabled-And-It-Comes-Standard-Whether-Or-Not-You-Want-It and Screw-You-American-Car-Buyer-We-Only-Make-Trucks-And-SUVs.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Does this not sound and feel like the dawn of ICE automobiles in the early 20th century, but at double or triple speed speed!!There were a bunch of independent car markers by the late 1910’s. By the mid 20’s, we were dropping down to 10 or 15 producers as Henry was slashing the price of the Model T. The Great Depression hit, and we are down to the big three and several independents. For EVs, Tesla bolted out of the gate, the small three are in a mad dash to keep up. Europe was caught flat footed due to the VW scandal. Lucid, Lordstown, & Rivian are scrambling to up production to generate cash. Now the EV leader has taken a page from the Model T and is slashing prices putting the rest of the EV market in a tail spin. Deja vu……
  • Michael Eck With those mods, I wonder if it's tuned...
  • Mike-NB2 I'm not a Jeep guy, but I really, really like the 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe concept.