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Story

Mar 20th, 2010

Alpina Roadster S Supercharged - The Story

Welcome to Modgarage, a website dedicated to the world's first supercharged Alpina Roadster S. A project that required extreme amounts of patience, but also led to new friendships, amazing experiences and ultimately a very satisfying and truly unique result. From picking up the car at a German dealer in 2006 to stripping and rebuilding it in 2007 and 2008, getting it supercharged in Norway and attending the epic Petrolhead Nirvana Alpine Tour: it's all been an unbelievable and unforgettable experience.

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The story began in April 2006, when I was looking into buying a fun car to take on weekend trips. After considering several options, I decided to focus on the Alpina Roadster S as I liked the Z4 body style and the typical Alpina refinements to the exterior, interior and engine. At the time, a mildly used Roadster S was available at ¤ 30K (Dutch price) less than a brand new Z4M Roadster while offering roughly the same level of performance. I had a memorable drive up and down to Nuremberg, Germany, to view a sterling grey Roadster S and picked up the car the next week on April 28th, 2006. With just 6000 kilometers on the odometer it was like brand new. In the summer of 2006 I took it out on a holiday to Norway, unknowing the car would later return to the Nordic countries to receive a massive power upgrade. The car remained mostly untouched during 2006 with the only mods an iPod interface, Helene Performance air filter and a Strong Strut strut tower brace.

2007 started off with an amazing London Tunnel Run, which I attended with some of my mates from Driving-fun.com. A few days after returning home my LSD with reduced final drive ratio arrived from Drexler Motorsport in Germany, marking the first serious performance upgrade for the car. March ended on a down note after kissing a tree, damaging the left rear suspension, wheels and body work. At this time I was already planning a massive round of modifications. In early 2007 the car had visited Reiger Suspension to measure the suspension mounting points and to corner weight the car. Other mods in the planning were a big brake kit and a quad pipe exhaust. During the process, the scope of the project grew larger and shifted towards the goal of building the ultimate street driven Z4. In the end, the car received a complete rebuild with a new suspension, new brakes, modified exhaust, racing seats, facelifted light units and a full body repaint, all using the best possible components.

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Part of the inspiration for the project came from the classic Alpina cars of the seventies and eighties, when Alpina was succesfully competing in touring car championships across Europe. In the past two decades, Alpina has gradually moved its focus to luxury automobiles with sensible levels of performance. The early Alpina's were born on the track. They were light and agile and were less of a compromise between performance and luxury. In the eighties, Alpina's foray into turbocharging brought us legendary cars such as the B7S Turbo Coupe and the B10 Bi-turbo, a car that was the fastest saloon of its time and enjoys cult status today.

A few years ago, rumours arised on German Alpina boards about the development of a 370HP supercharged Roadster S. The car never made it into production, possibly because Alpina couldn't meet emission regulations or BMW wouldn't allow Alpina to compete with the Z4M. Since Alpina is a shareholder in supercharger manufacturer ASA, it is far from unlikely that the company made attempts to supercharge the S52B32-based engine used in the Roadster S. With my project, I wanted to make this rumoured supercharged Roadster S a reality and I strived to recapture the spirit of the race-bred Alpina cars of the early days.

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After completing the first stage of the project in July of 2008, the car was booked into ESS Tuning in Norway for a custom supercharger conversion. ESS Tuning is the number one BMW supercharging specialist in Europe. The twinscrew supercharger kits for the M52 and M54 engines have been hugely popular with the E46 crowd. Thanks to the close family ties between the S52B32-based Alpina engine and the M52 series, the ESS twinscrew charger could be fitted to the Alpina engine with minor physical modifications. I drove the car from the Netherlands to Norway in the weekend of October 6th, 2008, travelling 500 kilometers through Germany in less than three and a half hours. After dropping off the car at ESS' headquarters in the rural countryside of the Aremark municipality in south-east Norway, I took the flight from Oslo to Amsterdam.

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Six weeks later, the conversion was ready. I invited my friend and fellow Z4 driver Tom Antonis to accompany me on the trip to Norway and to help me out shooting a video on location in Norway. Since it would be expensive and impractical to move around the video equipment by plane and rental car, I decided to take my Alpina B10 3.2 Touring on a round trip to Norway. Loaded with video gear, we left on Thursday November 13th and picked up the car the next day in Aremark. We had a great afternoon with Asbjorn and Hans, who showed us around the ESS workshop. Asbjorn took us on a test drive in a supercharged 520i with beta stage software and we got to learn some insights about the art of DME tuning. We used Friday evening and Saturday to shoot the video. With a crew of two amateurs our resources and capabilities were limited, but given the circumstances I can be satisfied with the result.

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On the way back home there were plenty of opportunities to play with the power of the supercharger on the empty motorways in Sweden and Germany. The performance of the supercharged engine was nothing short of stellar. Everytime I pressed the throttle, Tom disappeared in the rear view mirror within a matter of seconds, even while he was pushing hard in the 260HP B10 3.2. It was like using a translocator in a video game. The ESS supercharger preserved much of the character of the Alpina engine. The engine still shakes and vibrates waking up from a cold start, giving it real character as opposed to today's perfectly polished BMW engines. Once warmed up, driveability is very good. The supercharger allows the engine to breath much better at high engine revolutions, increasing the point of maximum power from 6300 to 7200 rpm. The engine is perfectly suited for low rpm cruising, however, if you want to extract maximum performance you still have to push hard and stay focused.

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I used most of my free time in the next year to edit the video footage, develop this website and write content for it. The last big modification was added to the car in February 2009, when I had angel eyes done by Tekarbon in San Francisco. I had a truly epic experience in the summer of 2009 when I joined the Petrolhead Nirvana Alpine Tour, a 5000 kilometer exploration of the best driving roads in the Alpine region of France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. The tour was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that the French police took away my driving lincense on the second day. On the bright side, it helped to build a reputation ;) . The Roadster S Supercharged has been running fine with the exception of a broken alternator, a cracked weld joint in the exhaust header and some annoying electrical issues that are probably related to the seat and light upgrades.

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I hope the project can be a source of inspiration for all mod fanatics and Z4 owners. If you have comments or questions, please post them on the website or contact me at .


Comments


Eric (5 years ago)

Zag dit filmpje op het Duitse Zroadster forum.
Prachtig gemaakt complimenten. De auto is nog mooier. Heb zelf een Z4 3.0i. Ik vindt die al snel. Deze Alpina is een echte Porsche killer. Ziet er gaaf uit. Mijn volgende project is een dubbele uitlaat. Links en rechts. Heb je ook een andere bumper genomen? Z4 M? bumper .Waar is die uitlaat er onder gezet.?
Lijkt me kicken om een met zo''n Alpina te rijden. Als je in de buurt van Hengelo komt....!
Veel lezier met je prachtige auto.


Femme (5 years ago)

Hoi Eric. Bij het monteren van een dubbele uitlaat heb je bij een Z4 3.0i het probleem dat er rechts geen ruimte is voor een einddemper. Om ruimte te maken zou je de accu moeten verplaatsen, zoals BMW heeft gedaan bij de Z4M. Het alternatief is een oplossing zoals onder mijn auto, waarbij de eindstukken rechts zijn aangesloten op de demper links. Werkt prima, aan beide kanten worden de uitlaatpijpen goed zwart.

Ik heb de achterbumper van de facelift met de diffuser uit het aeropakket voor de Z4. Ik vond deze combinatie met vier uitlaten mooier dan de Z4M-bumper. In de diffuser zijn aan de rechterzijde openingen voor de uitlaat gemaakt. De werkzaamheden zijn uitgevoerd bij Auto Totaal in Ruurlo.


Niels (5 years ago)

Mijn complimenten voor het prachtige stukje cinematografisch vakmanschap. Ik zag zojuist de HD beelden op youtube en was benieuwd naar welk Nederlands productiebedrijf dit geschoten had (gezien de Nederlandse kentekens)... De aftiteling verraste mij positief, aangezien ik al zeer lang op t.net en got rondhang.
Nogmaals :Top, verder natuurlijk genieten van je prachtige Beierse apparaten.


Femme (5 years ago)

Leuk om te lezen :) . Het filmpje is gemaakt door amateurs, weliswaar met goede apparatuur ;) . Voor mij was het 't eerste filmpje van deze omvang. Het was een mooie ervaring om te doen maar ik heb wel gemerkt dat er veel tijd in het monteren gaat zitten.


Paul (5 years ago)

Zelf lang getwijfeld over de 3.0 Z4 en uiteindelijk maar gaan dieselen in een 120d m. Je Z4 is ongelofelijk mooi geworden zeg. Dit moet wel lekker sturen. Spijt, spijt, spijt als ik dit zo zie. Veel plezier en bedankt voor het uitgebreide video en foto materiaal!


Andrej (5 years ago)

Mooit om te lezen / te zien.

Bent u dezelfde Femme als actief op T.net?


Andrej (5 years ago)

Ah ik las elders dat mijn vermoeden klopte, tof hoor, auto's en electronica tweaken :P


Fred (5 years ago)

Mooie auto, heeeel erg mooie video. De styling is volgens mij hetzelfde als die van Alpine Nirvana video's, erg mooi gemaakt. Persoonlijk rijd ik liever met mijn C6 alleen door de bergen, dan hoef je niet te wachten op achterblijvers. Maar dat geluid in die Nirvana video's is toch wel bijzonder gaaf.
Mocht je nog niet je geld verdienen met het maken van dit soort video's dan moet je dat zeker overwegen, jouw video's zijn echt heel erg goed. De stijl doet wel een beetje denken aan die van de BMW video's , je weet wel die met Clive Owen.

Fred


Femme (5 years ago)

Bedankt voor de complimenten :) . Video is een leuke hobby maar ook erg tijdrovend. Momenteel liggen mijn prioriteiten elders en professioneel heb ik een andere roeping. Ik zou er graag nog eens verder mee willen gaan want er valt nog veel te leren en te verbeteren.

Voor de sfeer die een beeld schept is het kleurgebruik erg belangrijk. Het Alpina-filmpje en de video's van de Petrolhead Nirvana Alpina tour zijn gemaakt in tegenovergestelde omstandigheden (kou van een Noorse herfst vs zinderende hitte in Zuid-Frankrijk en Italiƫ). Dit heb ik in het kleurgebruik tot uiting willen brengen.

De PH-tours kun je in je eigen tempo rijden als je dat wilt of je kunt aanhaken bij een groep. Voor achterblijvers hoef je niet echt bang te zijn want Engelsen kunnen goed doorrijden. Ze zijn ook erg vriendelijk en je kunt goed me ze lachen.


kam (4 years ago)

hello, did you have any difficulties finding a replacement alternator? do you know if its a specific alpina part or which bmw car it came out of

thanks


kees beeks (10 months ago)

IS DEZE AUTO MISSCHIEN TE KOOP ??

Video

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Alpina Roadster S Supercharged specs

Drivetrain
Engine configuration Inline-6, Supercharged
Supercharger type Twin screw
Differential Clutch-type LSD
Final drive ratio 3.46 :1
Brakes
Front brake discs 380 mm, Drilled
Front brake calipers 6-piston, Aluminum
Rear brake discs 294 mm, Drilled
Weight
Unladen weight 1280 kg
Performance
Power 445 hp @ 7200 rpm
Top speed 275 km/h
0-100km/h acceleration 4.2 s
Torque 484 Nm @ 4500 rpm

Contact

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