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1998 BMW Alpina B12 5.7 LWB

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1998 BMW Alpina B12 5.7 LWB

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 81,493km
  • Chassis Number: WAPBC57L08PD30044
  • Engine: 5640
  • Gearbox: Touchtronic
  • Color: Alpina Blue
  • Interior: Black leather


Taking the magnificent E38 BMW as its base, the B12 Alpina continued the tradition whereby Alpina took what was an already very capable car and then made it even more so. With a heavy bias towards performance and handling, Alpina breathed on the existing V12 engine, increasing the capacity to 5.7-litres, modifying the air intake system, and fitting new cylinder heads and high-compression Mahle pistons. The resulting engine produces 382bhp and, more importantly, 413lb/ft of torque.

The five-speed ZF Switchtronic gearbox can be left in fully automatic mode for discreet wafting, or changed manually for maximum attack. Thus driven, the Alpina B12 is capable of hitting 62mph in under six and a half seconds, before going on to a top speed of 174mph. All in complete comfort and near silence.

Cosmetic changes include a unique Alpina chin spoiler for better high-speed stability, 20-inch alloy wheels and low-profile tyres, Alpina badging and pinstriping, and a choice of bespoke colours. The interior gained anthracite leather trim with contrasting stitching, plus unique wood trim and an Alpina instrument cluster in addition to a plaque showing the car’s production number.

As you’ll have gathered, this is really a beautifully thought out custom built executive saloon for the tycoon in a hurry rather than an ill-considered collection of tuning parts bolted together for well-heeled chavs. Not for nothing is Alpina BMW’s performance brand of choice; the two companies frequently work alongside each other to ensure that their customers enjoy all that’s good about BMW, just faster and harder.

And just look at it, arguably the best stance in the business.

The Vehicle

Number 44 out of only 59 long wheelbase 5.7 examples ever built, this example is completely free of rust having spent a large proportion of its life in Japan before being brought to the UK in 2017 by the vendor. It is believed this Alpina was in Germany from 1998 until 2002, before export to Japan, so has the Euro bootlid.

Owned by a serial BMW and Alpina enthusiast, he has described this car as “a bit of a beast”, as well as telling us that “it goes like a train”; clear to see where his priorities lie, eh?

But he’s clearly one of us, because he went on to say that he has spent far too much time and money eliminating the sort of minor front-end wheel shimmy that a) plagues the breed, and b) everyone else would have ignored. This tells us that he is ever so slightly obsessive in the way he curates his collection and is therefore exactly the sort of person you want to buy a rare, limited-run specialist sports car from.

With only 50,637 miles (or 81,493 kms) on the clock and in completely original and unmolested condition, this No Reserve auction is your opportunity to get your hands on an ultra-rare, beautifully engineered, high-performance German saloon at what might be a bargain price…

On the Outside

The Alpina Blue coachwork, complete with the correct Alpina chin spoiler and front and side decals, is in stunning condition and a testament to its current and former keepers – but then you’re not going to buy one of the fastest and best engineered BMWs of all time and then neglect it, are you? The panel shut lines are as tight as Bruce Springsteen’s backing band, and the doors close with a precision clunk, even now.

The quad exhausts hint at the car’s performance, as does the B12 badge; it’s very subtle, but, just like Savile Row tailoring, if you know, you know. The Alpina 20-inch alloy wheels are in perfect condition and shod with matching Pirelli P-Zero tyres. Obviously.

The metal sunroof opens and closes smartly, and seals as tightly now as it did when the car was new; panoramic glass roofs might be all the rage these days but nothing says Old School luxury like a factory fitted metal sunroof, does it?

The only flaws are a small blemish on the top of the nearside front wing, and a scratch just below it. Both have been neatly touched-in and are barely visible from a few feet away but the new owner might like to investigate the cost of having both professionally sorted, if only to satisfy themselves that it really isn’t worth worrying about.

On the Inside

The changes Alpina wrought on the interior are even more extensive than those of the exterior, although they are just as understated. So, the black leather seats have a subtle blue and green trim in the centre. They’re in fabulous condition, having only the lightest of patinas. Of course, it goes without saying that they’re still supportive, and free of rips, tears and other damage. Electrically adjusted, they have a three-position memory button, making for seamless driver changes, assuming you are prepared to let anyone else drive it of course.

The extensive wooden veneer trim is in nigh-on perfect condition; while British luxury cars echo the public schools and members’ clubs that their management haunt, the trim used in this Alpina BMW hints more at performance and luxury than single-vintage port and stale cigar smoke.

The Alpina steering wheel is present and correct, as is the boot-mounted BMW tool kit, rear window sunblinds, rear-seat located BMW first aid kit, and roof-mounted Alpina build plaque. All the electrics – included the very in-period satellite navigation system – work, but then you’ll have guessed that by now, won’t you?

The boot, which is home to the car’s battery and multi-changer CD system, is clean and tidy. The air conditioning is ice cold thanks to a recent service, recharge, and a new high-pressure valve and replacement compressor.

The headlining is immaculate; the original started to sag (“they all do that, sir”), so the owner paid for it to be professionally replaced. The result looks as fabulous as the rest of the interior. But don’t take our word for it; why not come along to The Market HQ here in Abingdon and take a look for yourself?


The underbonnet view is simply magnificent: the BMW V12 engine has been lightly dressed by the guys and gals at Alpina with subtle (ish) inlet covers in the company’s trademark blue and green. The rest is as clean and fresh as it’s ever been and the finished engine bay is something that could be photographed, framed and hung on the wall as art.

The underside of the car is very clean and tidy too and still even sports the factory heat shielding around the exhausts, another small indicator of the care the vehicle has received over the years.

Speaking of which, the current owner has spent a small fortune on fettling all the sort of things that most other people would just put up with. A minor front-end steering shimmy was resolved by fitting new brake reaction arms, lower arms, a steering centre drag link, and having all four wheels professionally aligned by someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to high-performance cars.

It’s also had a new BMW battery (see, everyone else would have gone to Halfords…), front brake discs and pads, rear dampers, and both air and air-conditioning filters. It has also had a very recent oil service.

At import, the B12 was found to have a leaking pair of rear dampers, after much searching the vendor sourced what felt like the last official pair of self-levelling to teh correct Alpina sepcification in the country and had them fitted. Not a cheap purchase, as you can imagine.

The MOT runs out in August 2019, and both the nearside and offside front lower suspension ball joint have perished rubber seals and so are likely to need replacing before then. That that is the extent of the work the car needs is pretty impressive.

History Highlights

The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever and confirms the car’s mileage. The car comes with a number of invoices and bills to confirm the recent work that has been done to it, including a typed summary of the servicing it received while in Japan. This goes someway to confirm the car's low mileage and great condition.

It also has the owners’ handbook, and a V5 registration document showing it correctly registered as an Alpina B12.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained in recent years to the very highest standard.

What We Think

Pricing a car like this is hard; while everyone thinks they want a factory ‘M’ performance BMW, the reality is that the Alpina cars are, if anything, even better engineered than the performance cars that BMW builds for itself.

And yet, while the likes of you and I know this to be true, the great unwashed don’t, which has kept prices lower than we think they should be. So, valuing Alpinas is a bit of a gamble – but not as much of a gamble as that taken by the owner because he’s put this up for auction on a No Reserve basis, so while we think it should reach between £25,000 and £35,000, it will sell from the very first bid. Cue much frantic screen watching and refreshing of our auction page…

Alpinas tend to be more highly valued in Europe than in the UK, so the left-hand-drive of this car will do no harm. There is also a recent buzz in the market as a significant number of Alpinas were part of the popular 'Youngtimer' collection auctioned off by RM Sotheby's this year. This included three similarly gorgeous B12 E38s, two 6.0's that reached 48,000 and 52,000 Euros, and a 5.7 that made 46,000 Euros...

So, why not pop along and see it in the flesh for yourself? Viewing is always encouraged, and this car can be seen here at The Market HQ in Abingdon; 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’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.

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 never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles 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.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

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