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    Offering some incredibly exclusive alternatives to the hottest BMWs out there for several decades now, Alpina still acts as an extremely worthy distraction for anyone in the market for a sporty German cruiser.

    GILES RAMSDEN’S ALPINA B10 3.5 / #BMW-E34 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #Alpina-B10-3.5 / #Alpina-B10-3.5-E34 / #Alpina-B10-E34 / #Alpina-E34 / #Alpina-B10 / #Alpina / #BMW-535i-Alpina-E34

    Giles here was kind enough to share his slice of Alpina perfection with us: this stunning #Island-Green B10 3.5 that took on BMW’s E34 5-Series back in the early ‘90s. “I bought it as a shell on a trolley, along with a couple of boxes of bits, after the previous owner lost interest in it.” Giles explains how he took on this huge, yet clearly extremely rewarding project, just a few short years ago.

    Now back to its former glory, practically every part has been bought fresh from either Alpina or BMW. There’s no denying that luxury charm is present by the bucketload too. This one contains touches like signature gold stripes and a sumptuous leather interior. Of course, there's also the re-worked version of the #BMW-M30 #straight-six engine that Alpina took out of #BMW-535i-E34 .

    Only 572 of these super-saloons were ever produced worldwide, so it’s great to see another example brought back from the brink. Top work for saving another modern classic icon from the scrapper!

    TOP MODS: Full nut-and-bolt bare-shell restoration in original Island Green colour, genuine Alpina badging and stripes, original Silver Grey leather interior, #Bilstein shocks and #Eibach springs.
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    LIGHTS AND BRAKES #BMW-E34 / #BMW-535i / #BMW-535i-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW

    My E34 535, which I’ve had for many years, is now not showing the service interval lights properly. Currently, one green comes up, but there was no reaction when I tried to reset them with the tool.

    The Haynes manual warns that the battery may leak and cause problems. I’m probably lucky that it hasn’t already happened! Anyway, have you got a source for a replacement light module?

    One other thing. During last year’s MoT, the tester had a problem to get sufficient handbrake effort; he managed it, but only just. Later, I removed the discs to examine the installations and, actually, they both seemed to be quite alright. So I cleaned-up the handbrake drums and the linings just to be sure, then re-assembled everything.

    On the road the brakes didn’t feel much different. However, I do have the #Autocar issue from May 25, #1988 , which includes the 535 road test. In that, the brake test shows 26% for the handbrake and a braking distance of 116 feet from 30mph.

    So, I’m wondering if there’s anything sensible that I could do to improve matters? I’d hate to see the old girl get grounded for this.
    • The E34 doesn’t have batteries in the SI board, but the green lights can fail with age. New circuit boards from BMW are an insane price (£2000+) so, iThe E34 doesn’t have batteries in the SI board, but the green lights can fail with age. New circuit boards from BMW are an insane price (£2000+) so, in my opinion, the best thing to do is simply leave it alone, especially if the rest of it still works.

      Handbrakes will need new shoes and clips, plus new drums, if they’re going to work properly. Correct adjustment is also very important, and entails fully slackening-off at the handbrake lever inside the car, and setting it up on the rear discs/drums, before adjusting on the lever to finish it off.
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    The #1994 - #BMW-E34 #Alpina-B10-Biturbo road test.

    The #BMW-E34-Alpina-B10-Biturbo - Ferrari Testarossa performance, Silver Spirit silence. By Paul Frere Photos by John Lamm.

    From the very beginning, Alpina’s products have been based on cars from #BMW with which it operates in close cooperation. I have driven many fascinating cars from #Alpina and even owned one, but the 535i-based B10 Biturbo is surely the most impressive of them all: a comfortable 4-door that blends Rolls-Royce silence with Testarossa performance, with road manners to match. Only its bodyshell and basic suspension parts remain essentially as produced by BMW.

    When the car arrives at the Alpina works in Buchloe. Germany, the engine is completely dismantled. Forged pistons are fitted and all moving pieces rebalanced. The combustion chambers are remachined, and new valves (sodium-cooled on the exhaust side) and a new camshaft are fitted. The intake and exhaust systems are entirely Alpina. They include new exhaust manifolds supplying twin Garrett T25 water-cooled turbochargers with an integrated, electronically controlled wastegate feeding the engine through a large intercooler.

    Fuel injection and ignition are by Bosch Motronic. The entire exhaust system is made of stainless steel and includes no less than six metal-core catalysts with Lambda-Sond control. Maximum boost pressure is 11.4 psi, but a knob on the instrument console allows this to be reduced to 5.7 psi to avoid excess power on slippery surfaces. The result at full boost is an Output of 360 bhp DIN at 6000 rpm and mammoth torque 384 lb ft.

    As this is more than the standard #BMW-535i-E34 clutch and gearbox can take, a stronger Fichtel & Sachs clutch and a 5-speed gearbox, specially developed by #Getrag transmit the drive to the beefed-up rear axle, which includes a 25-percent limited- slip differential.

    Where else but in Germany can a speedometer needle edge past the 300-km/h mark? And what cars do it with as much ease and comfort as the #Alpina-B10-Biturbo-E34 ? Precious few. Alpina’s twin-turbo treatment furnishes BMW’s #M30 3.5-liter six with a whopping 360 bhp and 384lb ft of torque.

    Light-alloy 17-in Alpina multispoke wheels make room for larger- than-standard Girling brakes with 4- piston front calipers. Linear-rate springs are used all around with antiroll bars and Bilstein-damped front struts. At the rear, the Fichtel & Sachs shock absorbers also control the ride height, which is hydraulically adjusted by an electronically operated high-pressure system.

    This system is essential because the 3735 lb B10's camber is affected by suspension movements. And when the B10 reaches a maximum speed of 181 mph it's even more important. Excessive negative camber could cause the tires to overheat and fail at sustained speeds of this order. The B10’s tires are ultra-low-profile Michelin MXX2s on 8 ½ - and 9 ½ - in wide rims front and rear, respectively. The power-assisted steering is recalibrated to suit Alpina requirements. A special front air dam and rear spoiler are added to combat aerodynamic lift.

    The interior trim is specific to Alpina and incorporates the company's own fabric. A #Alpina-B10 buyer gets a choice of BMW-based or Alpina front seats, as well as a special steering wheel, polished wood door and console trim. Traction control is standard, and a switch enables the driver to override it. Air conditioning is also standard, along with a superb radio/cassette sound system.

    Acceleration in the standing-start kilometer (0.62 mile) is 24.7 seconds, faster than a Ferrari 348. a Porsche 911 Carrera 2 or 4 or an Acura NSX. But almost more impressive is the effortlessness - and the silence - with which the B10 Biturbo accelerates.

    The twin-turbo installation of the #Alpina-B10-E34 has spectacularly reduced turbo lag. Thanks to the low inertia of the two small turbochargers and to the electronic wastegate control, response is nearly immediate in almost any circumstance. Nor does the boost build with a bang. It rises progressively in a well-controlled manner, with 370 lb ft of torque already on hand as the engine reaches 3000 rpm. Torque remains above this figure until 5000 rpm, and reaches its peak of 384 lb ft at 4000 rpm.

    The B10 reached a maximum speed of 181 mph. At such speeds, the car feels entirely stable, with no suggestion of the front end getting light or any tendency to wander.

    Neither wind nor road noise is obtrusive. Cruising at 125 mph feels positively slow, and flooring the accelerator pedal catapults the heavy car forward-irrespective of whether 4th or 5th gear is selected-without the din usually associated with all-out acceleration from such speeds. The gearbox is another fine piece of machinery. It is inaudible in any gear, and its smooth action allows for some quick shifts.

    With such performance, the brakes are put to the challenge, and they do their job admirably. Handling is definitely of sports-car character, the B10 cornering quite flatly in a slightly understeering attitude that can easily be changed by reducing the throttle opening. Apart from a little vagueness around the straight-ahead position, the power-assist steering is excellent.

    The Alpina's comfort level was an-other bright surprise. The suspension is rather firm, inspiring a great sense of safety, but even at low speeds it does not feel harsh. How much low-speed harshness is perceived depends to a large extent on acoustics, and the B10's good insulation probably helps. This is one reason why Alpina chose Michelin MXX2 tires.

    The B10’s fuel consumption in dense Munich traffic averaged a remarkable 19 mpg. I averaged 100 mph from Hockenheim to the outskirts of Munich fora fuel consumption figure of 14.1 mpg, astonishingly economical taking into account that the engine’s full potential was used wherever possible. Even driven at those speeds, the range provided by the 29-gallons (80-litres) fuel tank should exceed 400 miles.

    What more could one wish for? Apart from the small steering problem and stiff clutch-pedal action, the #BMW-E34-Alpina B10 Biturbo E34 would truly be the perfect car.
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