This is a very interesting car and certainly one of the most special cars ever built by Alpina. BMW had already tried to put a V8 in the E36 3-series, but didn’t succeed in designing a version which could be built on the regular E36 production line. Alpina did succeed, however the body had to undergo 42 modifications at the BMW factory before the V8 could fit. To make it fit, the engine isn’t mounted as usual from below - Alpina had to install it from above.
For information about the engine & gearbox please refer to the separate tab.
The B8 has the same suspension as the B3 3.2 with Bilstein gas-pressure units front and rear. The only difference with the B3 3.2 is that the B8 has ASC+T as standard. The front brakes are uprated with custom-made Lucas ventilated discs and special calipers and the rear brakes are from the M3. The B8 rides on beautiful 17in Alpina wheels with Michelin tires. 235/40 at front and 265/35 at rear.
The interior changes include a hand-sewn leather-rimmed steering wheel, a shift-knob made of wood, luxury wood “Rüster Maser” interior, Alpina upholstery, Recaro sport seats and new instruments, blue with red needles. The exterior changes are not many, a new front spoiler, the wheels and the no-cost option Alpina deco-set in gold or silver. There is also an optional rear spoiler.
This is a very fast car. Alpina claims a 0-100 km/h time of 5,6 seconds and a top speed of over 280 km/h. The in-gear acceleration is much better than the E36 M3.
Production began in April 1995 and ended in 1998. A total of 221 cars were built. The rarest of the B8 4,6 is the convertible with only 23 made. Alpina also built a number of B8 4.0 with 313 bhp - only 5 cars were manufactured and all were sold in Japan.
The engine is based on BMW´s 4.0 litre V8 from the E34 540i. The biggest difference between the standard engine and Alpina’s engine is the displacement. As the BMW V8 engine has Nicasil (and later Alusil) coated bores, the block couldn’t just be overbored; a new block had to be cast by BMW especially for Alpina. Other changes include higher compression Mahle pistons, changed valve timing and a reprogrammed Motronic system.
A new sump is required because the V8 is mounted so deep in the E36 body that the usual 540i sump doesn’t fit. The new sump is very shallow over most of it´s length, but has a very deep part at the front. The new sump depth required a new oil pump which Alpina has made by Arri, the German camera maker.
A new exhaust system and new catalysts are also fitted. The Alpina engine produces 333 bhp, 7 bhp less than the B10 because the B8 has a different exhaust-manifold, and has a torque of 470 Nm. At only 1000 rpm the engine produces 350 Nm, which is the maximum torque of a M3 Evo.
The B8 was only available with a six-speed manual gearbox made by Getrag.
To ensure the rear axle didn’t overheat at sustained high speeds, the B8 4.6 received a massive ribbed differential cover in the style of the E21 B6 2.8.