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Headline:ALPINAregister.com ALPINA Roadster S road testDate:22/06/2004
Source:The ALPINA Register   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:ALPINAregister.com ALPINA Roadster S road test

theALPINAregister.com
Review


ALPINA Roadster S



Our Thoughts
Can it really be as good as it looks ?

Can I have a set of those wheels for my car ?

Background

The Roadster S was launched in February this year. Sharing components with the BMW Z4, and gaining the 3.4-litre straight six from the B3 S.

Exterior Styling



Style formed by function
When the Z4 first appeared it harked the arrival of the Bangle-age of BMW. The styling was unique, controversial and certainly divided opinion. However, unlike the second Bangle car the E65 7-Series, the Z4 has grown on people and is now a strikingly good looking car.

That is until you see the ALPINA. The three main changes to the exterior are: the front spoiler featuring large air intakes which provides additional engine cooling; the rear spoiler, an extended lip on the boot which helps to reduce lift (in combination with the front spoiler); and finally the fantastic wheels. In my mind the new ALPINA Dynamic wheels - 19inch no less are the best wheels currently available anywhere. The overall effect of these changes is stunning.

The car we tested was in Silver; the last Roadster S we saw at MPH03 was in ALPINA blue, both colours look very good.


Interior Styling


ALPINA detailing throughout the interior
Inside the interior is standard Z4 plus all the usual ALPINA trimmings: ALPINA hand stitched steering wheel; ALPINA seats (with ALPINA roundel on the all-black seats); ALPINA floor mats; ALPINA gearstick; ALPINA dials (made by BORG) - these are more individual than other recent ALPINAs and have very pointed red needles.

The car comes in two guises: standard and lux pack. The lux pack costs an additional 3950, for that you get 5500 worth of extras: Park distance control; wind deflector; Isofix child seat preparation (the passenger air bag can be disable by a button on the centre console); Xenon headlights; Cruise control; Satellite navigation; bluetooth phone prep; 6-CD changer; Headlamp washers; ALPINA Leather dash and doortrims; multi-function steeringwheel; and ALPINA 19 inch wheels.

We tested a Lux pack equipped car and that is the expected spec for most of the Roadsters.


Ride, Handling & Steering



ALPINA suspension = ride + handling
The ride is firm, but as usual ALPINA has managed to combine excellent handling with comfortable ride.

They have dismissed the use of run-flat tyres for the reasons of reducing weight and improving ride.

High speed stability can be taken for granted.

Handling is good with little body movement even when the roads get twisty.

Steering is precise and responsive.


Engine, Gearbox and Performance



300bhp / 267lb ft from the 3.4-litre straight six
The Roadster S gets the 3.4-litre straight six engine from the B3 S. This engine conservatively produces 300bhp (@ 6300rpm) and 267 lb ft (@4800rpm). The car weighs 1320Kg and therefore has a handy power-to-weight ratio of 220bhp/tonne (200lb ft/tonne). This means 0-60mph arrives in 5 seconds while 100mph arrives just 7 seconds later. Top speed is 165mph for the soft top or 168 for the hard top.

I was interested to hear what the engine would sound like after I had a go in a 3.0-litre Z4 - which really impressed me in terms of both acceleration and the sound it produced. The Roadster S is more butch - angry sounding. The noise is quite distinct and certainly is a pleasant accompaniment to the experience.

We haven't performance tested the Roadster S yet. But the car accelerates hard and the published numbers look easily obtainable. The large real tyres deploy the power effectively.

At no point during the test did the traction control kick in - something my B10 3.3 was also reticent to do. This was even true when it rained. Ok - I could have provoked it but it's still reassuring that the limit is set high.

The gearbox is equally impressive combining a nice short throw with individual gears that slot into place with a very positive action. Clutch weighting is also very good.


Practicality




Spacious and Sporty. Suprising boot. Quick roof
The Roadster has the ability to feel spacious and also compact and sporty. Legroom is more than ample, so too is headroom.

The boot is remarkably spacious, even more so when you realise that the roof does not actually take up any of the space when it is down. The actually volume is 240 litres and configured in a usable shape. The car has no spare tyre; instead you get a tyre re-inflation kit - which is located in the boot.

The roof action is also very efficient taking around 10 seconds to go down.


Conclusion

The Roadster S costs 38,900 in standard form, or 42,850 for car with the lux pack. The nearest BMW Z4 is the 3.0-litre costs 31,650, the obvious question is - is the ALPINA worth 7k more - but the answer is not so obvious, The Roadster S isn't a tuned Z4 it is a complete car in its own right built by a different manufacturer. It is designed by ALPINA using BMW parts in addition to lots of other parts specifically built by or for ALPINA. The end result is a very complete package where the sum of the parts is greater than the individual differences.

The question is really what does the Roadster S compare with - Autocar chose to compare it to the TVR 350C (38,698) in a group test (TWIN FREAKS). In the review the Roadster S beats the TVR and the review also implies the it would beat the Porsche Boxter S (38,330) too.

And thats really good news for ALPINA. What's more is that there is one available immediately - if you're interested. I was... but they don't do a 5-seater version - more's the pity.


Neil
ALPINA Press Release for the Roadster S

Our Photos of the Roadster S at MPH03

Full Set of Photos taken during the test

ALPINA UK website

What do you think ? Have your say here

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