After our earlier story of the B6 2.8, it is now time for the M20 powered C2 2.7. The E30 with the biggest displacement M20, coming in at a healthy 2693 cc. Exactly the same as the efficiency oriented 325e, but instead of looking for low-down grunt, trying to extract as much hp and torque as possible. The result is 210hp and 267Nm with a higher redline and a very linear power delivery. Alpina is using their normal magic to achieve this power hike; Mahle pistons, Alpina camshaft, custom cylinder head, Alpina equal length headers, full exhaust system, new motor management and some other goodies.
Not only the engine was overhauled, also the suspension and brakes were taken care of. And to give the car its own identity, the standard Alpina recipe was being followed; unique front spoiler, Alpina staggered wheels (7Jx16 and 8Jx16), rear spoiler and the well-known striping. These were available in different colors, but these gold ones on red look quite stunning has to be said.
Further money could be spent on the inside of the car. In this case the steering wheel, shifter knob, Recaro/Alpina sport seats, Alpina tacho and footrest. All of the items that make these cars so appealing and sought after. As the C2 is the “facelifted” type 1, it uses the front spoiler without the brake cooling intakes. The B6 on the other hand, has that spoiler which also fits the more “reclined” front airdam of the non-facelifted type 1. Respectively VFL and VVFL in german terminology.
Driving this car can probably be described as being the ultimate E30 feeling. Being the most powerful M20 engine, it probably suits the car best. No, it’s not as light as the M3 with its super sharp turn-in, nor as heavy as the B6 2.8/3.5, but just what you expect from the otherwise top-of-the-line E30, the 325i. Just with an astonishing 40hp more. But as all E30’s are fabulous cars, each has its own USP. And as we have many of them available to try, I would like to make a summary so far. But beware, this is just one man’s opinion! Please feel free to comment and chime in with your own personal take on the subject.
– 320i: engine smooth as a turbine, balanced, but relatively slow
– 325i: perfect balance and sufficiently powered
– C1 2.5: more powerful 325i with a better sound
– M3: super sharp steering and magnificent balance; not so fast though
– B6 2.8: fast and perfect combination of sportiness and comfort (cruiser/GT)
– C2 2.7: most powerful small six, sporty and great overall abilities
– B6 3.5(s): to be confirmed
Finally, let’s first clear up some confusion about the Alpina vehicle coding. Basically it breaks down like this:
– Before 1975, no letter/number combination was being used
– The letter A was used for all M10 engines in the E21
– The letter B for M30 engines (E21 and E30)
– The letter C for M20 engines (E21 and E30)
All of this “logic” ended however in 1987, when the C2 2.7 suddenly changed into B3 2.7; so far for the simplicity. From that moment on Alpina only used the letter B, until they considered oil-burners good enough to play with. At that time Alpina and BMW also embarked into a much closer relationship with BMW delivering semi-finished bodyshells to Buchloe instead of fully finished vehicles.
Still the numbers didn’t add up, as they haven’t done until 2004, when Alpina finally decided to follow the BMW 3/5/7 series numbering, starting with the E65 B7 (except for the Z4). But probably not even Einstein could have found a formula to identify some logic in the digit department…
This car is brought into this wonderful condition by Ronny Dreizehner
Pictures by Chris Brown