As diesel fuel continues to get a worse and worse reputation, thanks in no small part to Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, governments and car companies alike are shying away from it. Volvo has even claimed to be ridding itself of diesel engines within the next couple of years. However, thankfully, there are still some brands that believe in diesel for the future and ALPINA is one of them.
According to ALPINA’s owner, Andreas Bovensiepen, “Finally now with build technique and the high level of technology that BMW [has] with catalytic converters and AdBlue, a lot of tests have proven that diesel is really clean now concerning NOx – it’s very very low,” he said. ““In Europe we now get RDE – which is Real Driving Emissions, where we have to prove, on the roads, that your car in every occasion is clean – not only on a test dyno.” to which he continued, “This means now that diesel is getting really clean – and it has to be, otherwise you cannot offer this kind of car. So I think diesel will have a good future, especially in cars with two-liters or more capacity.”
ALPINA currently makes some incredible diesel engines. They’re based on BMW engines, of course, but they’re so heavily tuned by ALPINA that they might as well be its own. Cars like the ALPINA D3, D5 and XD3 are all superb performance machines that all use diesel fuel. They provide M car performance with superior fuel efficiency and smoother, more relaxed delivery.
While BMW pushes more toward hybrids and electrification, ALPINA is more hesitant. “I can imagine [we will] in the mid to long-term, but our customer expects a six-cylinder inline engine. Currently as you know the BMW hybrid strategy is focused on four-cylinder, which is not our target group.” said Bovensiepen.
It’s not just engine size and power, though. Bovensiepen doesn’t want to add the extra weight of a hybrid. “As with new technology, you have to learn in the first and second generation and then you get better batteries, this electric stuff gets made smaller,” he said. “In the beginning everything is huge, big, heavy and that’s difficult for a sporty car – probably as difficult for M as for us. If you have a second engine in the car and a battery, it gets quite heavy.
So the alternative to petrol engines will continue to be diesel for ALPINA. It’s affordable to make, provides the smooth, quiet torque that the brand is looking for and keeps the weight the same. If you were afraid that diesel performance cars were going to die out sooner than later, take solace in the face that ALPINA will continue to make them for the foreseeable future.