ALPINA and BMW have been working closely together for several decades now. Initially, the two were mainly focused on the motorsport side of things but, as time went by, the priorities changed and ALPINA makes some of the best luxurious land rockets available on the market today. However, the Buchloe-based car maker/tuner had a couple of very interesting projects in its basement, some of which were never approved.
We learned about an Alpina-developed i8 model last week but apart from that canceled project, the bosses also revealed that a MINI Hardtop was also on the table at one point. Yes, this would be an even bigger stretch than the i8 and it looks like the MINI project was created at the beginning of the 2000s, when BMW took over the company. According to Autocar, the tuner created and tested a MINI prototype which would’ve rivaled the likes of the JCW offering.
However, when it came to putting it in production, keeping costs down was an issue. That’s because their model would’ve competed against the JCW and thus pricing had to be kept in check. Since that was too complicated to justify the trouble, the project was cancelled rather quickly.
Furthermore, the complexity of the project was rather high considering MINI wasn’t actually part of ALPINA’s heritage. Back then, the MINIs also weren’t sharing as much of their underpinnings with BMWs as they do today.
Luckily for them though, the BMW 6 Series made a comeback in 2003 and that proved to be the perfect project replacement for the MINI efforts. Since this was a luxurious GT car with plenty of history under its belt and a deep rooted connection to the Alpina brand, it was immediately approved as their next big thing. Ever since the early 2000s, MINI was never reconsidered by Alpina.