There is a common misconception regarding ALPINA about being nothing more than a tuner, but that is not true considering the Buchloe-based company has been registered as a manufacturer with the German Federal Motor Transport Authority since 1983. Not only that, but it only sells complete vehicles for the simple reason you’re not going to find aftermarket kits for sale. Well, unless they’re ripped apart from an existing ALPINA car.

A new WELT lengthy documentary tells the story of what it takes to transform the BMW-badged 7 Series into a B7 as well as the X7 into an XB7. Furthermore, these are more than just amped-up versions is the fact Alpina gives the cars a new chassis number, thus replacing the original code stamped onto the vehicle by BMW. Needless to say, the new number is added to the vehicle documentation before the owner takes delivery – effectively (and officially) turning a BMW into an ALPINA.

The 50-minute documentary does a great job at showcasing how extensive the changes are and why ALPINA deserves its status as a car manufacturer. Aside from a subtle body kit and the company’s timeless multi-spoke wheels, the BMWs receive upgraded engines and various changes to the suspension, brakes, and a new interior finish. Yes, the already soft leather of the standard car is replaced with ALPINA’s own posh materials.

It goes without saying BMW and ALPINA have a strong relationship, with the former listing the latter’s models onto its website. The B7 and XB7 are seen by many as indirect substitutes for the M7 and X7 M, but the company is more than just about these two luxobarges and the B8 Gran Coupe also sold in the United States.

Over in Europe, the lineup starts off with the 3 Series offered in gasoline B3 and diesel D3 S configurations, both available in sedan and wagon configurations. The same goes for the 5 Series with B5 and D5 S models, while the X3 and X4 crossovers come exclusively as diesels in XD3 and XD4 versions, respectively. The portfolio will be expanded most likely in 2022 with the introduction of a B4 Gran Coupe tailored to those longing for an M4 Gran Coupe.

Getting a rare behind-the-scenes look at what it takes for a BMW to evolve into an ALPINA is an excellent opportunity provided by the WELT documentary, detailing the intricate transformation process that covers just about all aspects of a vehicle.

[Source: WELT Documentary / YouTube]