January 3, 2003
BMW shows 330i Performance Package and Alpina Roadster
Los Angeles, California – A new Performance Package for the 2003 330i Sedan made its world debut yesterday at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. As well, the BMW Alpina Roadster V8 made its North American debut. BMW is also showing the new Z4 Roadster.
BMW says the 330i Performance Package has been created exclusively for the U.S. market for enthusiasts by enthusiasts at BMW Individual, a division of BMW M GmbH. Modifications to the 3.0 litre inline six-cylinder engine, which include different camshafts and performance-modified Digital Motor Electronics, yield a ten horsepower increase to 235. For the first time in a 330i a six-speed manual transmission is standard. With the Performance Package it includes a short-throw shifter. The package also includes a shorter final drive ratio.
The 330i with a Performance Package will accelerate from 0 – 60 miles-per-hour in 6 seconds, about half a second faster than a standard 330i. To match the straight-line performance a new sports suspension, more aggressively tuned than the 330i’s standard sport suspension, is mated to 18-inch wheels with mixed-size performance tires. In addition to the wheels and tires the exterior of the 330i Performance Package is distinguished by its Aerodynamic Package, black headlight trim, high gloss shadowline trim and a new exhaust that not only appears but also sounds more aggressive.
The look and feel of the interior has been refined with cloth and Alcantara sport seats matching the Alcantara sport steering wheel. An anthracite headliner and Black cube aluminum trim complete an ambiance tailored to the enthusiast. Silver cube aluminum trim is optional. The instrumentation includes red needles while the tachometer reflects the modified engine’s 300 higher rpm limit. Production of the 330i Performance Package will begin in March 2003 with the first cars arriving at BMW centers in April.
The BMW Alpina Roadster is a Z8 with an automatic transmission, powered not by the BMW M engine, but rather by a specially developed, higher-performance version of BMW’s “regular” V-8 engine and featuring 20-inch wheels and tires in place of the original model’s 18-inchers.
Alpina was established in 1964 as an official and approved “ennobler” of BMW automobiles. Their tradition is to take production BMWs and make them even more appealing to connoisseurs.
The 4.8 litre Alpina engine comes to within 19 horsepower of the BMW M unit (375 hp, vs. 394), does so at lower rpm levels, and is thus suited to teaming with an automatic transmission. Its power peak comes at 5800 rpm, vs. 6600; its torque peak occurs at the same 3800 rpm but is actually higher: 383 lb-ft. (vs. 368 lb-ft).
The 6-speed manual transmission is replaced by a special BMW ALPINA automatic transmission. Based on the 5-speed ZF automatic employed in V8-powered 5 and X5 Series, the ALPINA version features SWITCH-TRONIC. In addition to up- and downshifting by “tipping” the shift lever rearward or forward, the driver can also shift by pressing “+” and “-” buttons near the steering-wheel rim.
Alpina plans to build only 555 models, and of those approximately 450 will come to the US. No word on how many will come to Canada.