What you see here is not a BMW M5. In fact, it predates the first M Division’d 5er by a whole year. It’s a B9 3.5, from those builders of BMW-based autobahn smashers - Alpina. In other words, it’s far cooler than an M5.
To build it, Alpina took an E28 528i and dropped in an M30 ‘35i’ inline-six. But not without a thorough fiddle - Alpina-spec M30s received new cylinder heads with bigger inlet valves and a high-lift camshaft, a fresh intake manifold and fancier pistons.
A rejigged ECU and an Alpina exhaust system rounded off the under-bonnet changes, yielding a conservatively rated output of 245bhp. 0-62mph took 6.3 seconds and the top speed was 153mph - in 1983, that was properly quick.
The modifications went beyond the engine bay, with B9s gaining Bilstein dampers with new springs, and wider tyres necessitating some tweaks at the rear to accommodate them. And, of course, the usual Alpina visual accoutrements - multi-spoke wheels (16s), a low-hanging front splitter and a subtle rubber boot spoiler.
This particular example, owned by Jay Kay for nine years, includes that must-have 80s Alpina finishing touch - the optional ‘Deco’ stripe kit. The blue and green motif of the stripes is replicated on the delicious ‘Scheel’ bucket seats, going nicely with the cabin’s wooden Alpina gear knob and the bespoke leather-trimmed steering wheel.
As well as being thoroughly lovely inside and out, it’s also rare. Alpina made 500 B9s in this generation, only 64 of which were right-hand drive. Interestingly, the RHD Alpinas during this time were made by a two-man team at Sytner in Nottingham, rather than at the company’s factory in Buchloe.
Pleasingly, it hasn’t been a garage queen its whole life, despite spending nine years in a collection. It’s covered 134,756 miles, and shortly after taking ownership, the musician had the car treated to “a thorough inspection from a marque specialist with all areas requiring attention to be taken care of”.
If you’re now expecting an other-worldly price tag, here’s the good news - it’s going under the hammer via a Silverstone Auctions online sale later this month with an estimate of £25,000 - 30,000. In other words, it should go for comfortably less than the starting price for a modern BMW 3-series. We know what we’d rather.