The Boldmen CR4 is probably one of the most interesting produced vehicles you can buy. Time for a comparison with the over 30 year old Alpina Roadster Limited Edition, which has many parallels with the Boldmen.
Friedhelm Wiesmann doesn’t like it when his youngest baby, the Boldmen CR4, is called BMW Z4. With its so-called BMW CLAR architecture, this forms the basis for the exclusive car factory product – but no part of the CR4 outer skin is identical to the sheet metal parts of the base. After the end of the legendary sports car brand (1988 to 2013), Wiesmann would like to do it again and founded a new car brand together with the entrepreneurs Harald and Michael Käs. And the fact that this venture is still operating in the age of increasingly difficult approval procedures is almost sensational.
After all, entrepreneurs Käs and Wiesmann have already delivered 13 cars to customers – the Boldmen CR4 is certainly not just an announced project in a glossy brochure, as is often the case with exotic cars, which in some places can only be admired as prototypes at trade fairs. No, it stands on the road, drives and is continuously produced.
Carbon instead of sheet metal
Reason enough to borrow it and place it next to an Alpina Roadster Limited Edition, which in turn is based on the BMW Z1. Even if the approaches are completely different, the two models certainly have parallels. Like Boldmen, Alpina also has manufacturer status. And then there is the collaboration with BMW.
But above all, the Bavarian Swabians aim for maximum independence: not only does the CR4 not look like a Z4 – the changes are also technically enormous. Instead of regular sheet metal, engineer Michael Käs (who incidentally worked for Alois Ruf and later for Alpina) uses carbon as the outer skin to save about 100 kilograms in weight compared to the base.
Excitement with 408 hp
The excitement builds slowly. It’s high time for a round with the CR4, whose three-litre six-cylinder (the B58 borrowed from the BMW shelf) brings it up to 408 instead of the previous 340 pins. And the first few meters in the compact roadster are already an impressive demonstration that not just a renamed Z4 is at work here. In terms of longitudinal and lateral dynamics, the CR4 wants more, darts through the bend brutally than the base, but isn’t stingy with residual comfort.
The CR4 also works as a tourer, sailing with its crew several hundred miles at a time without damaging their backs. For short dynamic interludes on country roads when hopping in traffic jams, it’s always available to catapult the corners of the passengers’ mouths back up.
The right pedal can also be used to generate a lot of forward thrust, and it should only take 3.9 seconds to reach country road speed. And as engine speed increases, so does the sound experience with the guttural, trumpeting six-pointer, despite the noise-canceling turbos. The latter also doesn’t stop the three-liter from turning slightly towards the limiter, while still offering punch like a sledgehammer.
Fresh air kick after adrenaline kick
The fresh air kick follows the adrenaline kick. With the Alpina this works a bit better with the subject “let the wind blow in your face” than with the CR4. The small, eccentric BMW Z1 with its now legendary electric sliding doors, er, in this case Alpina Roadster, is a really big hit from the perspective of the convertible experience. The fact that an Alpina is available here is of course central, especially in the context of the Boldmen CR4. The Bovensiepens named the Z1 BMW-Alpina RLE, which stands for “Roadster Limited Edition”.
Only 66 units were made, so this roadster is truly a rarity. Buchloe’s engineers have of course fine-tuned the propellant to make sure driving is fun too. Instead of 2.5, the six-cylinder Alpina engine casts 2.7 and delivers 200 horsepower of engine power. This means that the 1.3-tonne truck is anything but slow, but needs a lot of revs if you want to go fast. Another problem is the switch from the CR4: after that everything else goes pretty smoothly.
But cruising, especially with the doors open (which is allowed, by the way) in the Alpina Roadster is quite a unique experience, and after a brisk ride on the Autobahn, your haircut is guaranteed to be over – or perfectly straightened, depending on your opinion. In any case, both extremely exclusive cars offer a lot of fun – just in different ways. It’s nice that the CR4 can be configured as a new car the way the customer wants. Of course, fine interior materials are a good shape. The team from Welden near Augsburg realizes different types of fine cowhide, even several at once, as well as an almost unlimited choice of colours.
The CR4 starts at 184,900 euros and is exclusive, yet a full-fledged everyday car. Of course this also includes infotainment that is state-of-the-art. From the great music system to the screen navigation and smartphone integration, everything is included. The search for the right Alpina Roadster turns out to be more difficult, because most owners no longer give their copy away. Often none appear on the relevant exchanges for months. And then there should be hardly any leeway for price negotiations. A little tip: Order a CR4 and have fun while you search for an Alpina Roadster Limited Edition. It’s nice if the budget allows for this pleasure.
Alpina Roadster Limited Edition – technical data:
Roadster, construction period: 1990 to 1991, length: 3.92 meters, width: 1.69 meters, height: 1.28 meters, wheelbase: 2.45 meters
2.7 l six-cylinder in-line petrol engine, 147 kW/200 hp, maximum torque: 261 Nm at 4900 rpm, 0-100 km/h: 7.1 s, Vmax: 231 km/h, 5-speed manual transmission
Old new price: 116,000 German marks
The current market price according to Classic Data:
Note 2: 99,000 Euro
Note 3: 63,000 Euro
Note 4: 34.000 Euro
Boldmen CR4 – technical data:
Roadster, length: 4.42 meters, width: 1.93 meters, height: 1.28 meters, wheelbase: 2.47 meters
3.0 l six-cylinder petrol engine with two turbos, 300 kW/408 hp, maximum torque: 610 Nm, 0-100 km/h: 3.9 s, Vmax: 250 km/h, eight-speed automatic transmission (converter), average consumption: 7 .9 l/100 km (WLTP), CO2 emissions: 181 g/km, base price: from 184,900 euros