Innovation and History.
Since its foundation in 1965, ALPINA has repeatedly garnered attention for adopting innovative technologies in series production, often years ahead of mass manufacturers.
Following its commitment to providing effortless driving experiences, ALPINA focussed on high-torque engines in combination with automatic transmission from the very beginning.
Setting the trend, ALPINA company founder Burkard Bovensiepen had the idea of enabling drivers to manually control the gear shifts of their automatic transmission from the steering wheel by means of buttons. For this purpose, the terminology "SWITCH-TRONIC" was registered with the Trademark and Patent Office in January 1992. ALPINA became the first series manufacturer worldwide to offer what is today essentially standard technology with regards to automatic transmissions. Porsche followed two years later in 1994 with the Tiptronic S.
At the heart of the first SWITCH-TRONIC was a Bosch transmission control unit in conjunction with the ZF 5HP18. The assembly of the shift buttons and their integration into the front of the spokes of a Momo steering wheel (then without airbag) took place at ALPINA by hand.
The advantages of the SWITCH-TRONIC were and continue to be the ability of the driver to control the shifting of the automatic transmission as he wishes and in a safe and ergonomic manner directly from the steering wheel.
High-tech meets craftsmanship.
The new SWITCH-TRONIC shift paddles from the EDITION 99 are created combining high-tech and craftsmanship. The shift paddles are manufactured from a solid block of high quality aluminium, their size and complex shape means they require more than two hours each in the CNC milling machine. Afterwards a complex procedure of sand blasting and grinding create a smooth surface structure, which is followed by a special anodized coating for the black matt finish. After final installation of the electronics and a functions tests the shift paddles are mounted on the steering wheel.
The construction of the shift paddles is the result of a comprehensive design process which aimed to combine advanced ergonomics with maximum functionality and a sporty, technical aesthetic.