Relaxed, shockingly rapid cruiser, but there’s no getting away from its size and heaviness

Our Verdict

Alpina B5
The B5 falls short of other brilliant, and recently launched Alpinas

The Alpina B5 is very quick, but it is let down by uninvolving driving dynamics

What is it?

It's almost a year since we initially drove Alpina’s B5 Biturbo – the very first example off the production line, in fact – on a blast from the firm’s factory in Bavaria to Goodwood. Much has changed since then, so we’re told, including revisions to the B5’s suspension settings and the arrival of the tyres that the car was always designed to be fitted with: Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

The rest of the formula still sounds pretty attractive. In Alpina tune, BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 produces 500bhp at 5500rpm and 516lb ft from just 3000rpm. The engine is fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The chassis set-up includes 20-inch wheels and regular tyres – not runflats.

What's it like?

For the most part, the B5 delivers on UK roads. The V8 has a classy, deep exhaust note; it’s refined, although not as characterful as the sound of AMG’s latest twin-turbo V8. It has colossal torque, and the gearbox seems happy to deal with it all, holding gears in the most extreme mode to allow you to get involved with the steering wheel-mounted buttons (we’d prefer a paddle option). Oh, and the ride is generally excellent. We’d only really criticise the road noise from the UK’s well worn motorways.

Don’t expect to throw the B5 around, however, because there’s no disguising that this is a big, heavy car that’s not exactly comfortable with rapid changes of direction on twistier roads. Traction can be an issue, too, and the steering needs a little more feel. Whether this is down to Alpina’s own engineering or the parameters dealt out by the latest BMW 5-series remains to be seen.

Should I buy one?

It means, though, that the B5, good as it is, falls a little short of the all-round brilliance of some other recent Alpinas. Now, a D5, anyone?

John McIlroy

Alpina B5 Biturbo

Price: £71,950; Top speed: 191mph; 0-62mph: 4.7sec; Economy: 26.2mpg (combined); CO2: 252g/km; Kerb weight: 1920kg; Engine: V8, 4395cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Power: 500bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 516lb ft at 3000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
12

15 June 2011

That review does surprise me considering the previous model was rated more as a thinking mans M5. Lack of willingness to change direction, questionable traction - most un-Alpina like.

May be, because of the mechanical similarity between this and the new M5, Alpina have been asked to back off a bit?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

15 June 2011

[quote TegTypeR]May be, because of the mechanical similarity between this and the new M5, Alpina have been asked to back off a bit?[/quote]

It is funny now isn't it? I have always been disappointed by BMW's decision to ditch the na V10 for a forced induction unit found in common production beemers, but only now did I realise that the upcoming M5 is a rebadged alpina...

Now BMW moves into alpina territory so alpina is asked to back off and fill the non existent niche of a "not so sporty" 500bhp family car?

Seems to me AMG all the way.

15 June 2011

i was always lead to believe that alpina's ethos is not one of M5 bashing superior handling, but bespoke interiors, refined and extremely potent engines, classy exteriors, and a good ride. Seems to me the B5 is a true alpina...

15 June 2011

So it's just a poshed up M5 then? right?,kind of makes AMG's 63 look like good value.

Peter Cavellini.

15 June 2011

I'm not sure if the issue is so much with the car as with Autocar's overall view of the latest 5-series in its various guises. In short, the magazine, or at least its testers, have consistently nit-picked and gone out of their way to find faults with the 5, underplaying its strengths and overblowning its supposed weaknesses.

I might've been inclined to take their critical word for it, had it not been for the fact that most of other sources that I've read seem to regard the car as excellent and maybe even better (shock, horror Autocar) than the magazine's often stated favourite, the XK.

15 June 2011

[quote Autocar] It means, though, that the B5, good as it is, falls a little short of the all-round brilliance of some other recent Alpinas. Now, a D5, anyone? [/quote]

A D5, now surely everyone knows a D5 is a Volvo engine designation ;)

15 June 2011

[quote Overdrive]than the magazine's often stated favourite, the XK.[/quote]

Do you mean the XF?

15 June 2011

[quote vinylnutter]

[quote Overdrive]than the magazine's often stated favourite, the XK.[/quote]

Do you mean the XF?

[/quote] I probably do, I can't remember now. It was all hazy when I wrote that, I was under stress at work, bills are mounting up, cat got run over...............ok enough bs, yes I meant XF and thank you for the correction.

15 June 2011

where are the big ' alpina ' stickers running down the side. surely thats the only point of buying one, so everyone knows your driving an ' alpina '.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

16 June 2011

As much as I like the concept of Alpinas, swapping the dct for a slusher and some suspension hacking just don't qualify as special, let alone 'exclusive'.

Having said that, the M5 is not out yet, it may turn out properly different.

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