8

Rumour has it that the next big thing from Alpina will be a six-cylinder, twin-turbo D3 that can live with a BMW M3 in a straight line yet return more than 50mpg at the same time.

But that car won’t be available until quite a bit later in the year, and in the meantime Alpina has a whole range of other new cars with which to tickle the fancies of enthusiasts wanting more exclusivity from their fast BMWs, starting with the car you see here, the frankly monstrous new B6 Biturbo coupé.

Everything about the B6 is, shall we say, large. Beneath its bonnet sits a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 that produces 532bhp between 5200 and 6250rpm and a positively herculean 538lb ft at just 2800rpm.

The gearbox is a tweaked version of the eight-speed ZF automatic used in the regular 6 Series, in this case enhanced by Alpina’s engineers to prevent upshifts in certain modes (which is useful on a circuit, for example) and to momentarily cut the flow of fuel and deliver a lovely burble between gearshifts as a result.

The chassis has also been preened by Alpina to provide a wider range of set-ups than in the standard BMW 6 Series. So in Comfort mode the ride quality is softer than you get in a regular BMW, while in Sport and Sport Plus it’s the other way around, with the electronic dampers sharpening up the driving experience to a level that no regular BMW driver would quite recognise.

The same philosophy applies to the interior, in which you’ll find a far higher quality of leather than in a factory BMW, plus a set of dials and seats that are bespoke to the B6.

And if that’s not sufficient to distinguish the car, Alpina also offers a vast range of options that enable B6 owners to personalise their cars to whatever specification they require – while spending a great deal of money in the process, of course.

Outwardly, you can pick a B6 from lesser 6 Series for several reasons. Not only does it come with Alpina’s big, beautiful 20in turbine alloys, but there’s also a new front splitter that reduces lift by as much as 10 per cent, says Alpina, while at the back there’s a small new lip spoiler or, if you’re feeling flamboyant, an optional new tea-tray wing that makes even better use of the redesigned rear diffuser.

On the road the B6 feels massively rapid, thanks mainly to the torque it produces from seemingly any engine speed and in any gear. The way the transmission manages the flow of energy is truly epic, and it gives the B6 a blend of smooth but monumental acceleration that no factory BMW, not even the M6, could hope to replicate on the move.

The exhaust note is rather delicious too, Alpina’s modifications gifting the B6 with a depth and range of noises that are endlessly entertaining to listen to.

Despite the chassis modifications, the B6 always feels like a fairly big car on the move. Its kerb weight of 1870kg means it is always going to fight a losing battle against the forces of inertia that swell during rapid direction changes or, indeed, under braking. 

The steering is a touch distant in its feedback, too, even though the front end always feels planted – as does the tail – if and when you aim the B6 at a high-speed corner with some enthusiasm.

Overall, the B6 is more of a high-speed cruiser than it is a pure sports car, but for the kind of customer who wants that little bit more depth from their 6-series, it’s a lovely alternative to the factory offerings.

At £92,850, it’s expensive, yes, but if ever a car felt worth that sort of money, the Alpina B6 is it. 

Alpina B6 Biturbo

Price £92,850; 0-62mph 4.3sec; Top speed 199mph (limited);Economy 30.0mpg (combined); CO2  219g/km; Kerb weight 1870kg (dry); Engine V8, 4395cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 532bhp at 5200-6250rpm; Torque 538lb ft at 2800-5000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic

Top 5 Grand tourers

  • Mercedes-Benz SL

    Mercedes-Benz SL

    1
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS
    Does the Mercedes CLS lead the four-door coupé pack?

    Mercedes-Benz CLS

    2
  • Porsche Panamera
    The Porsche Panamera was first launched in 2009 and revamped in 2013

    Porsche Panamera

    3
  • Audi A7
    The Audi A7 Sportback delivers on all fronts, except for an ability implied in its name

    Audi A7

    4
  • BMW 6 Series coupé
    The 6 Series shares its plaform with models as diverse as the 5 Series and Rolls-Royce Ghost

    BMW 6 Series

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite
  • Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
    First Drive
    23 August 2016
    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • Car review
    23 August 2016
    Can the best sports coupé of the decade absorb a contentious new engine?