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At more than £60,000 the Alpina D5 S isn't the cheapest mid-size saloon you can buy, and you can certainly get your hands on versions of the BMW 5-Series – upon which it's based – for much less money.
However, the people who question an Alpinas asking price are usually those who are yet to drive one, and that's very much the case here. The twin-turbo diesel D5 S will accelerate to 62mph in less than five seconds, so it's quick, but what separates these cars from the crowd is their ability to achieve 50mpg and true rolling opulence on the motorway one moment and, thanks to Alpina's chassis tweaks, plentiful driver satisfaction and dynamic finesse on B-roads the next.
Those in need of the ultimate non-M 5-Series should look to the petrol-powered V8 B5 BiTurbo, though the D5 S offers much of the same capability for considerably less outlay. It's an esoteric Bavarian gem.
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Gone is the old Lexus GS from UK shores. In a bid to boost its sales volume on the continent and here in Britain, Lexus has replaced its old rear-driven saloon with this more sensible ES - the firm’s best-selling four-door saloon in markets other than ours.
Lexus would likely argue that the ES’s biggest draw card is the fact that it’s only available as a hybrid here in the UK, coming in the form of the ES 300h. Its based on the same TNGA GA-K architecture as the latest Toyota RAV4, meaning there’s a 2.5-litre four-pot up front, which is supplemented by an electric motor for a combined output of 215bhp.
Around town is where the Lexus is most in its element. Here it’s hybrid powertrain is at its smoothest, while the ability to run for brief periods on electricity alone means it achieves decent fuel economy too.