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

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

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Carmad3 22 June 2011

Re: Alpina B5 Biturbo

Just another over hyped BMW overpriced, poorly built and the designers must have been on some acid trip no BMW looks good at the moment YUK

matsoc 16 June 2011

Re: Alpina B5 Biturbo

il sole wrote:
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...

I agree, I think people expect different qualities from Alpina...anyway the old supercharged V8 was something more unique than the current biturbo...

Amanitin 16 June 2011

Re: Alpina B5 Biturbo

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.