Limited-edition, 625bhp mega-estate arrives in the UK – and is brilliant

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Apart from their twin-turbo V8 engine formats and top speeds just a touch north of 200mph, the Ferrari F40 and the new Alpina B5 GT don’t have a lot in common.

For one thing, the German car is far rarer, being limited to just 250 examples, most of which have been ordered in estate form. A mere 21 are UK bound. 

But this unlikely pair does share one significant commonality, which concerns timing. The F40 was the final Ferrari brought to fruition during the life of Enzo and the B5 GT plays the same poignant role for Alpina, whose venerated founder Burkard Bovensiepen died in October, two months after the GT was launched at Zandvoort. For this reason alone, it’s a special machine.

Sentimentality aside, the car was pretty special on track at Zandvoort too. Totals of 625bhp and 627lb ft – up 25bhp and 37lb ft on the already ballistic and now retired regular B5 Bi-Turbo – flowed near-seamlessly through a ZF ’box upgraded with parts normally reserved for Rolls-Royce’s Phantom. Traction was massive but so was poise, and the B5 GT shrunk an FIA Grade 1 circuit like no exec saloon with quilted seats and deep-pile mats has any right to.

Six months later, it faces another test, this time on knobbly, wintry UK roads, in do-all Touring form.



alpina b5 gt review 2025 02 panning side

So how do you tell GT from garden B5? The easiest identifiers are the new multi-spoke wheels, which at 20in are no larger than before but are painted a striking bronze hue. They're similar to that seen on the outstanding BMW M5 CS but the colour is deeper.

Look closer and you’ll also notice dive planes at the flanks of the front bumper. Yes, dive planes, on an estate. Not even Mr Rydell’s Volvo 850 company car had those. 

The B5 GT is just 1bhp less powerful than the M5 CS. Coincidence? Unlikely. Alpina isn’t owned by BMW quite yet – that happens next year – but has always understood diplomacy.

Because the GT has been launched off the back of the mainline 5 Series getting its facelift, it is also the only B5 you’ll see with the new squared-off headlights. The intakes are larger than before too – all the better for serving Alpina’s bespoke cooling system, with its additional rads and upgraded intercooler.

Remember that all B5s, GT or otherwise, are based on the BMW 540i xDrive with a modified version of the 4.4-litre V8 from the 550i.

The chassis has been honed to give the B5 GT a little more edge during cornering, but with care taken, says Alpina, to preserve the absorptive qualities that made the original B5 Bi-Turbo of 2018 such a brilliant long-distance car.

To this end, the spring and damper rates are unchanged (likewise the calibration of the active anti-roll bars and the rear steering), but the GT gets new bump-stops that improve body control in extremis. Ride height has been dropped a touch at the back and the torque split is subtly more rear-biased. 


alpina b5 gt review 2025 11 dash

Inside, there’s walnut trim (although not of the Edwardian sideboard variety) and fabulously soft headrests, whose unapologetic embroidering could easily have been lifted from an Alpina brochure circa 1985.

The gearshift paddles – hewn from billet aluminium and so much more engaging than their counterparts in the M5 CS – have also been painted bronze. Build quality is sky-high and leather abounds, as it should, given the car’s £127,900 list price.

In terms of the spec, the main choice owners will by now have made is whether to have their car's cabin upholstered in nappa leather (seen here), or even suppler merino leather (which brings the braided seat piping), or to have it fully decked out in Lavalina, the exclusive leather sourced from selected Alpine farms, and used only by Alpina and Rolls-Royce.

The B5 GT can also come with heavily bolstered sports seats (not seen here), which are the same ones found in the current BMW M5, only with Alpina-specific upholstery. 


alpina b5 gt review 2025 16 engine

It’s a shame we've never properly performance tested the G30-generation Alpina B5 with the aid of telemetry equipment. If we had, the numbers would surely be extraordinary for a family estate with 1820 litres of seats-down boot capacity.

The car's 90deg twin-turbo V8 starts life as BMW's 'N63' (a non-M unit), but Alpina makes modifications to not only the top end but also the block itself, as well as beefing up the cooling system, including the fitment of an new, larger intercooler. 

One of the reasons cars like the B5 GT carry speed so supremely easily in the UK is because they're engineered to handle much greater speeds in Germany. One of Alpina's dynamic development tests involves a hasty autobahn lane change at 180mph.

None of this is unique to the B5 GT, mind. This is the same motor found in the original B5 Bi-Turbo, only with an electronic tickle and a little more boost pressure combining to increase power and torque – the B5 GT having more of the latter than the M5 CS.

The claimed performance figures are not for the faint-hearted. In saloon form, the B5 GT hits 62mph in 3.2sec and 124mph in just 10.2sec, with the estate managing respective times of 3.4sec and 10.9sec. Officially, both cars will do just over 200mph flat out. Unofficially, Alpina's engineers says something more like 220mph is achievable. 


alpina b5 gt review 2025 03 cornering rear

On the move, the cleverest thing you can do is get acquainted with the ‘LIM’ button on the chunky, Lavalina-leather-trimmed steering wheel. If there’s another combustion car that accrues speed as covertly as this one, I haven’t driven it.

Big wheels and low-profile tyres – which, to be fair, need to be homologated for speeds of up to 204mph, with four passengers plus luggage aboard – mean that on granulated surfaces road roar is more appreciable than expected but comfort and isolation are otherwise not far off Mercedes S-Class calibre.

Alpina’s unique Comfort Plus damper setting also seems more pronounced here than in previous models. The free rein it gives the body is too sloppy for most A-roads but pretty sublime on motorways. The GT’s easy pace also comes down to the fact that torque is so abundant that the transmission seldom needs to gear down. You tend to surf along in the effortless manner of powerful EVs, only with a distant eight-cylinder hum.

That said, engage the paddles or one of the fruitier driving modes and that hum becomes markedly less distant. This engine does its best work in the mid-range, where an inch or two of accelerator pedal travel can send your internals into freefall in that subtly addictive manner specific to big-capacity turbo motors. At 2080kg, the Touring is 100kg heavier than the saloon and 255kg more than an M5 CS, but in the context of 627lb ft, those figures may as well be rounding errors. The car feels supersonic.

But we already knew that. What’s surprising is how playful the B5 GT is on the road. Save for some stiffer bump-stops, precision-enhancing bulkhead struts and the fitment as standard of a hand-assembled mechanical limited-slip differential by Drexler, the GT is unchanged from the regular B5, so why does it feel more mischievous?

Cold temperatures, perhaps. This car lacks the high-voltage turn-in, the steering detail and the body control of an M5 CS, but it has more than enough talent in all those areas for its remit and it simply loves to be steered on the throttle. Interestingly, the Touring has a slightly narrower rear contact patch than the saloon.


alpina b5 gt review 2025 18 static front

As is often the case with limited-edition specials, the B5 GT arrives right at the end of the lifespan of the car on which it's based, the G30-generation 5 Series. In fact, by now we already know that there is an incoming M5 Touring for the new generation of 5 Series – a rare occurrence indeed. 

Does this fact undermine the appeal of the Alpina, which usually has the ultra-rapid 5 Series Touring niche to itself? Not at all. The new G60-gen BMW 5 Series is hardly a looker, and in M form its powertrain will be a complex, heavy plug-in affair. We may struggle to love the inbound M5 Touring.

On the other hand, is very difficult not to love this Alpina. In the here and now, oversteer addicts and those who need practicality but like to feel plumbed into their machine, 911-style, may, I suspect, prefer an M3 Touring. For everyone else, the B5 GT represents peak fast estate.

Richard Lane

Richard Lane
Title: Deputy road test editor

Richard joined Autocar in 2017, arriving from Evo magazine, and is typically found either behind a keyboard or steering wheel.

As deputy road test editor he delivers in-depth road tests, performance benchmarking and supercar lap-times, plus feature-length comparison stories between rival cars. He can also be found on Autocar's YouTube channel

Mostly interested in how cars feel on the road – the sensations and emotions they can evoke – Richard drives around 150 newly launched makes and models every year, and focuses mainly on the more driver-orientated products, as is tradition at Autocar. His job is then to put the reader firmly in the driver's seat. 

Away from work, but remaining on the subject of cars, Richard owns an eight-valve Integrale, loves watching sportscar racing, and holds a post-grad in transport engineering.