Just a week after the reveal of the facelifted BMW 5 Series G30, Alpina got their hands on it and gave it the abrupt treatment of balancing comfort and performance. Firstly, you must understand why such a car exists whereas you can buy either a normal 5 series or the M5. Well, the case here is you get the best of both worlds from the 5 series and M5 in one package. It is all about maximising power and maximising comfort, sounds crazy but it is working on the B5. Not all that but also providing a bespoke interior design that makes the B5 look like a sleeper, except for the fact that it has quad-exhaust tailpipes that may give a different impression that it is not slow.
And yes, it’s quick because under the hood is a 4.4-litre Twin-Turbocharged V8 engine that is producing a whopping 621 hp (457 kW) and all that power is available at 5500 rpm, pretty decent and counting the fact that all the 800 Nm of torque comes alive at 2000 rpm. The 0-100 km/h sprint time for the sedan model is 3.4 seconds and for the Touring model is 3.6 seconds and to even think that it can do almost the same sprint pace as the M5 boggles the mind. You can go well over 300 km/h unlike the electronically limited speed of 250 km/h on most BMW models, the B5 top speed is 330 km/h.
Because it’s based on the 5 series G30, the skeleton remains with the xDrive system and Alpina has put it to good use by remaining with the rear-wheel biased setup and integrating it with the Sport suspension to provide an impeccable ride experience. The newest 8-Speed Sport Automatic transmission first used on the BMW Alpina XB7 has seen its way to the B5 and it’s said to be smooth and delivering power efficiently and I can take their word for it because it was developed alongside ZF Friedrichshafen, the company that provides systems for passenger cars and are known for their “ZF” transmissions in cars such as BMW and Haval.
It being an Alpina model, there are four driving modes at bay which are comfort, comfort plus, sport and sport plus, so you can think of the plus modes as being twice the alteration mode it’s in and note that the sport plus mode is said to provide maximum, incredible performance. These modes work jointly with the sport suspension which has electronically controlled dampers that adapt to different driving condition while improving excellent comfort and handling. Here’s a trick the B5 has, it comes with Integral Active Steering which allows the rear wheel axle to turn 2.3° left or right for better cornering and a better turning circle.
It is riding on 20-inch forged wheels in the Classic Alpina 20-spoke wheel design and they are wrapped in 255/35 ZR20 for the front tyres and 295/30 ZR20, 285/30 ZR20 on the Touring model, for the rear tyres with Pirelli P Zero tyres. The stopping power is there thanks to four-piston brake calipers with brake discs of 395 mm in diameter on the front axle and 398 mm in diameter on the rear axle.
At first glance, you notice the traditional Alpina paint colour of Blue metallic and Green metallic available for the B5 but you can also gorge yourself with BMW colours and BMW Individual colours of your choice. The exterior body kit is a standard Alpina design and it is noticeable with the quad-exhaust pipes that have active exhaust valves that open and close depending on which driving mode is selected. If it’s on comfort mode, the valves close and it sounds discreet but put it into sport mode and instantly the valves open to allow the grunt V8 sound to shout.
Alpina also touches the interior design and improves interior quality. For instance, the seats are much sporty and comfortable as they say, the steering wheel is hand-stitched and wrapped in Lavalina leather and other parts get metallic finish and wood trim depends on the spec. The rest is usual BMW tech which includes the iDrive system and instrument cluster with Alpina design features. The BMW safety features have not been comprised as you still get Active Lane Keeping Assistant, Parking Assistant, Traffic Light Assistant and more.
Overall, I love the design and the power it makes, the specs show that it sits perfectly between going fast and riding comfortably just like any other Alpina product. The price starts at €117 700 for the B5 sedan and €120 700 for the B5 Touring which translates to R2 285 320 and R2 343 570 respectively in South African currency but highly doubt the B5 will be made available locally.
Source: BMW Alpina B5 Press Release