Today all of every premium carmaker has a performance sub-brand like Cadillac has the V models, and Lexus cultivates a selection of performance cars under the F moniker. Over the last few years, many of these offerings have become characterized by ultrafirm suspensions, roaring exhaust systems, and dark carbon-fiber decor. Subtlety appears to be out of fashion.
2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo Features
But not everywhere. The offerings of BMW Alpina, the Swabian performance brand that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, have traditionally recently been a little more attractive. And faster. The 2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo is an especially nice example. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 600-hp 4. 4-liter V-8, it charges to 62 mph in a claimed 3. 5 seconds, and it tops out at a lofty 205 mph. That’s significantly faster than both fun loving and the new BMW M5. Alpina will not govern the top speed of its cars. “Alpina are at home on the autobahn, ” Andreas Bovensiepen, co-CEO and one of the founder’s sons, says with a smile.
Traditionally, Alpina models have been even more torquey than their BMW M-badged counterparts, and the B5 is no exception. Rated at 590 lb-ft, it accelerates with awesome and relentless push. The eight-speed ZF automated, strengthened for the B5’s extra torque, shifts gears seamlessly, never slamming them, and provides rapid rev jumps on downshifts with the surreal precision of a video game.
The Alpina B5 may trounce practically every other car on the road, but it goes about the business with minimal hassle. The engine is so unobtrusive and the car perfectly isolated that Alpina, the first time, found it necessary to create artificial sound. At idle, there is a subdued growl, which rises under full accelerator. It conveys a sense of subtle menace, but it is never in-your-face extreme.
2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo External
Few automobiles build speed so easily, and behind the wheel of the Alpina B5, you’re bound to underestimate your velocity to an alarming level. “Since we are significantly faster than BMW M, high-speed stability became a top priority for us, ” says Bovensiepen. The 2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo is indeed a perfect tool for the autobahn, but it also performs well when corners tighten, offering a perfect compromise between sportiness and everyday comfort. The B5 comes with standard 4wheel drive, which operates as a rear-wheel-drive system until torque needs to be shuttled to the entrance axle to keep grip. Beyond 150 mph, it is rear-drive only. The rear bias is more extreme than on the THE CAR M550i, and negative camber was increased. “We abhor understeer, ” Bovensiepen explains.
Alpina does feels decidedly more rear biased than M550i. The steering reacts a tad more sharply than on the normal 5-series, but the B5 doesn’t feel like a go-kart, nor was this Alpina’s goal: “A Nordschleife suspension is not very good for everyday driving a car, ” says Bovensiepen. Alpina’s setup makes for superior roadholding on almost every surface.
The B5 features specifically tuned Bilstein shock absorber and new wheels that are forged rather than cast, these saving more than eight pounds per corner. That rolls on 255/35ZR-20 front and 295/30ZR-20 rear Pirelli rubber. Carbon-ceramic brakes are not offered, and this is an intentional omission. Alpina says their advantages would be slim, and they can squeal unacceptably in everyday driving.
2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo Interior
The 2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo is so fast and powerful that it can send a chill down your spine when you weapon the throttle, yet it is so elegant that it could pass for the most luxurious choice in the segment as well. Inside, this Alpina truly lights: There are special leather and wood offerings, the Alpina logo is tastefully integrated in several spots, and the engineers have even programmed a specific background for the digital instrumentation. Changes to the exterior are subtle, with the vender being an aerodynamic necessity, and the traditional Alpina striping is a nod to the brand’s history.
The Alpina B5 may be the Roger Moore of performance sedans: packed with tension and power, dressed in a correctly tailored suit, and blessed with flawless manners. The carmakers’ performance divisions may have evolved into brasher Daniel Craigs, but we are pleased Alpina is keeping its trademark style and school alive.
In Europe, the “2018 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo” is available as a sedan and as a slightly slower station wagon; in America, yet , it won’t be available at all. In case you crave this vehicle, you might like to wait around for the new M5. But note that other Alpinas take sale here, the B6 and the B7, if refined velocity is what you’re after.