2016 Alpina B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50
Half a century ago, Alpina was founded in the German city of Kaufbeuren. Originally a producer of typewriters, the company transitioned into the infinitely more interesting business of making fast BMWs, tweaking carburetors and cylinder heads instead of stringing ink ribbons. In the years that followed, Alpina would produce more than a few successful race cars, eventually moving on to concentrate primarily on street cars in the late ’80s.
To help celebrate its long history of hotrod Bimmers, Alpina has introduced the B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50. Based on the BMW 6 Series coupe and convertible, Alpina laid its hands on just about every aspect of the stock car, with upgrades applied to the exterior styling, interior equipment, and of course, all those mechanical bits under the skin.
Only 50 examples will be built. As a showcase of Alpina’s tuning prowess, the B6 Edition 50 is sure to provide more than a few incentives for those looking for a Bavarian rocket ship that still comes with an original factory warranty.
Continue reading to learn more about the Alpina B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50.
2016 Alpina B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50
Horsepower @ RPM:600 @ 6000
Torque @ RPM:590 @ 3500
0-60 time:4.2 sec.
Top Speed:205 mph
Available as either a drop-top or two-door coupe, the B6 Edition 50 is instantly recognizable as a BMW 6 Series to the casual observer. However, upon closer inspection, Alpina’s handiwork begins to manifest.
Paint-wise, this special edition comes in a variety of metallic colors, including Black Sapphire, Mineral White, Individual Sepia, Alpina Blue, or Alpina Green. Exterior trim is part of the high-gloss Shadow Line, while exclusive “Edition 50” lettering is on display.
But it’s the 20-spoke, 20-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels that will probably provide the first hints to the car’s unique character. The design for these rollers is the Alpina Classic look, and they are lightweight. Despite increasing in width by a half-inch, at 9- by 20-inches in the front and 10- by 20-inches in the rear, these wheels actually cut un-sprung weight by 34.4 pounds. The tires are high-performance Michelin Super Sport summer rubber measuring 225/35 ZR20 and 295/30 ZR20, front and rear respectively.
Standard equipment includes a carbon-fiber front splitter in a high-gloss finish, LED fog lights, LED headlights, an integrated rear diffuser, and a rear spoiler.
|Length (mm)||4,894 (192.67 Inches)|
|Width (mm)||1,894 (74.56 Inches)|
|Height, unladen (mm)||1,375 (54.13 Inches)|
|Wheelbase (mm)||2,855 (112.40 Inches)|
|Track, front (mm)||1,594 (62.75 Inches)|
|Track, rear (mm)||1,623 (63.89 Inches)|
When it comes to the B6 Edition 50, it appears as though Alpina threw away the pen and broke out the paint bucket.
First, you’ll find high-quality Nappa leather upholstery, which extends onto the instrument panel. Controls are finished in ceramic, while the headliner receives an anthracite finish. Further touches include piano lacquer black trim pieces with “Edition 50” lettering and an engraved signature from Burkard Bovensiepen, who founded Alpina in 1965. There are also stainless-steel doorsill finishers with the requisite “Edition 50” lettering.
Options include handcrafted black upholstery on the seats, with Forest Green backrest centers and yellow/black checkered stitching, which Alpina says is reminiscent of the interior on the 1982 B7 S Turbo Coupe. This color scheme is part of the Lavalina package.
Metal Alpina emblems in the seatbacks and floor mats are finished in silver and come engraved with “1965 – 2015” as reference to the 50 years of Alpina’s existence. Complementing this is each vehicle’s production number, which is also mirrored on the key ring.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, auto start/stop, auxiliary media interface, BMW Emergency Call, a control display with a large color screen and iDrive Touch controller, cruise control with braking function, a digital display mounted into the instrument cluster, Alpina-branded instruments, Myrtle wood interior pieces, BMW’s navigation package with ConnectedDrive, heated front seats, a leather-encased steering wheel with blue/green stitching, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
One of the cool things about a car like this is that it’s built on a platform that’s quite robust to begin with. A non-Alpina’d 6 Series Gran Coupe already boasts a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with 445 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 479 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm. 0-to-60 is achieved in 4.4 seconds and top speed is 155 mph.
But those numbers come from an AWD-equipped, top-range 650i. The B6 Edition 50 is RWD, and comes packing a lot more muscle.
Alpina dug deep into the powerplant, boosting output to 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 590 pound-feet of torque between 3,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm, making it the most powerful engine in the company’s history. Even without the benefit of AWD grip, 62 mph is hit from a standstill in 4.2 seconds. While not terribly quicker to 60 than the AWD 650i, all that extra power means the B6 Edition 50 will dominate in the top end, with a max velocity set at 203 mph.
This huge power increase is thanks to two specially constructed large-diameter turbochargers set in parallel. A high-performance indirect intercooler system with no less than three chillers, one large volume unit and two smaller units near the engine, combine with a short intake to keep the incoming air temperature as low as possible. Additional oil and water coolers are mounted just behind the front spoiler for further thermodynamic efficiency. The intake ducting and air filter housing have been optimized, and the fuel supply system has also been updated.
Alpina installed Mahle pistons to deal with the 17.4 psi of boost put out by the twin snails. Nominal compression ratio is 10.0:1. As expected, fuel economy isn’t great, with a combined figure of around 24 mpg. But hey, it’s got 600 horsepower, so who cares?
The B6 has a lightweight exhaust developed in conjunction with Slovenian manufacturer Akrapovič. The system is composed entirely of high-strength titanium, which cuts weight by 37.5 pounds compared to stainless steel. Integrated into the large-diameter pipes is an active exhaust valve, with twin tips finished in carbon fiber peeking out from the rear end.
Moving the power to the rear wheels is a Switch-Tronic eight-speed sport automatic transmission, with modifications to the output and drive shafts for better power delivery. There’s also a system dubbed single-cylinder fade-out in play, which cuts injection during up shifts for faster engagement. This process is facilitated by Alpina-specific software modifications.
The gearbox can be set to three modes to meet a given driving situation. Automatic (D) mode is all about comfort, with low revs, high gears, and max cruising. Sport (S) mode employs faster shifts and higher levels of feedback. Multiple downshifts can be achieved in milliseconds, with the transmission skipping several gears at once depending on engine loads and rpm. Acceleration is optimized. Finally, there’s Manual (M) mode, which grants the driver full control over gear selection. Switch-Tronic gear buttons are on the steering wheel. When Manual mode is combined with Sport, Sport+, or DSC Off modes on the Driving Dynamics Control, the transmission will not automatically upshift, allowing for higher rpm should the driver desire them.
|Compression ratio (:1)||10.0|
|Max output (hp @ rpm)||600 @ 6,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft@ rpm)||590 @ 3,500 - 4,500|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)||4.2|
|Top speed (km/h)||328 (203 MPH)|
Suspension and Handling
While a 600-horsepower engine and intelligently designed automatic transmission are quite nice, Alpina would be remiss if it neglected to pay equal attention to the turning and stopping parts of the equation. The B6 Edition 50 sees upgrades to the suspension and brakes to match its impressive drivetrain.
This starts with adaptive sports suspension, a standard feature on the B6 Edition 50. Combining electronically adjustable dampers with springs, auxiliary springs, and anti-roll bars, the setup automatically adjusts itself to current driving conditions.
The driver can also adjust the suspension using the Dynamics Driving Control, opting for better response or greater comfort. Additional systems influenced by this control are the active roll stabilization, power steering, and driving stability. The electronic driving stability programs are specifically configured to match the dynamics of each Alpina model for optimum control.
Alpina adjusted camber and toe-in settings to match the large wheel and tire combination. This is paired with a mechanical torsen limited-slip differential. Alpina claims the differential is of “motor sports quality,” and was developed with the help of Aussie performance house Drexler. Each unit was assembled by hand with precision-forged gears and a CNC-milled housing.
Alpina also took into account aerodynamics for better high-velocity driving stability, with the front and rear spoilers once again designed under the philosophy of “form following function.” As such, these pieces reduce lift and offer neutral handling at speed as opposed to simply glossing sporting intent to the exterior design.
The brakes are equally high-performance, with large, blue-painted calipers and conventional rotors stuffed under the 20-inch wheels. Larger brakes are available for the front, with four-piston calipers from Brembo and 15.6-inch rotors.
Unladen curb weight for the coupe is 4,123 pounds, while the convertible tips the scales at 4,453 pounds.
Other standard equipment includes brake energy regeneration, dynamic brake control, and dynamic traction control.
With so much power, tech, and good looks, you’d expect the B6 Edition 50 to be pretty expensive, and you’d be right. The coupe will run you $147,509, while the convertible costs $156,990. That’s more than $35K over a brand new M6, which, as you’ll see, is no slouch either.
Starting at $111,900, it could be argued that the M6 is simply a better value than the B6 Edition 50. In many ways, it’s pretty much the same car: it looks quite similar, with that long hood line, those muscular fender arches, beefy rear end, and large wheels shod in low-profile tires. The interior is also extremely nice, with full-leather upholstery, wood and aluminum trim, high-end infotainment with a display screen, and tons of driver-aid gizmos.
The drivetrain, however, is where it starts to falter. The same twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 is in place, but total output is 560 horsepower between 6,000 and 7,000 rpm, with torque figures rated at 501 pound-feet between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm. This powerplant is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and although 0-to-60 is identical to the B6 Edition 50 at 4.2 seconds, you can bet that any speed contest beyond 60 mph will handily go to the Alpina.
Performance enthusiasts looking to eke a bit more from their M6 can opt for the Competition package, which throws in 15 extra horsepower, a sport exhaust, a retuned steering rack, and tightened suspension settings. Even then, I’d expect the B6 Edition 50 to trounce its BMW stable mate.
Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
When it comes to powerful luxury coupes that look great, Mercedes has a word to share with BMW. The profile on the S63 AMG stretches forever, looking both authoritative and formidable. It’s a good blend of style and simplicity, with hard lines where they’re needed and solid proportions elsewhere.
Leather upholstery covers everything in the cabin, with the Nappa-shod seats sporting heating and cooling functions. An ergonomically correct AMG sports steering wheel primed with aluminum paddle shifters meets the driver’s hands.
Under that elongated hood sits another twin-turbo V-8 powerplant, but this one displaces 5.5-liters and puts out 577 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 664 pound-feet of torque, giving it the edge in a sprint to 60 at 3.9 seconds. However, it’s 186-mph top end is a bit lacking compared to the Alpina. Making the connection to the rear wheels is an AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed gearbox that features three different driving modes: Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S), and Manual (M).
The Merc should be able to hang with the B6 Edition 50 in just about every aspect but one: exclusivity. There will be only 50 examples of the Alpina on the road, which makes the $160,900 Mercedes seem almost commonplace by comparison. Almost.
While extremely pricey, it’s hard to deny the B6 Edition 50. Combining the most powerful engine Alpina has ever made with an interior dripping with luxury and technology, all encased in a shell that looks good in a custom sort of way, and it’s an enticing package to say the least. But is it worth the extra outlay?
I’d have to say it is. The B6 Edition 50 is a customized luxury pavement-burner with a factory warranty, and at this price range, an extra boot of “specialness” and exclusivity can go a very long way. Simply put, this is one of the best cars Alpina has ever made, and if you’re going to get a high-end sports coupe or convertible over the six-figure mark, you might as well go whole hog.
Having one of 50 certainly comes with its own bragging rights, and if a final word is needed, there’s always that 600 horsepower at your disposal. Throw in the Jekyll and Hyde ride quality and handling, and things look even better. Sure, it’s a splurge, a bit of an exhibition piece, but in the long run, it’s doubtful it’ll be one that a buyer would regret.