2016 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo
It’s easy to look at any Alpina model and say “That’s just a tuned up BMW.” In one way, you’re right – Vehicles like the Alpina B5 are built on the same chassis as the BMW 5 Series, but there is a lot more to an Alpina than the DNA it shares with its BMW counterpart.
Alpina cars start off being built by BMW, but while BMW is putting together the chassis and body, Alpina is at work hand-building engines. Once BMW receives the hand-built powerplants, they are installed, and the cars are shipped back to Alpina to be completed. In all, each Alpina is equally built by both BMW and Alpina, which is why Alpina is considered a car manufacturer instead of just another tuning firm.
Now that we’ve made our way into the 2016 model year, Alpina has released its newest B5 Biturbo. It comes in two trims – Saloon, which is a four-door sedan, and Touring, which is a wagon. As the company puts it, the Alpina drive experience is unique, best characterized by “effortlessness and powerful confidence.” If you’ve ever gotten the chance to sit behind the wheel of one, you would probably agree. Even if you haven’t, keep reading to find out more about the 2016 Alpina B5.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo.
2016 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo
Horsepower @ RPM:600 @ 6000
Torque @ RPM:590 @ 3500
0-60 time:4.2 sec.
Top Speed:203 mph
Up front, the Alpina B5 has the same headlights, foglamps, and signature BMW grille as its 5 Series cousin. It is the little things, however, that make the Alpina B5 its own model. Things like the vented front splitter and pinstripe design. Even the middle divider in each of the corner vents by the foglights are different in comparison. The same pinstripe design from the front bumper picks up on the fender at the headlights and travels back to the taillights. The Alpina logo is creatively placed in between the two pinstripes.
The car comes in one of two Alpina-exclusive paint finishes – Alpina Blue Metallic and Alpine Green Metallic.
To the rear, the spoiler on the deck lid adds even more aerodynamic stability, while the louvered-looking taillights ring of BMW DNA. The rear fascia carries the same shape as the BMW 5 Series, but down below the car has twin, dual-tipped exhaust pipes. The B5 rides on Classic Alpina wheels that now feature a lockable wheel hub cover, which not only conceals the wheel lugs, but the valve stem as well. The wheels are available in 19-, 20-, and 21-inch sizes. The car comes in one of two Alpina-exclusive paint finishes – Alpina Blue Metallic and Alpine Green Metallic. In addition to the exclusive colors, BMW and BMW individual paint colors can also be optioned. The aforementioned pin striping can be optionally applied in silver or gold.
|Length||4,913 MM (193.42 Inches)|
|Width||1,860 MM (73.22 Inches)|
|Height, unladen||1,469 MM (57.83 Inches)|
|Wheelbase||2,968 MM (116.85 Inches)|
|Track, front||1,599 MM (62.95 Inches)|
|Track, rear||1,585 MM (62.40 Inches)|
Inside is where the B5 really shines and steps away from its BMW DNA. Configuration possibilities are almost limitless on the Alpina B5. The Alpina can be had with exclusive fine wood of modern piano lacquer, or customize it as you like with a selection of materials and colors from BMW and BMW individual. Even the steering wheel is customizable. In standard form, it is wrapped in Lavalina leather with parallel blue and green stitching. If you don’t like that, the stitching can be changed to match the interior, material changed to Alcantara or you can make the wheel thicker as you see fit.
The Alpina can be had with exclusive fine wood of modern piano lacquer
The instrument cluster is straight to business. It has four gauges – speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and temperature gauge. It features a back-lit, blue display with bright red needles and white numbers. Speed is also displayed on a small, analog digital speed display.
Up on the center stack there is a large screen display, which appears to be eight or nine inches in size. The rest of the infotainment system is located below on the center console, with an eight-disc CD changer located between the screen and the manual radio controls. Altogether, the cabin of the B5 sets the standard for luxury not seen in a lot of other vehicles.
The Alpina B5 Saloon and Touring trims are both powered by a 90-degree, 4.4-liter V-8 that puts out 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. For the purpose of comparison, that is 151 ponies and 111 pound-feet better than the BMW 550i Sedan. That V-8 sends power to the rear wheels on both trim levels via an eight-speed Sport-Automatic Switch-Tronic transmission. Both trims can hit 62 mph from a standstill in 4.2-seconds. The saloon tops out at 203 mph, while the wagon maxes out at 200 mph even.
The saloon tops out at 203 mph, while the wagon maxes out at 200 mph even.
That Switch-Tronic transmission is specially designed to accommodate the high torque output of the B5, which – with a special torque converter – helps the transmission to shift effortlessly, even under high load, with minimal loss of torque. Underneath, the B5 has Alpina’s adaptive sports suspension which combines anti-roll bars, adjustable dampers and dual springs to provide the best ride possible. The active dampers continuously adapt to road conditions, and can be customized by the driver so that the ride feels more comfortable or sportier.
|Max output||600 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Max torque||590 LB-FT @ 3,500 - 4,500 RPM|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||4.2 seconds|
|Top speed||328 KM/H (203 MPH)|
The 2016 Alpina B5 starts out at €108,600 for the Saloon or €111,900 for the Tourer, which – at current exchange rates – translates to about $115,000 and $119,000, respectively. That is of course before taxes, delivery and options. For comparison purposes, the BMW 5 Series Sedan starts out at $50,200 and the Grand Turismo starts out at $60,000. That’s quite a hefty difference in pricing, but then again, you’re buying a status symbol that says a regular old BMW just wasn’t good enough for you.
While the BMW M5 is really the main competitor out there for the Alpine B5, it isn’t really fair to label it a competitor, considering the common DNA. The next best contender, however, is the 2017 Mercedes-AM E63. The E63 is expected to start out around $100,000 and is said to be powered by a 4.0-liter V-8 that puts out 550 horsepower and 565 pound-feet of torque. With a top speed of 155 mph, the E63 will push to 60 mph from a standstill in around 3.5 seconds. Given the similar power and pricing, along with the luxurious interior, the E63 stands up to be a prime competitor for the B5.
Read our full review here.
Normally this is where I talk about how impressed I am with a vehicle, but I think I’ll take a different approach here. See, I really like Alpina and the idea that they hand-build each engine, but outside from that, I’m not sure if the subtle differences between it and the BMW 5 Series is enough for me. Granted, those subtle differences make the B5 an Alpina, but I’m one of those people that would be just as happy in a 5 Series with that extra 40 or 50 grand in my pocket. With that kind of cheddar left over, that 5 Series could be highly modified to make it unique and of equal power to that of the Alpina B5.