German-based car manufacturer Alpina has been making fast Bimmers since the 60s. It takes some of the best that BMW can offer and turns out performance-oriented, tuned-up vehicles laden with go-faster parts and extra luxury. Ctizens of the U.S., however, have had few opportunities for ownership.

It appears as though that’s gradually starting to change. The B6 xDrive Gran Coupe is Alpina’s take on the 6 Series Gran Coupe, BMW’s four-door styled as a two-door. This AWD rocket was first seen on American soil last year at the 2014 New York Auto Show, joining the 7 Series-based B7 for Alpina’s two American offerings.

Designated as an exclusive, special-order, limited-production vehicle, the B6 costs a small fortune, but comes with new features and exterior distinctions, not to mention a healthy amount of extra power.

It’s an alternative to an M car, with everything you’d expect from BMW, plus a little more. But is it worth the price?

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe.

  • 2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    600 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    590 @ 3500
  • Displacement:
    4.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    200 mph
  • Price:
    120000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Let’s be honest – one of the most important features of a hot-rod BMW is the way it looks. With so many examples of humdrum base models prowling the roads, standing out from the crowd is paramount. 

With that in mind, Alpina didn’t skimp on styling. Combining style improvements with performance aerodynamics, the result is a distinctive look and reduced drag. An Alpina is supposed to be special, and the new B6 definitely is that. 

Starting in the front, we find a new integrated front splitter for high-speed stability, plus a new front spoiler. The spoiler has been designed to promote airflow to the cooling systems situated behind the front bumper, including the intercooler, water cooler and oil cooler. 

The trademark BMW kidney grille has been tweaked slightly, surrounded by the reworked front apron. NACA-style, low-drag air ducts are fitted at the front of the underbody to provide a steady stream of cool air to the enlarged brake package hiding behind the staggered 20-inch Alpina Classic wheels. The hood is also an Alpina-exlusive piece, with aggressive ripples and lines that complement the altered aero below it.

Added to the list of standard equipment are adaptive LED headlamps, which come with High Beam Assistant to keep your high-powered lights from blinding oncoming traffic. As a final touch, Alpina adds a B6 model designator to the B-pillar, plus twin elliptical tailpipes to the rear. 

Interior

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Interior
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The 6 Series comes from the factory with an impressive cabin. High-end materials like Nappa leather upholstery adorn the comfortable power seats and instrument panel. Aplina retains these features in addition to the BMW Navigation system and BMW’s ConnectedDrive services suite.

However, the B6 boasts plenty of Alpina-exclusive features that you won’t get on the standard unit. The instrumentation is now in blue rather than red, and the doorsills have also received a blue illumination treatment. The steering wheel has been upgraded with hand-stitched Lavalina leather. The wood trim is available in either Myrtle or Piano lacquer, while a variety of Alpina badges sit proudly throughout.

Drivetrain

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe Interior
- image 616446

The B6 may look good and come with some interesting interior features, but without a doubt, the most stimulating aspect of this car is what makes it go.

The 4.4-liter, bi-turbo V-8 engine from the 650i Gran Coupe has received a number of upgrades. In stock guise, this powerplant produces 445 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

However, after a few weeks with Alpina, this V-8 now delivers (preliminary) figures of 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 590 pound-feet of torque between 3,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm. That’s a 60-horsepower boost over the 2015 B6, and combined with the reworked xDrive AWD system, this car can hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, making it the fastest-accelerating model Alpina has ever created. Keep your foot down, and it’ll hit an electronically limited top speed of 200 mph.

Alpina used two specially designed turbochargers operating in parallel to help increase the V-8’s output, with total boost coming in at 17.4 psi. New MAHLE pistons are stuffed into the cylinders to help the engine cope with the increased temperatures and pressure, with a compression ratio of 10.0:1.

The intercooler system has been upgraded as well. Upgraded intake ducting, an optimized air filter housing, and high-rate fuel system account for that 60 horsepower bump.

As more of a novelty than performance upgrade, Alpina uses valves in the exhaust to allow the driver control over decibel levels for the engine note. Set to Comfort, the valve closes up to 2,500 rpm. Set to Sport Mode, the valve remains open.

Alpina also had its way with the eight-speed Sport Automatic transmission. Working in conjunction with ZF, the new Switch-Tronic eight-speed has been reprogrammed with multiple driving modes to get the most from that turbo V-8 engine.

Cruising is best with Automatic mode, for max smoothness and efficiency. Gear changes are adjusted to lower engine rpm. Sport mode quickens cog swaps, offering the ability to downshift multiple gears in milliseconds. Finally, there’s Manual mode, which gives the driver full control over the gears through buttons mounted to the inside of the steering wheel. If desired, this mode allows for the cancelation of automatic upshifts, keeping the engine at higher rpms as long as necessary.

Set to Sport, this upgraded transmission has lightening-quick gear changes enabled by software modifications and something called single-cylinder fade-out, which momentarily cuts fuel injection to a single cylinder between shifts. The result is less strain on the transmission and faster gear changes under load.

Alpina also reprogrammed the torque distribution control system, which works with the Dynamic Stability Control and engine management software to optimize traction under lateral acceleration, no matter the road conditions.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 4.4 liter V8 Bi-Turbo V-8 engine
Output 600 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 590 LB-FT @ 3,500 RPM
0 – 60 mph 3.6 seconds
Top speed 200 mph (electronically limited)

Suspension and Brakes

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 616443

They say power without control is nothing, so to harness those 600 horses, Alpina got busy reworking the suspension and brakes to match the increased engine potency.

Alpina’s sport suspension package fully integrates with the BMW Dynamic Damper Control system, which means adjustable, adaptive shock absorbers and active roll control combining with variable throttle response, steering assistance, and the xDrive variable torque distribution for neutral handling characteristics. Of course, drivers can control these settings from the cockpit via the Driving Dynamics Control rocker switch.

The brakes for the 2016 B6 are larger than the year prior, with 14.7-inch rotors in the front and 14.6-inch rotors in the rear, up from the 13.6-inch rotors on the 2015 model. The calipers are painted blue with Alpina lettering in the front.

The 20-inch staggered Alpina Classic wheels are set with increased wheel camber, and come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires that enable the B6 to reach that 200 mph top speed. Rubber dimensions come in at 255/35 in the front and 295/30 in the back.

All-season tires are available as an option. However, choosing these lower-rated tire drops the electronic speed limiter to a mere 130 mph.

Prices

The Alpina B6 is only available via special order. No prices have been announced as of this writing (2/11/15), but considering the 2015 model was tagged for $118,225, I expect something very similar for 2016. Just for comparison’s sake, the 560-horsepower M6 Gran Coupe has an MSRP of $116,650. Alpina will begin taking orders in March, with deliveries expected in June.

Competition

Audi RS 7

2015 - 2016 Audi RS7 High Resolution Exterior
- image 554398

This four-door coupe from Audi has an updated front bumper, LED running lamps and taillights. The RS 7 looks bold and distinct, even among Audis.

The interior seats four comfortably, with quilted leather upholstery, sporty RS seats, and the latest in premium infotainment. The engine is a slight downgrade compared to the B6, with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that develops 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Routing this through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox and Audi’s iconic quattro AWD system, the RS7 can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 190 mph.

For $105,000, the RS7 seems like a good deal next to the B6. It looks good, is nicely equipped, and it’s almost as fast. But as soon as you pull up next to a B6, it’ll be obvious why you should have dropped the extra $13K.

Mercedes CLS 63 AMG 4MATIC

2015 Mercedes CLS63 AMG High Resolution Exterior
- image 556695

No competition here would be complete without the appearance of at least one Mercedes. The current model sports a biturbo 5.5-liter V-8 that pumps out 585 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Putting that power to the wheels is a new 9G-Tronic nine-speed gearbox, which allows this Merc to hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and cruise to an electronically limited 155 mph top speed. Cut that electronic nannie loose, and expect a similar top end as the RS 7.

Inside, high-grade leather covers AMG sport seats, which offer big bolsters and sumptuous elegance. The new three-spoke steering wheel incorporates aluminum paddle shifters, while an eight-inch infotainment screen resides in the dash.

Starting at $99,500, the CLS 63 AMG is (relatively speaking) an affordable continuation of the four-door coupe trend that Mercedes first championed, one now copied by each of Mercedes’ competitors. However, that price jumps substantially with options.

Conclusion

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 616444

The B6 starts as a factory-spec 6 Series rolling out from the plant in Dingolfing, Germany. From there, it’s sent straight to the Alpina team in Buchloe for two weeks of parts fitting, all applied by hand.

For only a few grand over the M6, the Alpina B6 is unquestionably the way to go. It looks better and goes faster. It’s not often you can find a unique offering straight from the German factory – all too often, BMWs are lost in the crowd, sloshing about in a sea of model numbers and trim designations.

The B6 is different. It’s a car with presence, and unlike the majority of "special editions" out there, it’s got the cajones to back it up. $120K is a lot of money, but what you get is worth it: speed, style, comfort, technology, and most of all, distinction.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • No US autobahn to max out

Press Release

The new 2016 model year BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe gains subtle BMW enhancements and benefits in particular from the results of continuous development by ALPINA. The four-door Gran Coupe, already widely recognized for aesthetic beauty and impressive driving performance, raises the benchmark with exciting new details. The new BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe will become available to order starting in March 2015, with US deliveries slated to begin at BMW Centers in June. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe is available as a special-order vehicle with capacity-limited production underscoring its exclusivity. The B6’s body is manufactured in the BMW 6 Series factory (Plant Dingolfing) and hand-finished with the remaining ALPINA components at the ALPINA factory in Buchloe, Germany. The hand-finishing sequence at ALPINA increases the production lead-time by approximately two weeks. European Delivery at the BMW Welt delivery center is available for the BMW ALPINA B6, as is BMW Performance Center Delivery in Greer, SC, USA.

A more-dynamic front spoiler and fascia enclose the subtly-revised BMW kidney grill, and shape the transition to the new ALPINA hood which features character chines, lending the new B6 xDrive Gran Coupe an even more powerful appearance and accentuate its class-leading performance potential.

The 4.4 liter V8 Bi-Turbo V-8 engine – known amongst aficionados as the embodiment of power, torque and refinement – now delivers an astonishing 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 590 lb-ft at only 3,500 rpm (all figures preliminary). The increase in output of 60 hp over the 2015 model has been achieved through extensive rework of the air intake ducting and air filter housing, with enhancements to the fuel supply system. Coupling the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system with an ALPINA-developed performance calibration means the new B6 xDrive Gran Coupe delivers heroic straight-line performance. With a 0 – 60 mph acceleration time of only 3.6 seconds (preliminary), it is the fastest-accelerating BMW ALPINA model ever developed. The new B6 xDrive Gran Coupe is capable of a maximum speed of 200 mph (electronically limited).

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 616443

The ALPINA sport suspension utilizes BMW’s advanced electronic suspension technologies including Dynamic Damper Control (adjustable, adaptive shock absorbers) and Adaptive Drive (Active Roll Stabilization), which work together with the fully-variable torque distribution of the all-wheel drive system to achieve very neutral, agile driving dynamics.

The powerful brake system now features blue calipers with ALPINA lettering on the front axle with brake discs measuring 374 x 36 mm on the front and 370 x 24 on the rear (increased from 345 x 24 mm).

The standard equipment level has been extended to include attractive features such as Full LED Adaptive Headlights with High Beam Assistant, and a discrete new B6 model designation in the B-pillar in high-gloss Shadow Line.

Refined performance with powerful delivery.

Continuous development of the 4.4 liter V8 Bi-Turbo V-8 engine has resulted in a number of upgrades leading to a significant increase in power output in the new B6 xDrive Gran Coupe. The engine now develops 600 hp at 6,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 590 lb-ft between 3,500 and 4,500 rpm (preliminary figures).

Two specifically-constructed, large-diameter turbochargers, operating in parallel, are primarily responsible for achieving a high power and torque output over a very broad engine speed range, without sacrificing spontaneous throttle response at low rpm. The high-performance water-air intercooler system with a short intake distances consists of a large-volume low-temperature heat exchanger, and two near-engine intercoolers. Additional oil and water coolers are located just behind the front spoiler to ensure overall thermodynamic efficiency of the engine. Extensive optimization of the air intake ducting and air filter housing leads to a substantial reduction of losses, which together with an upgraded fuel supply system results in the hike in output of 60 hp over the previous model year.

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 616444

Inside the cylinders, specific MAHLE pistons are designed to deal with temperatures and pressures associated with up to 1.2 bar (17.4 psi) boost pressure and the engine’s 10.0:1 nominal compression ratio.

ALPINA-tuned 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission.

Adapted and tested in co-operation with ZF, the advanced ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC 8-Speed Sport Automatic transmission is perfectly tailored to the power and torque of the V-8 Bi-Turbo engine. It excels equally in the disciplines sport and comfort, playing a central role in infusing the B6 xDrive Gran Coupe with ALPINA typical characteristics.

In Automatic (D) Shift Mode, the flexible blend of eight speeds and high torque makes for smooth gear changes only a torque converter can provide. Explicitly programmed for comfort, the B6 Bi-Turbo Gran Coupe glides effortlessly and efficiently at low engine speed and tall gears, offering unmatched cruising ability.

In Sport (S) Shift Mode, the transmission becomes significantly more dynamic, gear changes are executed faster and feedback becomes more direct. The system allows for multi-simultaneous downshifts in only milliseconds, wherein the transmission will skip several gears depending on engine loads and speeds to select the most favorable gear for optimum acceleration.

The Manual (M) Shift Mode allows full driver control over the transmission. The ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC buttons are ergonomically mounted on the rear of the steering wheel, their actuation allowing the driver to shift up or down as required. A unique feature of the transmission software in Manual (M) Shift Mode in combination with the selection of Sport+ or DSC OFF Mode using the Driving Dynamics Control button is the cancellation of automatic upshift function. In this mode of operation, the transmission will maintain the selected gear up to maximum engine speed and will not automatically upshift to the next gear. This is desirable in certain driving situations, for example during especially dynamic driving on roads with multiple tight hair-pin corners, or on race track segments featuring pronounced elevation change.

Hardware modifications to the transmission, output and driveshafts enable unrestrained power delivery. In combination with the single-cylinder fade-out and ALPINA specific software modifications, this eliminates the common reduction of torque required by the transmission in order to up-shift. This allows super-quick upshifts under full loads which, together with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive, means the B6 xDrive Gran Coupe requires only 3.6 seconds for the sprint from 0 – 60 mph (preliminary).

BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive.

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 616445

The ALPINA all-wheel drive system exploits the technical potential of BMW’s xDrive system and its intelligent, dynamic distribution of drive power which continuously and variably distributes torque between the front and rear axle within milliseconds, for a maximum of traction and control.

For the BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe, the programming of the torque distribution control system, which is interconnected with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and engine management system, is performance-oriented and increases driving agility and dynamics – especially under lateral acceleration – while maintaining a neutral balance. Besides allowing optimum traction under acceleration by eliminating slip-induced losses, the system continuously monitors a wide range of sensory inputs – for example steering angle, lateral acceleration, yaw angle and speed - to distribute torque to achieve maximum safety in challenging conditions or when encountering sudden changes in road surface friction.

Exhaust system.

The B6 xDrive Gran Coupe features a full stainless steel exhaust system with ALPINA trademark elliptical twin tailpipes. The character of the deep exhaust note is prominent but not intrusive. Active exhaust valves allow balance between enthusiasm and comfort on long journeys. The driver can influence the sound experience using the Driving Dynamics Control button. In Comfort Mode, the exhaust valve is closed up to 2,500 rpm, and in Sport Mode the valve is permanently open.

Chassis, wheels, and tires.

BMW ALPINA automobiles place special demands on chassis and suspension – requiring high levels of comfort for relaxed cruising, light-footed and dynamic agility for purposeful driving as well as safe and neutral handling at high speeds.

The B6 xDrive Gran Coupe’s chassis and suspension technology builds upon the basis of a BMW double-wishbone front suspension and integral rear axle. Furthermore it utilizes sophisticated electronic suspension technologies including Dynamic Damper Control (adjustable, adaptive shock absorbers) and Adaptive Drive (BMW Active Roll Stabilization). This allows the driver to change the chassis and suspension settings distinctly between Comfort+, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ using the Driving Dynamics Control rocker switch.

The ALPINA-specific calibration of dampers and stabilizers is tied into other system parameters including torque distribution, stability control, steering assistance, and throttle response.

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe Interior
- image 616446

Stiffer springs and increased front wheel camber, combined with the 20” staggered ALPINA CLASSIC wheel and tire set, result in direct steering response and precise handling. The high performance MICHELIN Pilot Super Sport tires forego run-flat technology in order to maximize comfort and they have a high speed rating to allow for the B6 xDrive Gran Coupe’s maximum possible speed of 200 mph. The dimensions of the rear wheel and tire have increased to 10” x 20” and 295/30 ZR20 for improved traction while the front dimensions remain at 8.5” x 20” and 255/35 ZR 20.

All season tires measuring 255/35 front and 285/30 rear are available as a factory option. Vehicles supplied with this option from the factory have a non-removable limited top speed of 130 mph. ALPINA recommends the appropriate use of performance summer tires and winter tires according to weather conditions for the best performance, handling and safety of your BMW ALPINA vehicle.

Exterior design.

The ALPINA design features blend seamlessly and stylishly into the surfaces and lines of the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, accentuating its dynamic, graceful silhouette.

A new, more aggressive front spoiler and apron enclose the subtly-changed BMW kidney grill and shape the transition to the new hood with character chines. These lend the new B6 xDrive Gran Coupe an even more authoritative appearance and hint at the enormous performance potential of the V-8 Bi-Turbo engine.

The design and shape of the new ALPINA front spoiler ensures the effective flow of sufficient air to the radiator modules of the performance cooling-system, including inter-cooler, water and oil. A subtle, integrated splitter directs air over and around rather than underneath the vehicle, thereby stabilizing the front end at high speeds.

Special NACA air channels at the front of the underbody suck cold air towards the powerful brake system with blue calipers which are visible through the delicate spokes of the ALPINA CLASSIC 20” wheels. Large diameter brake discs measuring 374 x 36 mm on the front and 370 x 24 mm on the rear (up from 345 x 24 mm) guarantee effective brake performance.

2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe High Resolution Interior
- image 616447

Interior & equipment.

The new B6 xDrive Gran Coupe has a comprehensive, comfort orientated range of standard equipment, a luxurious interior, and only the highest-quality materials. Nappa leather and a leather instrument panel remain standard in addition to essential features such as electric comfort seats. The BMW Navigation system with BMW ConnectedDrive services is also standard.

Blue ALPINA instrumentation, an ALPINA steering wheel covered in hand-stitched LAVALINA leather, the ALPINA production plaque overhead, door sill trims with blue illuminated ALPINA lettering, and the classic ALPINA luxury wood trim in Myrtle or Piano lacquer – these are some of the exclusive features of the B6 xDrive Gran Coupe’s interior.

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