The Alpina B5 Touring was caught testing on the Nürburgring

It wasn’t all that long ago that we heard rumors about a BMW M5 Wagon being in the works, but so far we have yet to see an official example. But, not all is lost, as sneaky cameramen have managed to catch what we believe to be the Alpina B5 Touring putting in some beautiful work on the Nürburgring. For now, the Audi RS6 Avant and the AMG E63 Wagon have been dominating this specific segment, but this B5 Touring mule tells us that an M5 Touring is certainly on its way. For those of you who haven’t been keeping track, BMW hasn’t had an M5 Touring since the E61 Touring that was produced from 2007 to 2010, and even then it never made it to the U.S.

According to our camera crew, the B5 Touring you see here was actually making some rather quick laps on the ‘Ring, but that doesn’t mean it will get to us any quicker. It would be blasphemy for Alpina to drop the B5 Touring before the BMW-branded M5 hit the streets. The M5 should be revealed around this time next year, so you can expect the Alpina B5 and D5 – it’s diesel-drinking, torque-producing cousin – to be officially revealed sometime after that.

So, with that said, let’s take a good look at the spy shots we have here today and talk a little more about the Alpina B5 Touring.

Continue reading to learn more about the Alpina B5 Touring.

Spy Shots

August 9, 2016 - First testing session

2018 Alpina B5 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Alpina B5 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Alpina B5 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Alpina doesn’t do a whole lot to set its models apart from BMW – it’s something that drives me crazy, but that’s just the natural order of things. So, don’t expect a lot of difference between the BMW and Alpina Touring models. As is the usual case, the Alpina has a new front spoiler up front to go with a more aggressive rear fascia, and it does look to be sporting dual exhaust tips on each corner.

As is the usual case, the Alpina has a new front spoiler up front to go with a more aggressive rear fascia

We can spot large, high-performance brake calipers through the Alpina wheels that help to bring the whole package together. And, let’s not forget the Alpina badges in the front and rear to designate that this is an Alpina and not a BMW.

Outside of these few things, expect to see some minor changes to the exterior light units and a slightly lower ride height to accommodate the B5’s natural prowess on the track. It will still rock the BMW kidney grilles up front, but may get a more aggressive hood if we’re lucky.

Interior

2016 BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo High Resolution Interior
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Note: Interior of the BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo shown here.

As is the usual case with test mules, we have no idea what the interior of this one looks like. It will have the same overall design as its M5 counterpart, but will have Alpina-specific styling cues throughout and should have nearly unlimited configuration possibilities. Typically, Alpina models can be equipped with a choice of fine wood finished in piano lacquer or anything from the range of BMW and BMW individual materials.

When I say “nearly unlimited” I mean exactly that, as even the steering wheel can be altered to be thicker or thinner, and purchasers can swap the leather for Alcantara and even pick their own stitching colors. An Alpina-specific instrument cluster will grace the dashboard, and the infotainment system will feature Alpina logos on startup. Surely there will be more to talk about when the model is officially revealed, but until then, I’ll leave it at that.

Drivetrain

2018 Alpina B5 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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There has been little word as to what will motivate this long-awaited wagon, but we expect to see a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 crammed under the hood paired with all-wheel drive. Circulating rumors suggest that Alpina is shooting for 580 horsepower, but seeing output as high as 600 or 620 horsepower isn’t out of the question quite yet. On the other side of the spectrum, the D5 Touring should boast a straight-six with three turbochargers and an output in excess of 400 horsepower. As far as transmission options go, expect to see the Switch-Tronic transmission with a special torque converter to handle all the gut wrenching torque from that Biturbo V-8.

Expect the B5 Touring to rock Alpina’s Adaptive sports suspension system

On the chassis side of things, expect the B5 Touring to rock Alpina’s Adaptive sports suspension system. It combines front and rear sway bars with adjustable shocks and dual springs. All of this should cut down body roll during extreme maneuvers, and as an “active” system, you should experience the best ride ever as the system will constantly adapt to road conditions on demand. For the record, this system is driver-adjustable on other Alpina models, allowing the driver to fine-tune the suspension to suit his specific needs at any given time.

Prices

At this point, pricing is still up in the air, but I expect the B5 Touring to be priced somewhere in the $120,000 range, give or take a few thousand bucks. That about typical of Alpina models of this size. It might seem like a lot, but it is an Alpina, plus its highly customizable at the time of purchase, so I tend to think that it’s kind of worth it, given the number of options that are typically available.

<h3<Competition

Audi RS6 Avant

2015 Audi RS6 Avant Exterior
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There are a few high-performance wagons out there to choose from, and one of the B5’s primary competitors is the RS6 Avant. Released in 2015 after the A6, S6, RS6 took a much-needed facelift, the RS6 Avant comes with a 4.0-liter TFSI V-8 that delivers 596 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque. Paired with an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, the wagon is able to hit 60 mph in around 3.9 seconds with a top speed in the range of 190 mph. That’s pretty fast for a grocery getter. The RS6 Avant isn’t available here in the U.S., but currently starts out at £79,505 in the U.K. That translates to about $103,306 as of August 2016.

Read more about the Audi RS6 Avant here.

Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 Exterior Spyshots
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We’ve recently seen the Mercedes-AMG E63 wagon testing on public roads, and it’s shaping up to be the next big thing in Mercedes’ stable. The current model is powered by a 5.5-liter Biturbo V-8 that delivers 557 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. Paired with an AMG Speedshift seven-speed sports transmission, the Wagon is able to hit 62 mph in a matter of 4.3 seconds. AMG-specific features include 19-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG ride control, and chromed out exhaust pipes, among other things. Inside, the car gets the standard AMG treatment that includes Nappa leather upholstery, and an AMG performance steering wheel to go with other various upgrades made possible by the AMG line. The E63 Wagon currently starts out at £76,530 or about $99,493 at current exchange rates.

Read more about the Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon in our review here.

Conclusion

2018 Alpina B5 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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It doesn’t surprise me that we’re seeing a B5 Wagon test mule, but it seems a little premature considering we haven’t seen the M5 wagon putting in the paces quite yet. Then again, Alpina and Bimmer work so closely together anyway, so it’s highly possible that BMW is letting Alpina put in all the road test formalities for them. Either way, the B5, and the M5 Wagon for that matter are shaping up to be some pretty stiff competitors for the Audi RS6 Avant and the Mercedes-AMG E-63 Coupe. I have a feeling that the competition will come at a slightly cheaper price than the B5 Wagon, but they also don’t have the Alpina name attached to them either. I just wish Alpina did more to its model to differentiate them from BMW. For me, they are just too similar, even with the near limitless customization possibilities.

  • Leave it
    • * Not sure it’s worth the premium over the M5 Waogn
    • * Too similar to BMW’s offering
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