Autocar magazines reviews the new ALPINA B5 BiTurbo. Based on the 5 Series Touring, the ALPINA B5 takes the popular wagon a step further with both power and visual upgrades.
What’s it like?
To understand the B5 Touring you need to put yourself in the mindset of someone who is a) extremely wealthy, b) likes driving fast, preferably down quiet, derestricted autobahns in order to avoid having to fly, and c) also wants a quantifiably comfortable car to drive. People who buy Alpinas are not people who can’t afford a factory M car. They are people who don’t want such a manic driving experience as that offered by an M machine, but who want the same kind of straight line performance.
It’s a fairly small, specialised market that Alpina is playing to; last year it sold just over 1100 cars globally, down slightly on its best year of 2007 when 1500 cars were bought. And it’s a market that’s changing rapidly in the UK in particular, as the price of petrol continues to dent the appeal of big, powerful petrol-engined cars like the B5. Hence the reason Alpina’s engineers are working hard to produce a smaller, diesel-engined machine to replace its most popular ever model (in the UK at least), which was the excellent D3.
Having said that, the B5 Touring is not a car you’re going to enjoy as much as an M5 on a tight country road. It may mask the effects of its weight extremely well most of the time, but the bottom line is that it still weighs 1990kg; you’re always going to be fighting an uphill battle when trying to control that much weight. Best to head for the A-roads and switch on Classic FM.
Should I buy one?
If you have a lot of money, a couple of other sportscars to dart around in when the desire arises, plus the need for a machine that can dispatch hundreds of miles in very short order without even breaking into a sweat, then yes – because there’s nothing quite like a B5 Touring when it comes to trans-continental mile-munching.