Buy a G30 BMW 5 Series or this used 2013 ALPINA B7?

5 Series, News | December 10th, 2016 by 19
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There’s just something so special about ALPINAs. Ever driven a car that just felt like so much more than the sum of its parts? That’s …

There’s just something so special about ALPINAs. Ever driven a car that just felt like so much more than the sum of its parts? That’s what ALPINAs feel like. Yes, they’re technically just upgraded BMWs, but they feel like more than that. They feel…special. So, if you’re in the market to buy, say, the new BMW G30 5 Series that’s about to hit dealerships, would you take that same money and buy a slightly older, slightly used ALPINA B7?

This specific B7 is a 2013 model year, making it part of the F01-generation BMW 7 Series. So, it lacks a lot of the tech that the new 5er possess and less luxury features. However, the ALPINA boasts a higher level of actual luxury on the inside. With sumptuous leather that feels better than anything in a BMW and wood that I’d like for furniture in my home, ALPINAs are a step up, in terms of luxury, from BMWs. So the ALPINA B7 is more luxurious than the G30 5er on the inside, despite having less features and tech.

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Then there’s the performance. The fastest G30 5 Series, before the M5 is released, is the M550i. That car makes 462 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, which allows it to get from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat. That’s properly quick and faster than the previous-gen M5. While the ALPINA B7 isn’t as fast, it’s still immensely quick, getting from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, thanks to a 507 hp, 516 lb-ft 4.4 liter V8. So it’s still a beast in a car that’s much bigger, more comfortable and heavier.

Just looking at the ALPINA B7’s wheels could do you in though, as they might be the best looking wheels in the world. Considering ALPINA has been using the exact same wheel design for a few decades, now, and they’re still beautiful, the previous comment isn’t so much hyperbole as it is truth. This one, in black with those wheels and the decklid spoiler, looks properly menacing and mean. In a word, fantastic.

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Motor Trend recently reviewed the BMW M6 Gran Coupe against the ALPINA B6 Biturbo. According to them, despite being slower overall and less sporty, the ALPINA was the far better car. It just felt more special. That’s exactly my point. This specific ALPINA B7 costs $56,999, or about the same price as your average BMW 530i. So, for that much money, do you want to drive a four-cylinder 5 Series, the same one as everyone else, or do you want a rare, craftsman-made, 507 hp, twin-turbocharged V8 ALPINA B7?

[Source: Hemmings]

19 responses to “Buy a G30 BMW 5 Series or this used 2013 ALPINA B7?”

  1. 2sfhim says:

    Don’t forget insurance and maintenance costs.

    • Bellisarius says:

      Considering that my 335i M Performance is costing me in Ontario as MUCH as my 2006 civic LX (about 100$/month full replacement value since I bought it) the insurance argument does not hold. Nor does the maintenance- Any Alpina is a BMW upgraded to top tier quality parts- from engine components, pumps, suspension etc. So a BMW 5 or 7 is not the same car as a B5/B7. The second hand buyer gets a huge bang per buck value. The same is not true for the former 5/7 series BMW. That also changed with the N55/N58 engines, which have been voted top of their class year after year, and as reliable in the millions of 3/4X series sold as they are in the new 5/7 series. SO yes, V8 5 Series higher on maintenance (esp gaskets, fuel pumps etc), V6 Turbos are cheaper than maintaining a Honda Toyota Acura etc worth 5-10% MSRP after 7 years, and costing 150% in maintenance at that point.

      During a lunchtime conversation on the high cost of ‘luxury’ cars, myself being the only one owning a vehicle that could be labelled as such (BS), I asked the crowd how much were their suspension and brake jobs. They all gave me various figures, a Subaru owner listing me 2300$ for his suspension. I then opened my cell and flashed the BMW Laval Dinan quote for sports suspension (1500+ labour), sway bars, Shockware etc, and they became silent. Yes, it costs more to replace a Matrix suspension with Toyota stock OEM than it does to take a BMW M Performance suspension and upgrade it all around to Dinan sports…

      Then they quote the oil BS argument, 1 gallon 70$/8000 kms, BMW does it once a year, 2 gallong 20,000+ kms 120$ OMG IT IS SOOO EXPENSIVE!!

      Cheaper cars cost more and once thrown away (like my friend rotating Kia SUVs every 3.4 years) account for 70,000$ equity spending every 4 years and THEY STILL DO NOT OWN A CAR.

      Maintenance anyone?

      • Senne says:

        Wow man, such a nice comment!! And very well argued as well! :)

      • 2sfhim says:

        From my European point of view your arguments don’t apply where I live. Insurance for big engines and fuel costs aren’t the same in Europe. Cars don’t really rust where I live unless you buy something like a Lada. You have to wait for 15 or 20 years to see rust appear – maybe. Smaller cars don’t depreciate as much as in the USA but old Germans depreciate quite a lot. For 1000€ you only get a 20-year old car with 250-300k kms. Many E39s ask less than 5,000€. And for the same price you get a Peugeot 206 of the same era.

        • Bellisarius says:

          All you are doing is proving my point. 5,000 euros last summer was close to 8,000 Canadian. Plus provincial tax the moment you transfer ownership, adds to 10,000$ Canadian, for an E39. Just go on kijiji and seek e46 and higher with up to date maintenance.

          Where do you live? As various Japanese cars have a hard time selling in some regions. In Cologne I hardly saw any; but plenty of Renaults, Mercedes, BMW Audi, Skoda and so on.

          Where we live, they rot. But also, as my argument said, you cannot compare 6 months of snowbelt icing, snow and salt (it is -20C where I am now), and salt is the only way to ensure safety. You do realize I am watching live Euro soccer and it is warm? The MLS soccer final yesterday in Toronto, Canada’s warmest Ontario City, it was -10C. All Japanese rust- Mazda being the worse, as do Koreans and Big 3. 6 months and multiple months of -20C, with so much salt around that roads remain controllably wet at -20..

          So your conditions to me are as tropical as the Bahamas may be to your current climate.

          And due to the EU emissions, Canadian and US safety requirement, these manufacturers have added the mandatory items (PDC VSA TC etc) and maintained their prices. Thousands of $ per car (usually 2,500$). The quality was taken from everywhere else- chassis framset etc.. And why, for example, 2014 onwards Civics have rust recalls from the factory, and seen it on brand new Civics bubbling 4 months into ownership.. The Germans went the other way, increasing price and overall quality. Every single German car is galvanized.

          Just google Bel Air Body shop or Camco Acura in Ottawa, they are the only manufacturer certified repair for all Germans and Japanese, and ask them about Toyota or Honda factory perforation rust issues. They will give you an earful.

          I am also aware that most EU countries have taxes and environmental regulations that we do not have. Your argument is purely related to demand. In Canada, German cars are in heavy demand second hand as they are proven, reliable and fun to drive in horrible conditions. We do not have the same level of taxation and emission certification as you guys do. So the second hand car market here is far more demanding. For the reasons mentioned above the Japanese flatten at 5% after a few years, whereas German remain steady at 20-30%.

        • Guillaume Perret says:

          What about insurance ? It is much more expensive for a big engine, even old.
          Tires ? They cost probably twice more on a 335 than a civic.
          gas ?
          Parking ? A civic, you put it on the street, not a 335, you should take this into account as well.
          Ah and see what is the price of replacing the oil of a BMW/ZF automatic gearbox … (I know, BMW says not to do it, but if you are smart…)
          Maintenance: maybe you are lucky in Canada, but in Switzerland, changing all the fluids (oilds, break, filters, etc….) cost 1000 CHF at BMW and 500 at Renault.

          Let’s not even discuss the costs of repairs: headlights, bumpers, etc … MUCH more expensive

          Buying a second hand 335i might be more interesting than a brand new Civic, but if you buy them both old or new, come on, there is no secret.

          • Bellisarius says:

            Same or LESS than my Civic- more Civics are stolen or damaged. My Civic was 112, the x2.5 cost BMW 105$ per month and dropping.

            Parking- umm did you check the specs? The 2016 Civic is 182.3″, and the F30 BMW 182. Sure the G30 will gain 1″m but so will the new Civic, the 2017 being a prime example. Did you actually researched these numbers BEFORE asking ?

            Bon question des reparations: Bumpers ETC I regard that driver induced. PDC sensors and the overall onboard cameras have so far, knock wood protected me. But since I paid 1500$ for an 84 month full appearance protection, including headlights, and have 200,000kms transferable warranty, unsure about your point. Point however: NO protection for peeling paint year 4 plus a day on a Civic…


            I just listed you above 10,500$ worth of useless Civic repairs (am excluding basic maintenance), 3,000$ for rotting brake systems, 7,200$ for repainting + rusting driver door replacement and dead air compressor – by yr 7.

            So a 30,000 Civic is worth less than 1000$ year 6, even if mechanically sound, as repainting a whole car = 100% of residual value. A German car x7 to x20 residual value.

            Ok, so the magic purchase curve for a BMW, Infinity, Audi is 3 year mark, CPO 6 yrs/160k, 60% of initial buying point. So a top 3 series drops to 40k from 65,000$ at 50,000Kms. It will then follow a low rate depreciation between 25,000-15,000$. My GF bought a 2yr old CPO BMW for 33,000 CAD incl taxes, or some 24,000 Euros incl taxes. New it was 35,000euros. She also got the 6 yr warranty instead of 4, second hand. That is the same price as a Civic with topped up warranty. SAME PRICE and less than an Accord, an oversized Civic.

            Tires- ditch runflats. 18″ tires cost the same for a Civic as they do for a BMW. Michelin PSS 18″ marginally more than 17″ for civics, although even civic owners go for 18″ now. IMO They ONLY COST MORE IF YOU HAVE FUN AND push your car in summer doing sub 4.5 0-60mph traps.

            US consumers get 100,000 kms free maintenance, including rotor disks. In Canada we get 80,000 kms – excluding rotors. But even adding your oils, les filtres, etc etc my BMW can never make up for the cost of ownership and depreciation for the Honda (10,500$) or a Toyota, Mazda or Hyundai. It took me years of careful observation to realize that just the brake issues on a Honda will out top all BMW basic maintenance costs, or the dying compressors (1,200S) at 3 year mark.

            So the trick is buy the best working German car- any 3/X3/X5, or post e90 M, and avoid prev Gen 5 series or much older M without logged maintenance.

            BMW vs Renault- are we back at the 10000 kmvs 20,000kms argument? Does Renault hold 8.8 liters of oil or 4 like most sedans? BMWs Audis Mercedes need 8.8 litres, x1 oil job per year. I had to do 2-3 for my Civic amount for as much or more as a BMW one. Incidentally, Mercedez and BMW are also rated for dry gearbox run, so their engines can even run, at idle, a long time without oil. Only cars in the industry able to do that, a testimony to their engineering.

  2. John says:

    LOL No mention of maintenance costs on an out-of-warranty BMW??

    • Bellisarius says:

      LOL you, after owning Japanes for 10 years, Japanese ARE MORE especially due to depreciation, rutting brake system and sub-chassis. Engine runs but by year 10 you have to seriously consider buying another car. Whereas dump 5,000 on that BMW and it still runs impeccably. And never rots or rusts…

    • Bellisarius says:

      LOL, let’s talk maintenance, John. After owning Japanese cars, and maintaining them impeccably, Japanese, American and Koreans COST MORE especially due to depreciation, rutting brake system and sub-chassis. They are designed to sell you the idea that they are reliable (which they are) but for 5 years. then they bottom. Engines run well but by post year 7 you have to seriously consider buying another car- especially in northern climates.
      Whereas dump 5,000 on that BMW and it still runs impeccably. And never rots or rusts…

      New 2017 Civic? Ugly, 30,000$. BMW maintenance? LMAO Illl take that… Try it then get back to me.

      Ever seen a 1998 e46 sold for 23,000$ 60,000 kms? recently in Ottawa… Why is that ask yourself.. Try that with any Japanese.

      My 335i M Performance has 7 yrs 200,000kms warranty – paid 2,500$ for that, free maintenance until 2018, and am soo bored of no issues no matter how I push it 0-60 4.3 seconds that am starting to upgrade further the suspension, adaptive etc. By its 3d year my awesome Civic 2006 was taxing me 800$ for brake replacement. Year 4 1 caliper failed
      and had to replace that caliper AND BOTH ROTORS (for obvious reasons), another 800$. But it is when the front calipers failer out of sync with my GT grade rotors (caliper seals were done at 100,000), had to replace both calipers (500$), new GT stock rotors (better than OEM) 600$,
      another 1,100$ wasted. And all this normal Civic wear. A single bad ice storm weekend hitting a Big 3, Japanese sideways, if unable to heat it up, it will wreck your braking system the first drive after (and why most brake failures are in spring). Seen it in any poor brand, even KIAs, Hyundais etc. One icy rain weekend in spring and new brake job required. BMW? Current brake set wear is on track for 160,000kms lifespan. Of course the high grade alloy calipers, high grade
      carbon steel rotors, and stainless steel brake lines do not rust, but hey, details details. Ok, technical correction, rotors do rust (except the harts which are AL alloy), but it is a very low rate of surface rust only. Think cheap cutlery, think higher end German Swedish or Japanese
      stainless cutlery. And since brakes are a notorious expense on Japanese cars, I cannot dissociate your comment from reality. Brake jobs cost Japanese owners thousands of$ per lifetime, and sometimes they are the cause for poor braking and avoidable collisions. BMW 12 yr perforation resistance, and since it is multi-phased steel and hot-molted phased steel, all galvanized, technically it can only rust if you strip and brush it completely and dip it into a sea salt tank 24/7 for weeks. On gf’s car, after 4 winters of neglect I touch painted her hood chips- allshiny metal. Non European rust with paint on top.

      Civic, Car of the Year comes with factory recalls for rust. Esp the newer ones (Toyota
      Honda Hyundai) which lowered quality to improve the onboard experience and tech. QC taken out of frames and chassis. 5th year door perforation rust, 3,500$ (luckily a gimmic insurance plan I paid for covered it). Air compressor – 1,200$, they all were known japanese fails. US have class action, Canada you are SOL. Paint oxidization, 2,500% (check La Facture inquiry in Canada, vs US lawsuit recall for all Civics int he US)/ Total cost of owning my Civic the first 6 years was 8,000$ (am including the 3,500$ door as most owners do not have any
      perforation protection plan). Yr 7-8 2,500$+tx paint job (partially covered by honda after a 6 months hassle when they accidentally agreed to repaint it) = 10,500/27,000=40% of MSRP value in poor quality related maintenance costs. And, again, my 2006 Civic, not excluding real wheels well rust, is impeccable. 225,000 kms now running as new, grippy brakes, repainted, etc. But 10,500 is a reality. Most other owners I cross drive them with peeled off paint.

      OK, so for those living in Arizona/Nevada, I have seen 12 yr old Japanese cars, no issues. But millions of Snow Belt residence have very different conditions which amplify and expose the “cheaper reliable car” argument as a myth.


      My BMW? burnt tires only and on my 3d year going for Volk Rays as I am bored having no car expenses whatsoever.

      GF’s 2012 e90 BMW, she bought it second hand CPO at 34,000- or same price as an Accord. NOTHING.

      10,500$ civic maintenance vs any BMW scenario… hmmmm. Well, Japanese owners
      should keep the rusting Civics with Oxidized paint knowing that it is
      worth 500$ trade-in value after 6-7 years.

      Best Japanese: Subaru Impreza and Infinity, but they go over 40,000 as they have European parts.

      In Europe, European cars top JD Powes (Skoda being a surprising top ranker). Japanese do not pass European QC feedbacks- and they survery millions of Europeans each year. Consumer reports in North America, unfortunately, is funded by the big Three, Japanese and Koreans, and
      does not do mass surveys.. If they do, I have never ever seen one.

      Yr 3 I just got another JD Power survey, and Qn 2 asks me, to qualify for it, if I work for a journal or Auto Reporting Journalist group. CR- nothing like that.

      • John says:

        And what are the maintenance costs on a brand new G30???

        • Bellisarius says:

          In the US basic warranty and free maintenance is 0$ 60,000miles/4 years, including brake-sets. In Canada 80,000kms/4 years excluding brake-sets. Properly bedded in and cyclically tempered/used, my brake-sets are rated for 140-160,000kms. So 0 cost other than tires.

          Germans Swedes, Czechs/ Skoda the maintenance curve has decreased per generation (gone up for japanese – but Honda had 3-4 generations last 7 years!!) I can only presume maintenance costs will further decrease. The highest expense people have is the Runflats- hence my advice of ditching them immediately (at dealer expense) and that expense is gone

          Regular alignment- people push the cars and go over bumps accelerating twice as fast, not realizing that settings are custom tailored.

          Another expense, seen it in spring at dealership, is the occasional premature 800$ front rotor replacement .. Many sporty car owners- including the girl- are unaware that you cannot GLIDE these brakes. In winter one must cycle them to temperature even at -25C. Most people do not know that and they they show up in March with grooved, be it rustless front rotors. However, they will not get the Civic fail/frozen caliper syndrome, which can wreck a rotor set one single Spring afternoon. 7 Canadian years, I spent 3,000$ in Civic brake parts. Rotors were addressed by buying Canadian made, GT steel rotors, less $$$ Honda OEM, and replacing calipers a second time when my fingermetre told me that the discs were no longer heating up. The first caliper fail was over 1,300$ as they also damaged my Gt rotor set.

          VW brakesets are rated 80,000kms, as are base BMWs. Smaller Brembo rotors (800$ quote incl labour) 100,000 kms, BMW Audi Mercedes. Oversized Sports Rotors, e.g. M Performance, AMG, or AL Hatted Brembos, 140-160,000 kms.

          So depends which G30 trim you get, how you drive it, and what happens pass yr 4.

  3. Senne says:

    I would go for the B7, because it’s so special and good looking. But I think it’s a bit exaggerated that the B7 is so much more luxurious than a well equipped G30 will be. The seats don’t look that comfortable tbh. It might be illusion. I personally don’t like the would trim either. I’m more into piano black trim. :) Still I would take an Alpina V8 over an inline-4 banger any day of the week! :)

    • Bellisarius says:

      Senne, you have to watch a few youtube videos to see the difference. They essentially redo the entire interior, and it is not too far off from far more pretentious supercar interiors. Top grain Nappa leather (same as a Veyron or Ferrari), no more rattles, creaks, soft everywhere. They also redo the mechanics, suspensions, steering rack, chassis parts and much more. Those seats are brown but sport seats, very soft. Now, imagine a black sporty Alpina design.. New, in Canada, it would be 200,000$.

  4. Alexander S says:

    No doubt that would be new G30. The main reason is that would be a new car. And you dont need to worry about some faults or breaks because of warranty.

    • Bellisarius says:

      Except that, if the nomenclature follows the Fxx options, the 40,000$ G30 is nothing like that 65,000$ G30. Drives differently, number, slower, lacking character. Whereas this Alpina is the top in its category, all things considered. Again, bang per buck this Alpina trumps any G30 out there except maybe weight. And I am going with the assumption that any 5 series owner out there seeks the space and luxury feel of a 5 series, not the sportiness of a 3 or M series. Consequently, this B7 is above and beyond any 5 series at the price of one. So considering one gets 20,000$ discount on this versus a top G30, any headaches that may come with it are already covered in the price savings.

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