At the moment, we’re very excited about the upcoming debut of the second-generation BMW 8 Series. One of the reasons why we’re so excited, aside from the fact that it seems like it’s going to be incredible, is that the first-gen car was awesome. Admittedly, the first-gen 8 Series was far from perfect. It was too heavy, too expensive and lacked the sort of handling dynamics people were expecting of it. However, now that it’s aged and we can look back on it with nostalgia, it’s a lovely machine. But there’s a version of the original 8 Series that’s even more loved and even more desirable — the ALPINA B12 5.7.
The ALPINA B12 5.7 differentiated itself from the standard 8 Series by being more powerful, faster, more luxurious and flipping fantastic looking. All of which makes it far more desirable, now, than the standard E31 8 Series. Which is why this specific 1993 ALPINA B12 5.7 is asking an eye-watering $468,000.
That’s an absurd amount of money, being that you can literally buy a Rolls Royce Phantom and a BMW M3 for that sort of money. However, this is a pretty special example, as it only has around 5,500 miles on its odometer. That means it’s barely broken in and it seems that way. The paint is immaculate and the wheels have nary a pockmark. It’s actually quite remarkable to see a car as old as this to be in such superb condition. You can almost smell that new-car smell from the pictures.
Inside, the leather looks absolutely perfect, with the blue and green ALPINA stitching on the seats as vibrant as they were the day it left the factory. Just look at the ever-so-’90s ruched leather seats, the look like they were just upholstered. It’s lovely.
But the best part about the ALPINA B12 5.7 is its engine. As usual, ALPINA borrowed an engine from BMW and then tickled it to make more power. So it started out life as a 5.6 liter BMW V12 that made 380 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Then ALPINA bored it out to 5.7 liters, gave it new Mahle pistons and a new crankshaft, as well as an engine tune, to pump power up 416 hp, while keeping torque the same. When paired with a six-speed manual, the ALPINA B12 5.7 was capable of 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).
The ALPNA B12 5.7 is about a lot more than just performance figures, though. It’s about being smooth, stable and effortlessly cool. It packs a luxury, a smoothness and an unflappable confidence that the standard 8 Series couldn’t. That’s how ALPINAs have always been. There’s just a loveliness to the way they drive that makes them feel more special than their BMW counterparts. We’re not sure that this B12 is actually worth more than a Phantom VIII but it’s certainly an icy cool classic that will probably only continue to appreciate. So if you can afford it: A) I’m jealous and B) buy it.