Unfortunately for us ‘Mericans, we don’t get the opportunity to buy the ALPINA B5. Those this question is pointless for us. However, for our friends overseas, the choice is theirs. And it’s a tough one, as the ALPINA B5 is a superb car but so too is the new BMW M5. So which do you buy? Well, Australian publication Drive.au took a look at the ALPINA to find out.
First, let’s start off by talking about what exactly the ALPINA B5 is. It starts out life as a standard BMW 5 Series but it gets a new engine, new suspension, new interior and an ALPINA-specific tune for the transmission, all-wheel drive system, four-wheel steering system and differential. So while it looks like a BMW, its character is uniquely ALPINA.
Under the hood lies a 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8. It, too, starts out life as a BMW but is then heavily tinkered with by ALPINA. So it gets new pistons, intercoolers, turbochargers and a new air intake system, along with some other mechanical upgrades and a new ECU tune. All of that combines to make 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The latter is more than the M5′ torque figure. So it’s quick. ALPINA claims 0-60 mph in the low three-second range and there’s no reason to doubt that.
As far as handling goes, the ALPINA B5 is a very capable, exciting machine but it isn’t as thrilling as the BMW M5, as it’s a bit more subdued, more relaxed. It’s also more luxurious on the inside. Thanks to ALPINA’s wonderful leather and wood work, the B5 is far more sumptuous than its M brethren.
So is it worth getting over the hardcore BMW M5? Well, Drive.au isn’t so sure. It’s a hard decision to make. One we have no sympathy for, by the way. At least you get to make the decision on your own. Dammit.