There’s something intangible about the way ALPINAs feel so much better than their BMW counterparts. It’s hard to explain but there’s a feeling of delicacy, charm and specialness that makes ALPINAs so wonderful. I remember driving the ALPINA B7 for the first time and falling in love with it, despite my ho-hum feelings about the pre-LCI G11 7 Series. In this new review from Car Magazine, you can tell author Ben Miller feels a similar way about the new ALPINA B5 Biturbo.
Despite being based on the standard BMW 5 Series, the ALPINA B5 Biturbo feels like an entirely different machine. Not only that but it feels like an entirely different machine from the BMW M5, the fastest and most exciting version of the 5er. The B5 Biturbo is a different animal than both of those cars and, according to Miller, feels more special as well.
Under the hood is a revised version of BMW’s 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8. To say ‘revised’ is to drastically understate how different it is and feels. ALPINA gives it new Mahle pistons, two larger turbochargers, a new intake, exhaust, intercooler and even bigger NGK spark plugs. The entire engine is retuned to make 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, making it a pokier unit than the one in the M5. More importantly, it feels different. It’s effectively the same engine that powered the B7 I drove last year and it feels more like an AMG than a BMW M engine, as Miller points out and I agree with. It’s meatier and deeper sounding low down but builds into a screaming monster at high revs.
It’s not just the engine, though. Everything about the way the ALPINA B5 moves feels different than any BMW product, M or otherwise. Its steering is more direct and communicative than the 5 Series, while its chassis is playful yet rock-solid. All the while, it’s more comfortable and luxurious than the M5. This is all thanks to specific tweaks to every little aspect of the 5er’s chassis, suspension, rear-wheel steering, all-wheel drive system and all of the software that controls it all.
All of those things add up to something that’s more than the sum of its parts, though. It’s hard to explain but ALPINAs just feel different, and often times better, than their BMW counterparts. The ALPINA B5 Biturbo is no different.