ALPINA’s latest model is finally here and it’s the one we’ve been waiting for. After sampling the BMW M8 Gran Coupe, we quickly realized that the 8er’s talents were far better suited for grand touring, rather than full-on performance. So we were impatiently waiting for the reveal of the ALPINA version, so it could finally become the car that it felt like it was meant to be. Now, that day is here and so is the ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe.
A Highly Revised V8
Obviously, the ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe starts life as a BMW M850i Gran Coupe but after the team at ALPINA is done with it, the B8 is a vastly superior machine. For starters, the BMW 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 is taken out, torn down, and fitted with a ton of new kit. The usual ALPINA engine treatment involves replacing the pistons, intercooler, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, fitting larger twin-scroll turbochargers, and giving it its own bespoke tune.
All of which combines to make 612 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. While that isn’t a drastic improvement over the M850i’s engine (523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft) on paper, the two engines feel drastically different on the road, as judged by the ALPINA B7 and XB7. The ALPINA version is smoother, more responsive, packs a bigger punch, and even sounds better. The latter of which is amplified by an ALPINA-specific stainless steel exhaust system, designed to enhance the sound of the big V8.
Helping to put all of that power to the wheels is an ALPINA-tuned version of the same ZF eight-speed gearbox found in the M850i. Not only has the software been recalibrated by ALPINA but the torque converter has also been beefed up to handle the added grunt of the engine. If the B7 is anything to go by, this B8 Gran Coupe’s transmission will be the best you’ll find in anything wearing a Roundel on the hood.
All of its power is sent to all four wheels, via a tuned xDrive all-wheel drive system. There’s also a limited-slip rear differential, to help unlock the B8’s dynamic abilities in corners, or as the Germans always like to say on press trips “zee dynamism.” Four-wheel steer is present, too, via ZF’s Active Kinematics Control System. Which means the rear wheels will steer up to 2.3 degrees either opposite the front axle at low speeds, or with the front axle at high speeds.
A New Suspension Setup
ALPINA has tweaked the suspension of the B8 Gran Coupe as well. It sits lower, with stiffer shocks and Eibach springs, for greater precision and handling. ALPINA also has a magic way of making its cars both firmer and more planted than the BMWs on which their based, while also being more comfortable. We’re not sure what sort of wizardry is going on there but whatever it is, we expect the ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe to have it as well.
Shock mounts are stiffer as well, with hydro mounts up front, to keep the B8 more stable during lane changes. It also gets stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars, to keep passengers from pitching and heaving as the big brute slices through corners.
Speaking of corners, Pirelli has developed a bespoke tire for the ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe, measuring 245/35ZR21 at the front and 285/3 ZR21 at the rear. They also get Pirelli’s noise cancelling system, to help keep the sticky tires hushed inside the cabin. As per usual, the grippy Pirellis are wrapped around ALPINA’s stunning classic wheel design, which come 21″ as standard with lockable hub covers, to keep the look streamlined. If you want winter or all-season tires, you get 20″ wheels without the hub covers.
Behind those wheels are big Brembo brakes; four-piston calipers up front and floating calipers at the back. Front rotors measure a whopping 15.6″ and 15.7″ rotors at the rear axle. For reference, my E36 BMW 328i came with 15″ wheels…
The ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe wouldn’t be a proper ALPINA without the usual styling upgrades. On the outside, it gets aggressive lower front air intakes, a new front splitter with “ALPINA” on it, a gloss black rear diffuser, quad exhausts that sit neatly in the rear bumper, and a subtle rear spoiler. The car in these photos is also wearing a lovely shade of ALPINA Green Metallic, which is the correct color choice. Though, there’s also an ALPINA Blue Metallic, if green isn’t your thing. But it should be.
Inside, the cabin is covered in swathes of rich leather, with the steering wheel wrapped in ALPINA’s signature LAVALINA leather. As with the B7 and XB7, it doesn’t look all that different from the standard M850i but it will feel different while sitting in it.
Starting at $139,900, the ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe is actually cheaper than the BMW M8 Gran Coupe Competition, while being more exclusive, better looking, and arguably more desirable. It goes on sale Spring 2021 in the U.S. and we absolutely cannot wait to drive it.