We continue our trip down memory lane with ALPINA by highlighting one of the most desirable family cars ever manufactured by the experts based in Buchloe. Having seen the E12 and E28 sedans earlier this week, it’s time for a more practical car by admiring a mint-condition B5 Touring from the E61 era. Sure, it doesn’t have the mighty V10 of the naturally aspirated M5 but it’s no slouch either.
This ALPINA B5 was based on the 550i version with the 4.4-liter V8 dialed to a mighty 500 hp (368 kW) and 700 Nm (515 lb-ft) of torque in the early cars manufactured from February 2005 until September 2007. From that point on, the V8 was dialed to 530 hp (390 kW) and a monstrous 725 Nm (535 lb-ft) until production ended in May 2010. The later cars packed even more punch than the S85-powered M5 sold by BMW with the 5.0-liter engine.
It’s not just the crazy power that makes this car so desirable. We should also factor in the extra practicality brought by the wagon format and just how sublimely understated the ALPINA B5 E61 looks. If it weren’t for those two enlarged exhaust tips, the untrained eye would think it’s a mundane 520d. This is anything but that since the performance delivered remains strong even by 2023 standards.
The more potent version took just 4.6 seconds to 62 mph (100 km/h) and topped out at a respectable 197 mph (317 km/h). Today’s equivalent would have to be the already sold-out B5 GT Touring, a super wagon with 625 hp and 850 Nm (627 lb-ft). It’s a full second quicker in the sprint than the B5 E61 Touring and has a slightly higher top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h).
At this point, we don’t know whether the forthcoming 5 Series Touring G61 will receive the ALPINA treatment. However, BMW has confirmed it’s bringing back the M5 Touring (G99) in 2024, so wagon enthusiasts better start saving. It’ll have a yet-to-be-confirmed output of over 700 hp from a plug-in hybrid V8 setup adapted from the XM. Unlike the M3 Touring (G81), we’re hearing its bigger brother is coming to the US.