ALPINA has uncovered its quickest and most capable model yet – the BMW 5 Series-based B5 Bi-turbo – and Australian importers The In Motion Group has its hand firmly up to bring the new super sedan Down Under.
Speaking to GoAuto, The In Motion Group general manager Patrick Fielding said the company was “talking to Alpina about what sort of price position and specification the car would be in this market”.
“So it’s very early days, but it’s certainly something that if we can make it attractive and bring it in at the price point, then we’d like to do so. But as I say, very early.
“I’m sure it will be a very popular model, there are a lot of people who have expressed interest in it, we’re certainly very interested in it, it would complement the B7 very well in terms of establishing the brand in this market, but there’s no firm timing or pricing at this stage.”
Powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, the same engine used in both the outgoing and upcoming BMW M5 super sedan, the B5 produces its peak 447kW between 5750 and 6250rpm and maximum 800Nm of torque from only 3000 to 5000rpm.
Power and torque eclipses the previous-generation M5 by 24kW and 120Nm respectively, and could even match the yet-to-be-revealed new-generation M-fettled large sedan, which GoAuto discovered is targeted at about 450kW/700Nm.
To extract the extra performance, Alpina has reworked the air intake system and turbo setup, as well as improved cooling with larger radiators and optimised piping for maximum airflow.
Sending power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, the two-tonne B5 can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds in sedan form and is marginally slower at 3.6s in wagon guise, making it the fastest accelerating Alpina model to date.
Top speed is clocked at a supercar-scaring 330km/h in the four door and 325km/h in the Touring, making the Alpina B5 faster than both the Audi RS6 and RS7 twins, as well as dedicated supercars including the Mercedes-AMG GT R, Nissan GT-R Nismo and Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
Fuel consumption is rated at 10.3 litres per 100km, while carbon dioxide emissions is measured at 239 grams per km.
The rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system underpinning the new Alpina is also expected to form the driveline for the next-generation M5, with the B5 performance figures giving the strongest indication yet of the capabilities of the large M-badged sedan.
When asked if the Alpina B5 could steal the new M5’s thunder, with both built on the same platform and featuring all-wheel drive and a turbocharged V8 engine, Mr Fielding said, like the rest of the Alpina range, both cars are targeted towards different markets.
“When you drive the cars, they’re very different cars,” he said. “The sort of person who buys a B4 is buying a B4 because they wouldn’t buy an M4, and the reverse applies. The cars have different personalities and they are bought for different reasons.
“On paper it might look comparable, but behind the driver’s seat, they’re very different cars.”
The current-generation G30 5 Series launched in Australia earlier this month and, unlike in overseas markets, the local line-up does without a V8 or all-wheel-drive option, making homologation of the Alpina B5 a difficult prospect.
Once BMW introduces its new-generation V8-powered, all-wheel-drive M5, it could pave the way for a local introduction of the B5.
Exterior changes made to the Alpina B5 include a new stainless steel exhaust unit with rear bumper-integrated quad outlets, a new front splitter with Alpina badging that reduces uplift and helps channel air into air intakes for cooling and a subtle rear spoiler.
Adaptive dampers are fitted to all corners, with a combined shorter and stiffer spring setting, tucked behind signature 20-inch Alpina wheels shod in Pirelli high-performance tyres measuring 255/35 at the front and 295/30 in the rear for the sedan and 285/30 for the wagon.
Alpina has also tweaked steering, using a variable ratio electric system and active steering on the rear “whereby the wheels can turn a maximum of 2.5 degrees”, according to the BMW tuners.
Stopping power is handled by four-piston front brakes which clamp down on 395mm discs, while floating callipers bite on 398mm discs at the rear. Both callipers are finished in Alpina’s signature blue and buyers can option lightweight drilled discs and high-performance brake pads.
Inside, the B5 features a hand-crafted sports steering wheel made with blue and green stitching, illuminated door sills and an individual production plaque, while Alpina has also reworked the all-digital instrument cluster to feature different looks for Comfort and Sport driving modes.
If introduced to Australia, the B5 would slot in above the 3 Series-based B3 sedan and wagon, and 4 Series-based B4 coupe and convertible, while sitting below the top-of-the-line 7 Series-based B7.
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