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Frankfurt show: Alpina locks in B5 for Australia

Famous 5: Alpina’s B5 BiTurbo has a claimed top speed of 330km/h – 25km/h faster than BMW’s new M5.

447kW Alpina B5 to be priced at $240k when it hits Oz in early 2018

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BMW logo13 Sep 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

GERMAN BMW tuning specialist Alpina’s answer to BMW’s own upcoming sixth-generation M5, the B5 BiTurbo, has been confirmed for Australia, with the first three demonstrator vehicles set to land in local showrooms about February or March next year.

Priced at $239,900 plus on-road costs – around the same price as Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S – the B5 will only be available in sedan form in Australia, with the Touring wagon version available in Europe ruled too heavy for the Australian market.

The twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive B5 is powered by an Alpine-enhanced 4.4-litre V8 boasting 447kW of power and 800Nm of torque – 6kW and 50Nm more than the 441kW and 750Nm of the similarly sized engine of the latest M5.

BMW is yet to confirm pricing and final specifications for its new M5, although it says that car should go into Australia showrooms in March-April 2018.

Although Alpina unveiled the B5 at the Geneva motor show in March, it has used this week’s Frankfurt motor show to formally launch the production range for global sales.

Alpina Automobiles Australia sales manager Phil Jeffrey told GoAuto that the first B5s for Australia were scheduled to be built in the fourth quarter of this year.

He said much of the initial marketing activity would be focussed on Alpina’s Melbourne dealership at Doncaster BMW, but sales would procced at all five Alpina dealerships, including Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth.

Mr Jeffery ruled out the diesel version of the Alpina 5 Series, the D5, but added that it might be something that the Australia organisation would look at in future.

While the B5 is marginally slower than the M5 from zero to 100km/h – 3.5 seconds versus 3.4s – it is faster at the top end, peaking it 330km/h versus the M5’s 305km/h.

Like other Alpina vehicles, go-fast parts for the B5 are mostly developed in-house at Alpina. These include the air intake system and exhaust, along with engine internals such as pistons.

A pair of twin-scroll turbos slotted into the V of the engine are said to be optimised, with enlarged inlets and outlets. Turbo intercoolers and radiators have all been increased in size.

Although the B5 uses a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission like the M5, Alpina said it worked with ZF to refine its performance characteristics by adding Alpina’s own Switch-tronic manual-mode control.

Torque is delivered to all-four wheels by BMW’s xDrive system.

The stainless steel twin exhaust pipes are said to provide reduced backpressure while also offering dual modes of aural pleasure from the V8 engine note – comfort and sport.

A sports suspension is said to add sharper handling while maintaining ride comfort. Shorter springs and active dampers drop the ride height while providing a range of driving modes.

Alpina even went to the trouble of engineering and manufacturing new suspension wishbones for an extra degree of negative camber.

Lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels of Alpina’s own trademark 20-spoke design are fitted with specially crafted Pirelli P-Zero tyres, 255/35 on the front and 295/30 on the back.

Unusually, the rear brake discs are bigger than those at the front – 398mm at the rear and 395mm at the front.

Drilled composite discs are optional.

The subtle body kit centres mainly on front and rear aerodynamic surfaces. At the front, the bib spoiler is adorned with the Alpina name, while the rear apron is pierced by four elliptical exhaust pipes – two on each side.

The BMW kidney grille has flaps that open or close according to cooling needs while reducing drag.

Seats are cloaked in Nappa leather, while the hand-crafted sports steering wheel has Lavalina leather.

A four-zone climate control system and the latest sat-nav and connectivity systems from BMW are standard.

Buyers can choose from a number of trim finishes, including piano black and two wood finishes – myrtle and walnut – with the latter having a rougher finish.

The full-digital instrument display features the Alpina logo.

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