If you can’t wait until the new BMW M5 arrives in early 2018, make a ‘B’ line for Alpina‘s latest model. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in both sedan and station wagon variants, the 2017 BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo keeps everything that’s cutting-edge and comfortable about the latest-generation standard 5-Series and adds a 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8 engine.
The result is an executive sedan that is also a supercar in disguise. BMW B5 Bi-Turbo’s engine sends 608hp via an eight-speed gearbox to all four wheels — making it the first Alpina 5-Series to feature all-wheel drive as standard — but where the car really surprises is in what all that power does. It sends the car from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds — another first for an Alpina vehicle — and on to a top speed of 330km/h. Prior to this, no production BMW could go beyond 250km/h without removing the electronic governor.
Better still, because this is an Alpina, a car developed alongside the standard 5-Series, it will be able to deliver these quoted levels of performance year-round, unlike an Italian supercar that must be handled with utmost care and only taken out of its special garage when the weather conditions are perfect.
However, the company itself admits that it was a big challenge to construct a car that is able to behave like an everyday executive run-around most of time, while exhibiting such a ferocious turn of speed when pushed. To ensure the ride would not be rock hard, the car’s suspension system uses electronically adjustable dampers.
Additionally, to make sure it’s easy to maneuver when not on the track — where drifting sideways is acceptable driving behavior — the BMW B5 Bi-Turbo is also the first Alpina to feature active rear-wheel steering. According to the company, such steering should make the car feel like a much smaller vehicle in inner city situations where a small turning circle is a necessity.
The only thing stopping this car from being the ultimate sleeper or Q car is its standard exterior colour, which comprises Alpina Blue or Alpina Green, the pinstriped deco set coachline striping, the subtle front and rear spoilers and of course those unique 20-spoke Alpina wheels. However, all of those elements are standardized. An Alpina is also a made-to-measure vehicle; from interior fittings and materials to exterior paint colors, the car can be customized to individual taste.
BMW won’t be launching its own M5 until 2018 and when it does, there’s a good chance that it could be faster from 0-100km/h than the B5. However, the company has confirmed that it has no plans to make a station wagon version of the next M5, leaving Alpina’s B5 Bi-Turbo Touring in a class of its own.