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Alpina previews its F10 BMW M5 competitor

By Rigval on 06 Jul 2010

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There have been news going around that the next generation BMW M5 will not be V10 powered. This is mainly due to BMW deciding to produce a ‘greener’ or more economical and less carbon emitting M5. The venerable 5liter V10 was deemed to be not environmentally friendly and BMW has, according to sources, decided to go with a 4.4liter twin turbocharged V8 for the next M5. So the F10 M5 is going back to its V8 roots like in the E39 M5 of the mid 1990s.

Anyway, for those that cannot wait for the new M5 but want something with as much street cred and a manufacturer warranty they can opt for the Alpina B5 Biturbo. This Alpina was recently launched at the Goodwood Moving Motor Show in the UK and uses the base BMW 4.4liter V8 as its powerplant. The thing with Alpina is that their vehicles are considered different cars from BMW in that if you bought a complete car from them, and not just some springs and rims, the Alpina would have their own Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) specifically for it. You could say that Alpina is like Ruf for Porsche, which also has their own VIN.

Now back to the Alpina B5. The base V8 from BMW is stripped and rebuilt to Alpina standards in which it gets its own crankshaft, bearings, specific cylinder head with Alpina spec camshafts, valvesprings and every other engine part. The exhaust headers, the turbochargers, as well as the suspension system are all Alpina specific items. These modifications produce 500bhp and close to 700Nm of torque. This allows the B5 a 0-100km/h time of 4.7seconds and a top speed of around 300km/h. It also gives you a combined petrol mileage at 26.1mpg and carbon emissions of 252g/km (which is pretty low for a car this powerful).

This actually does not show a lot of difference from a BMW M5 then as it too will have a twin turbo setup. The main difference is in the overall feel usually and the gearbox. Starting with the gearbox, the B5 comes with a traditional, albeit modified version of the ZF 8speed automatic gearbox. The previous E60 M5 ran an SMG style setup which was overtly sporty (and jerky) and the new F10 M5 is reported to be specified with a DSG or dual clutch unit. This makes the B5 more relaxed in nature as a automatic is usually super smooth in its delivery whereas a performance DSG may still be slightly mad at times.

If you looked at the previous E60 B5 it came with a V8 supercharged engine instead of the V10 E60 M5. The supercharger made the drive slightly more relaxing as the torque comes in early over the screaming and howling V10, which made its power slightly higher up the powerband. The Alpina also rides slightly softer than the M5 so an Alpina is somehow the boulevard cruiser of the two. And it could be the same here too.

UK prices are expected to be around £70,000 for the B5, depending on the options of course. And sales over there is expected to begin autumn, 2010. Start calling those grey importers if you want one over here as the closest official dealer for Alpina is in the U.A.E.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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