What is it?
In simple terms this is the more spacious, slightly more chilled Touring version of the new Alpina B5 that we wrote about – and mostly liked – three weeks ago. In reality, though, given that there will be no estate model offered by the factory with the new M5, this particular Alpina should provide the B5 with its USP. Or at least that’s what its makers hope will happen, even though this car costs a whopping £75,850 before you’ve added so much as a single option to its admittedly lavish standard specification.
The test car we tried was fitted with a further £11,075 of options, including £1560 worth of highly recommended limited slip diff. But the headline news is still dominated by the engine – a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 500bhp and 516lb ft – an eight-speed semi automatic gearbox, plus the fitment of a bespoke set of 20in Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres that are resolutely NOT of run flat design.
What’s it like?
To understand the B5 Touring you need to put yourself in the mindset of someone who is a) extremely wealthy, b) likes driving fast, preferably down quiet, derestricted autobahns in order to avoid having to fly, and c) also wants a quantifiably comfortable car to drive. People who buy Alpinas are not people who can’t afford a factory M car. They are people who don’t want such a manic driving experience as that offered by an M machine, but who want the same kind of straight line performance.