Spotted: Alpina B10 V8 S


Sytner Nottingham kindly agreed to lend me an example of the new Alpina V8S early in the summer of 2002. This was one of the better things that could happen to a chap in his late 20s, and I immediately set about busting the mileage limit enforced by its owners.

E39 interior in Alpina form is cossetting
E39 interior in Alpina form is cossetting
This meant taking the car straight to the South of France, on an overnight trip that would allow us to take advantage of the Alpina’s main advantage over an M5 on smooth European roads: the lack of a speed limiter. It would cruise quite happily at 150mph and, given enough space, would indicate 180mph. Looking back, it was probably the best car I’ve used for that trip because it was so calming, the cabin in the E39 was just spot-on and the driving position perfectly accommodated my simian proportions.

The V8S was quite a step over the standard V8. Alpina claimed 375hp, up from 340hp and 376lb ft over 346 for its predecessor. Running fast on an Autoroute, it felt every bit as powerful as the claims. We were tailing a very fast-moving, Swiss registered B5 RS4 when the car felt a little loose in a fast turn – it turned out to be a slow puncture. Muggins here thought that limping to the services and inflating it would do the trick. Only the tyre didn’t inflate as expected - instead it exploded as I leant in to listen for air escaping. I came to with busted ear-drums and the future Mrs. H wondering what on earth I was playing at.

4.6-litre V8 gives 375hp wallop
4.6-litre V8 gives 375hp wallop
Sourcing an Alpina-rated Michelin Pilot Sport on a car that has just been released with a new 19in rim is not easy.

We all know about the reduced spring rates and Bilstein dampers, and yes, they do make these B10s much more supple on British roads, but then the automatic gearbox felt pretty old back in 2002, so today it would seem decidedly antiquated. The car would also have been better with a mild LSD.

But for me the E39 B10 was an Alpina sweetspot. The shape lent itself so well to the Alpina body styling, wheels and reduced ride-height – especially the Touring. There’s lots to watch out for on these, and many people know all about them on the interweb, but by far my biggest gripe with running a B10 was bending wheels. I still have 6 buckled ones in the shed.

Lovely looking car, this blue one, though - all the more so for not having rear privacy glass.


ALPINA B10 V8S
Engine:
4,837cc V8
Transmission: 5-speed auto
Power (hp): 370
Torque (lb ft): 376
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 2003
Recorded mileage: 42,010
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £16,495

See the original advert here.





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Comments (81) Join the discussion on the forum

  • RoverP6B 18 Apr 2014

    B10bri said:


    Not easy to choose a replacement car but I did like the 550i manual touring that was on here a while back
    Hmm... is it just me, or do E39 Tourings look naked without roof rails? I've got so used to the look of mine with that I'd be irritated at not having them, even when I don't use 'em... would love to have a V8 Touring some day, with a manual 'box. My lowly 520i is pretty special for a glorified repmobile, though...

  • Chris944_S2 12 Feb 2013

    M666 EVO said:
    I do like these, a lot but 16k? No. It's going nowhere

    You could have my XJR for ALOT less than that and that has the same power and looks less chunky. Not as rare as the M5 though...
    M5 are common as muck compared to these. Even the B10 V8 is very common compared to the S.

    Most V8S's are north of 100,000 miles these days and have settled around the £9,000 mark. 16k for a car with only 42,000 on the clock is reasonable and will probably sell.

  • M666 EVO 11 Feb 2013

    I do like these, a lot but 16k? No. It's going nowhere

    You could have my XJR for ALOT less than that and that has the same power and looks less chunky. Not as rare as the M5 though...

  • E24man 10 Feb 2013

    charltjr said:
    The new gaskets came in from a specific engine number some time around 2001 IIRC, the same gaskets as the X5 were used from then on.
    Engine number 14500 and onwards, sometime in 2001.

  • charltjr 10 Feb 2013

    Avantus said:
    A bit after the facelift they changed to metal headgaskets. Before that you can be pretty sure
    they go pop at higher mileages.
    They gearbox is also a point of attention. They are sealed units, so they can not be rebuilt and only replaced
    by a complete Alpina switchtronic gearbox.
    The earlier head gaskets on the V8 are more likely to fail, yes, but I would be pretty confident in saying that if they've not gone by now they're likely to be ok, the affected cars are all over 12 years old by now. The new gaskets came in from a specific engine number some time around 2001 IIRC, the same gaskets as the X5 were used from then on.

    Not true about the gearbox, it's a ZF unit which very similar to the 540 box, different torque converter and ECU are the main differences. It can be rebuilt and although it's designed to be "sealed for life" many owners do have the gearbox oil changed.

    Completely in agreement about the noise, it's just glorious.

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