PistonHeads.com Forum

RE: Driven: Alpina D5 Biturbo

RE: Driven: Alpina D5 Biturbo

Wednesday 4th April 2012

Driven: Alpina D5 Biturbo

Alpina's unique take on the fast diesel BMW theme proves enthralling, reckons Riggers



A large turbodiesel, it's fair to say, is never going to truly replicate the qualities of a high-performance petrol engine: a wide, linear power band and sharp throttle response really are the preserve of motors that run on unleaded.


Turbodiesels do have their own subtle charms to make up for it, though, a fat dollop of low-down torque and a very light thirst being chief among them. Which is why diesel power suits Alpina's latest take on a fast BMW so well.

Buchloe-fettled cars have always been a more relaxed, less hyperactive proposition than their BMW cousins, so the choice of 3.0-litre twin- turbo diesel for Alpina's latest offering, the D5 Biturbo, seems entirely apt.

535d, and then some
Based on the 313hp, 464lb ft 535d, the new D5 brings an extra 37hp and 52lb ft of torque to the party, and yet somehow managing to post mpg figures and emissions that are identical to the far more humble 530d.


But it's not just bald statistics that this motor has going for it. Straight-six BMW diesels have long been the closest oil-burners have got to satisfying committed petrol fans, and Alpina pushes even closer to mimicking petrol engine behaviour, with its genuinely revvy nature and almost-actually-pleasant six-cylinder gurgle. Okay, it's not going to give you goosebumps in the way the best petrol engines do, but it really is a lovely engine.

Ask for a bit of acceleration and, after a pause to allow the turbos to spool up, the D5 fairly leaps down the road, allowing you to ride the fat torque curve and pile on speed at quite rate. OK, so it's not M5-explosive, but it is darn fast, and although it will rev out to 5,000 rpm or so, you really don't need to do so to make vigorous progress. Mind you, if you start plumbing the depths of that torque on a regular basis it will start to hurt the fuel economy quite heavily. But it's just so satisfying... particularly in combination with the Alpina-tuned 8-speed ZF Switchtronic transmission


Get the look
The D5 is more than just a tweaked turbodiesel, however. The Alpina styling tweaks to the F10 5 Series (skirts, rear spoiler, 'those' wheels, front bumper, decals, and as much or as little bespoke interior work as your wallet can manage) might be an acquired taste, but I guarantee Alpina's work to the chassis will be of more universal appeal.

Put simply, the D5 manages to work with the UK's pockmarked road network better than any current BMW. It's more fluid, more controlled and a more involving steer. It works with the road rather than despite it. This can be partly accounted for by the fitment of non run-flat tyres, but the work done to the electronic dampers must surely take most of the credit. Provided you don't put them in too soft a setting, that is - Comfort and Comfort Plus are just a bit too 'floaty'.


That balance of comfort and control in the suspension also works wonders with the steering. It seems more faithful to your inputs and communicates more effectively what's going on with the car and the road than any BMW wheel, though admittedly in this case that might also be to do with the absence of the irritatingly chubby, squidgy rims that BMW insist on fitting to its more sporty models.

That 5 Series size issue again...
It's not all good news, of course. On smaller British roads the F10 body shape still feels half a size too large (whether it actually is or not is kind of a moot point; it feels as though it is), and that engine does lack the precision and zing that the true petrolhead will crave.

In comparison with BMW's new and super-tricksy tri-turbo diesel, the D5 also seems a teensy-bit lo-fi. Then again, BMW isn't bringing the M550d to the UK (more on this on the blog), leaving us only the unlovely X6 and chunky X5 with which to sample its new engine. Which gives the D5 the super-fast diesel BMW market pretty much all to itself.


In fact, there's precious little marketplace competition for it from beyond BMW, too. Given such a monopoly, you might think Alpina would naturally go in for the kill, price-wise, with no downward pressure on its pricing. And yet Alpina only wants to charge £55,950 for the privilege. That makes it only £8K or so more than a 535d M Sport.

Worth every penny? Depends whether or not you can stomach a diesel. If you can, we reckon the Alpina D5 is an absolute gem, a car that, even if it did have a rival, it would be hard to imagine it being anything other than the top of its class...


ALPINA D5 BITURBO
Engine:
2,993cc straight-six, twin-turbo
Transmission:8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp):350@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft):516@1,500-3,000rpm
0-62mph: 5.1 sec
Top speed: 171mph
Weight: 1,865kg
MPG: 47.9mpg (combined)
CO2: 155g/km
Price: £55,950 (£63,410 as tested)



   
Author
Discussion

Wills2

Original Poster:

13,689 posts

98 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all

Lovely thing, I agree on the size issue my F10 feels far too big on the road.

Liquid Tuna

1,379 posts

79 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
"And yet Alpina only wants to charge £55,950 for the privilege".

Bargain rolleyes

Riggers

1,851 posts

101 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Liquid Tuna said:
"And yet Alpina only wants to charge £55,950 for the privilege".

Bargain rolleyes
Audi A8 3.0 TDI Quattro: £56,610
BMW M5: £73,040
Top-spec Jaguar XF diesel S: £49,100

Stand by my comment smile

wainy

758 posts

166 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Liquid Tuna said:
"And yet Alpina only wants to charge £55,950 for the privilege".

Bargain rolleyes
£63k as tested

Depends on the extras - what is the spec compared to the 535d?

RichTBiscuit

403 posts

74 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Lovely thing.

How was the test MPG? I'm thinking you'd only buy one of these if you had loads of miles to do, so real world MPG will be important. If you only do 10k a year i'd defaintely have a petrol smile
Advertisement

johnnybegood

149 posts

83 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Riggers said:
Audi A8 3.0 TDI Quattro: £56,610
BMW M5: £73,040
Top-spec Jaguar XF diesel S: £49,100

Stand by my comment smile
you have quoted the price of a car above class.
A completely different car M5 is a petrol
The XF is the only car that I would say is a direct competitor so no you shouldn't really stand by your comment

RichTBiscuit

403 posts

74 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Liquid Tuna said:
"And yet Alpina only wants to charge £55,950 for the privilege".

Bargain rolleyes
Rigger's comment is bang on. It's only 8k more than a boggo 535d Msport and considering the work that goes into each Alpina, I think that's not bad at all.

Wills2

Original Poster:

13,689 posts

98 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
wainy said:
Liquid Tuna said:
"And yet Alpina only wants to charge £55,950 for the privilege".

Bargain rolleyes
£63k as tested

Depends on the extras - what is the spec compared to the 535d?
Spec wise it's pretty similiar to the 535d i.e you have to pay for nav, comfort seats, nappa leather fancy pants trim etc...

As a for instance the comfort seats and nappa leather as on test car add 3.5k, if you want to push the boat out and get Lavalina and comfort seats it's nearly 6k alone.



Edited by Wills2 on Wednesday 4th April 15:39

Riggers

1,851 posts

101 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
johnnybegood said:
Riggers said:
Audi A8 3.0 TDI Quattro: £56,610
BMW M5: £73,040
Top-spec Jaguar XF diesel S: £49,100

Stand by my comment smile
you have quoted the price of a car above class.
A completely different car M5 is a petrol
The XF is the only car that I would say is a direct competitor so no you shouldn't really stand by your comment
Read my piece again and you'll see that I'm suggesting that there is no direct competitor for the D5. Which is why I picked those three.

M5 is maybe the closest BMW in spirit, A8 is from the class above, sure, but is only a V6 and is way down on power. And the XF is down on power but is at least cheaper... smile

heihei

54 posts

118 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Can't wait till my Touring arrives next month!!

edo

16,382 posts

188 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Nice

Just find the Alpina styling rather fussy - dont like the front bumper design they always do.

Gorbyrev

999 posts

77 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Thanks Riggers - much want! Thing is that this kind of performance will filter down to lesser beasts. Alpina occupy a special place all of their own and considering it is a custom spec 5 series the prices seems very fair. The in gear figures for this must be astonishing (if the 8 speed lets you hang on), this will be an overtaking monster!

Vladimir

6,917 posts

81 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
I like that a lot.

Possible next car in Touring form.

The Spruce goose

13,397 posts

118 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Do they do it in AWD like the other cars?

Zyp

9,829 posts

112 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
I've been in that actual car.

It really is bloody fantastic.


blearyeyedboy

4,266 posts

102 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Great. Now Alpina, get cracking on a D3 version for the F30 3 series for those of us who really need something smaller. smile

Zyp

9,829 posts

112 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
blearyeyedboy said:
Great. Now Alpina, get cracking on a D3 version for the F30 3 series for those of us who really need something smaller. smile
With the D5 engine.

Oh, yes.....

gavinhowe

29 posts

67 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
I looked at the price compared with the 535d and there are a few items included in the D5 which are extra on the 535 such as metallic paint and Xenons I think. However, the main value for me comes from the suspension, the gearbox settings, the 760L brakes and the easy breathing free revving diesel. I am always biased towards car makers who like to drive their cars (I have a 997C2 and a Caterham CSR 260) . You know that for these people who are enthusiasts and who drive many miles in testing, that an okay setup is not going to be good enough. That's why I have ordered a D5 for September. I notice that the price has already gone up by £1,000 too! Gavin

blearyeyedboy

4,266 posts

102 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
Zyp said:
With the D5 engine.

Oh, yes.....
yes

Liquid Knight

14,620 posts

106 months

Wednesday 4th April 2012
quotequote all
I thought Alpina made drivers cars not dla ones. frown

Is a manual gear box an option or is having both legs in full working order make me a minority these days? rolleyes