Alpina B5 arrives in the UK for 2018

The appearance of the Alpina B5 in our most read road tests of 2017 initially came as something of a surprise, though in hindsight perhaps it shouldn't have. PH loves a fast estate, and the B5 Touring - with a top speed of 202mph - is the fastest production estate in the world. PH also loves a V8, and both Alpinas feature two turbos in addition to an octet of cylinders. That in addition to the fact that PH is fond of BMWs and, while Alpina is a discrete manufacturer, there's a very close relationship with the parent company. It even gets BMW-approved warranties.

Excitingly, UK deliveries of the B5 have now begun. And with nothing new to report on the car, it proffers the perfect opportunity to ponder just what you might do with £90,000 to spend on a super saloon or estate. After all, you're not short of alternatives at the moment...

A Mercedes-AMG E63 would seem like the obvious choice, available as an S variant (because that has the Drift Mode) for £88,490 in four-door form or £90,490 as a wagon. And it has more power than the Alpina. Plus the Drift Mode.

Closer competition comes from the new BMW M5, just £640 more than the Alpina saloon at £89,640. It too boasts a fancier four-wheel drive system than the Alpina, but lacks the niche appeal of the Buchloe bruiser. When was the last time you were carved up or tailgated by an Alpina driver? Exactly.

For better or worse, the latest M5 is unlikely to be produced as a Touring, which means that, as well as the E63, the Alpina Touring lines up squarely against the Audi RS6 for uberwagon supremacy. An RS6 Performance may be an older design than the rest, but it still packs 605hp and a devilishly good soundtrack. Officially it costs £88,345, though deals must surely be easier to come by than with the others.

There's more too, if you're willing to think a little differently. A Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo isn't going to match the B5 Bi-Turbo for outright performance, though it has a lot going for it in terms of desirability and dynamics. A 440hp Panamera 4S Sport Turismo is £93,979. For a saloon-only alternative, the recently launched XJR 575 gets closest to the Alpina's incredible top speed (the Jaguar will do 186mph) and costs £93,710. We probably should entertain the SUV option too, with a £90,280, 525hp Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic yet another fast way to ferry the family about.

A fortunate few look spoilt for choice then, should the B5's compelling blend of performance, luxury, excitement and rarity not quite cut it. That's before you consider the used alternatives, too. Yes, yes, it's not a fair argument, but this is PH and it's hard to resist. There's everything from a Dodge Charger Hellcat to a Tesla Model X available with very few miles, yet there remains the sneaking suspicion that the Alpina might be the very best way to do swift, subtle and spacious. Or is there another option? Over to you...



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Comments (45) Join the discussion on the forum

  • rare6499 03 Jan 2018

    I would take a beautifully specified saloon over an M5. It’s just so much more understated, classy and plain cool.

  • kambites 03 Jan 2018

    Shame the couldn't make the interior a bit less... BMW but I suppose that'd be too expensive to change it significantly.

  • xjay1337 03 Jan 2018

    I like this a lot!

  • Twoshoe 03 Jan 2018

    I'm sure it'll be brilliant, but obviously not quite as good/fast/whatever as a remapped Golf R estate, yawn, waffle, drone...

    Edited by Twoshoe on Wednesday 3rd January 17:13

  • Olf 03 Jan 2018

    See autotrader. Sytners have a green touring for 108k.

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