All Alpinas are very special cars, for those that hadn’t noticed already, but best of the best status tends to go to the limited-edition models. Cars like the B3 GT3 and B4 Edition 99 really have been among the finest BMW-based fast cars in recent memory. So there are pretty high hopes for this, the B5 GT. (Quite the week for BMW Tourings, it seems.)
Described by the Bovensiepens of Buchloe as ‘the pinnacle of the BMW 5 Series at Alpina’, the GT aims to bring together ‘a nuanced, distinct appearance with the most powerful, high-performance drivetrain in the company’s history.’ To that end, the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from the standard B5 gets modifications to the intake, ECU and a bit more boost, for 634hp and 627lb ft. Which is quite a lot, and interestingly only a solitary horsepower less than the BMW M5 CS, which remains the most powerful BMW ever until the plug in XM arrives. BMW lets Alpina do a lot, though it was probably never going to permit a more powerful 5 Series than M makes itself. Still, with 0-62mph taking just 3.4 seconds (3.6 for the Touring), a top speed of more than 200mph in both models and a new middle silencer for a ‘throaty eight-cylinder sound’, nobody is likely to complain.
Given how good the B5 is as standard, it's no shock to learn that the updates for the GT are relatively minor. There’s a new front bulkhead strut, reinforcing the front end for better steering feedback; the rear ride height is ever so lightly lower, too (Alpina hasn’t said by exactly how much), which lowers the centre of gravity for ‘optimised roll support on the rear axle’. Brembo brakes are 395mm at the front and 398mm at the rear, though that sounds familiar from the standard B5. The discs are said to be lighter with ‘highly heat resistant’ pads, which will be handy if anyone pulls out on the outside lane of the autobahn. Or the M40, as it’s otherwise known.
Marking out the GT is another take on the Alpina classic wheel, here 20-inch with 20 spokes, painted Marron Volciano and with ‘B5 GT’ lettering. There are some stunning colour options, too, included alongside the traditional Alpina Blue and Alpina Green. Buyers will be offered Arctic Race Blue, Petrol Mica, British Racing Green, Chalk, Imola Red and even Daytona Violet, harking back to the E34 M5 Touring. The Alpina deco set can also be had in Marron Volciano, exclusive to the GT, as well as Blue Matt or Green Matt.
The interior hasn’t changed much, again because a B5 is pretty hard to improve on. As with the outside, the palette of colours available is even wider than ever; whichever upholstery you go for, ‘B5 GT’ is embroidered on the headrests in - you guessed it - Marron Volciano with a white outline. There are a few badges marking this out as not just any old Alpina, special floor mats and some extra equipment over a B5, including a heated wheel and Harman Kardon stereo.
Alpina has confirmed it will make just 250 B5 GTs, split across both saloon and Touring models though without a fixed divide announced. Given the fondness for Alpina wagons over here at least, it would be amazing to find the four-door proving more popular. Especially as the Touring, by German prices, is just €3,000 more, at €148,500 - or £130k. Probably not much more than people want for M3 Tourings. Deliveries are set to start in July.
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