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BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo Touring (2011): first pictures

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 00:00:00 -0800

Alpina has released first details of the estate edition of its 5-series based B5 Bi-Turbo. The wannabe M5 Touring car will be officially unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show next week.

Alpina has been tuning BMWs for more than 40 years with the factory's blessing and increasingly close collaboration. Presaging the recent move by BMW M to forced-induction engines, Alpina first turbocharged the 5-series when they launched the B10 Bi-Turbo of 1989.

The current B5 Bi-Turbo sedan was released in 2010. With BMW switching to V8 turbo power for the new 2012 M5, the factory and Alpina will be more closely matched than ever. 

Outside it's Alpina's house style: multi-spoke alloy wheels (20-inch versions here riding on Michelin Pilot Sport rubber), a deeper front spoiler and optional Alpina body striping.

Alpina fits two turbochargers to BMW's 4.4-litre V8 engine, ramping up power to a nice round 500bhp and 516lb ft of torque. Coupled to an eight-speed ZF transmission with Alpina's wheel-mounted Switchtronic shift control, the B5 is capable of 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 188mph. Rapid indeed, and in bespoke leather and wood-trimmed comfort.  

Those specs match closely with the AMG E63 estate (518bhp, 464lb ft, 4.6sec 0-62mph, 186mph top speed if delimited), but Alpina counters with cleaner CO2 (255g/km plays 299g/km in the AMG) and better economy (25.9mpg vs 22.1mpg in the Mercedes).

But the E-Class wins the loadbay war with 695 litres of cargo volume stretching to 1950 litres with the seats dropped. The B5 Touring manages 560 and 1670 litres respectively. 

More details of the BMW Alpina B5 Bi-turbo estate will be released at the 2011 Geneva motor show.

By Mark Hamilton