Alpina blows out 50 candles with new BMW B5 and B6 Bi-Turbo

Published: 26 March 2015

► Alpina B5 and B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50
► Revealed for Alpina’s 50th birthday
► 204mph, nearly 600 horsepower!

Well, how else would Alpina celebrate half a century of making BMWs go faster? The German tuners have announced a limited edition run of just 50 go-faster 5-series and 50 6-series coupes to mark its 50th birthday.

As you might expect, the B5 and B6 Bi-Turbo models will be the most powerful road cars Alpina has ever made, with a top speed of 204mph.

Alpina: from 3.0 CSL to B5 Bi-Turbo

The tuner has a longstanding relationship with BMW, stretching all the way back to the renowned 3.0 CSL. Unlike AMG, it remains a fully independent business however.

The new Edition 50 anniversary models have hand-crafted bodywork changes and a heavily breathed-over 4.4-litre V8, tuned to develop a stonking 592bhp and 590lb ft of thrust.

Which neatly explains why this duo is capable of scampering from 0-62mph in just 4.2sec.

All that power is liberated by a pair of new, Alpina’s own turbos blowing at up to 1.2 bar. The engine’s breathing apparatus is heavily revised, too, and there are three intercoolers onboard to chill the air before it’s squeezed into the eight cylinders by new, lightweight pistons. That 592bhp total is 60bhp up on the regular B5 Bi-Turbo.

A 592bhp 5-series? Nice!

Yes, this is a very special kind of Five (or Six), and more powerful even than BMW’s own M5. Exactly the same as the 30 Jahre version served up for M division’s own anniversary, in fact…

As usual with Alpina’s tricked-up BMWs, these ones are incredibly frugal, as well as flighty. Combined economy of 29.7mpg and 221g/km of CO2 are claimed. 

Lightweight 20in alloys trim 16 kilos, the exhaust saves 17kg… And there are cosmetic changes aplenty to alert the cognoscenti that you’re in a special kind of tuned BMW.

The Alpina back story

The original Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen KG was established on 1 January 1965 in Kaufbeuren, Germany and it’s been busy fettling road and race BMWs ever since. Derek Bell, James Hunt, Jacky Ickx, Niki Lauda, Brian Muir and Hans Stuck have all raced for Alpina over the years. 

Today the company focuses mostly on roadgoing BMW conversions and in 2014 Alpina built 1700 cars – a new record. It says it is unlikely to expand further. 

‘Alpina is a company that creates subtly stylish, very high-performance cars that can be tailored to each customer’s personal requirements, yet offer the long-term comfort and durability required for daily use,’ said CEO Andreas Bovensiepen, son of the company’s founder Burkard Bovensiepen. 

‘We have a unique philosophy and a commitment to engineering excellence that we intend to maintain and build on across the next 50 years.’

Amen to that. Happy birthday to all from CAR magazine!

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet