Alpina colada: 2018 D5 diesel breaks cover

Published: 12 September 2017

► New diesel-engined range launched
► Second 5-series-based model of 2017
More on this year’s Frankfurt motor show 

As is customary with Alpina, new models emerge from Buchloe in the months following the debuts of the BMW originals, and so it is with the new D5 Saloon and Touring.

No need for any Poirot-esque investigative skills here: as the name implies, these are diesel-drinking versions of Alpina’s 5-series alternatives.

Hit me with the numbers

Petrol-engined versions – the B5 range – arrived earlier in 2017, but the diesels are expected to take a greater share of the high-performance executive’s sales, promising prodigious performance with more reasonable running costs.

Power from the six-cylinder, 3.0-litre diesel is quoted at 322bhp, with peak torque of 516lb ft available in a relatively narrow band between 1750-2500rpm.

Officially that’s sufficient for a 4.9-second 0-62mph time and an unrestricted 171mph top speed for the D5 Saloon.

Those numbers sound expensive to run…

Drive any high-performance car with vim and vigour and inevitably it’ll guzzle like fossil fuels are going out of fashion, but within the more serene environment of an EU driving cycle test, the latest B5 has an average consumption of 46.3mpg. A real-world 35mpg shouldn’t be an unreasonable expectation.

Emissions are quoted at a 161g/km in D5 Saloon guise, so not too eye-watering either.

Power is sent to all four of the D5’s wheels for increased traction with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission as a conduit.

So why have the Alpina over a regular 5-series?

‘Getting’ what Alpina’s all about is part of its rather leftfield, exclusive appeal. If it’s not your thing it’s easy to dismiss it as yet another aftermarket BMW tuning outfit.

Alpina’s arrangement with BMW is much more involved than that, taking bodies-in-white from the production line and fettling them at its own facilities.

While we’ve not yet driven the latest incarnation of the D5, the marque’s form suggests that it will not only be faster than any of BMW’s current diesel 5-series models, but also handle with a sportier ethos, yet feel even more luxurious inside, with a greater application of hide and the trademark green and blue stitching.

Those complex side stripes famous from Alpinas of yore are optionally available, with the classic multi-spoked alloys remain an ever-present brand beacon.

Prices for the UK have yet to be confirmed, but as a guide, the D5 Saloon starts at just under €88,000 (equivilent to £79,365) in Germany, before the vast array of extra-cost option boxes are ticked.

By Keith WR Jones

Managing editor of the Bauer Automotive hub and car brochure library owner