The BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé at a glance
The Alpina B8 faces tough competition
The competitors are Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door and Bentley Continental. If you compare the prices – and performance data – the book loer is still expensive, but the competition is not cheaper. But money only plays a subordinate role at the upper end of the automotive hierarchy. It’s about status, luxury and a powerful powertrain. Also and especially in the age of burgeoning electromobility.
And truly, the Alpina has a lot of horsepower to offer. 457 kW / 621 PS from a 4.4 liter V8 biturbo (combined fuel consumption: 11.1 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 254 g / km²) remain an announcement. Based on the BMW M850i xDrive (combined fuel consumption: 10.2-10.1 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 234-232 g / km²), the team around company boss Andreas Bovensiepen has implemented and implemented its very own idea of a Gran Coupé shows that sporty and comfortable demands can very well be reconciled.
The dynamic sides of the B8 Gran Coupé
My test laps literally start on the Salzburgring, where the B8 Gran Coupé first wants to prove that you can chase a 5.07 meter long touring sedan impressively across a racetrack. Yes, the dynamic performance is indeed impressive for a dead weight of a good 2.3 tonnes when ready to drive. No, the book lover cannot and does not want to achieve excessively ambitious personal bests with it. Ultimately, it is also important to maintain the respectful distance to the BMW M8 Gran Coupé (combined fuel consumption: 11.3 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 260 g / km²).
A very neutral driving behavior for a long time is interrupted at most at the corner exit by a short tail swing, otherwise the B8 endures the tire-wrecking spectacle with composure. The pounds of prosperity weigh heavily on the specially developed Pirelli P Zeros in 21-inch format, remain clearly noticeable on the brakes and in the steering, but hardly interest the extra-cooled V8 biturbo in the front. The full torque of 800 Newton meters is already available from 2,000 rpm, and the maximum output of 621 hp is achieved from a good 5,500 rpm.
A lot of technology helps a lot
The power is sorted by an eight-speed automatic converter, which has been adapted to the increased requirements in cooperation with ZF, has an aluminum transmission oil pan and normally goes to work almost imperceptibly. The lightning-fast gear changes can only be felt more clearly in sport mode. So that nothing burns up when it comes to traction, the B8 Gran Coupé has a performance-oriented all-wheel drive with an additionally reinforced cardan shaft.
Equipped in this way, the Alpina sprints from standstill to 100 km / h in just 3.4 seconds and also overtakes the Garching stepbrothers at the top. Because 324 km / h cannot be achieved with a factory 8 Series, not even with the M Drivers Package. You should of course refrain from such barriers off the racetrack in Austria and so it is the comfortable attributes that you can experience on the B8 on the overland trip in the Salzburg region.
Made for long (motorway) journeys
Commodity sprung like a B7, sporty like a B5 – the truth of the B8 lies somewhere in between. Without air suspension, the Alpina-specifically tuned adaptive chassis with active roll stabilization must meet the high expectations. I was definitely not disappointed. Compared to the recently driven Bentley Continental, the B8 rolls over transverse grooves or broken roots, which may also be due to the lack of 22-inch wheels. We also like the low level of noise in the interior of the Alpina, which in sport mode is only interrupted by the sonorous hammering of the eight-cylinder.
The interior is so quiet as a whisper that the seat ventilation, similar to a roaring radio station, pushes unpleasantly into the foreground. The interior already lavishly equipped by BMW can still be covered with high-quality Lavalina at Alpina. The gear selector lever, which comes with a glass look as standard, would have better deserved a leather skin, as it dazzles the driver considerably in direct sunlight. The fact that all those well-functioning assistance systems of the normal 8 Series are also available for the B8 Gran Coupé should remain a side note in this test. After all, you want to drive such a car yourself.
Very good driving performance, one for weight and dimensions, remarkable agility on the racetrack and high suspension comfort make the BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé the first choice for ambitious long-distance drivers. The 621 PS strong V8 biturbo is a source of driving pleasure, the interior quality is at a decidedly high level. The fact that you sit rather modestly in the second row of seats should be of little interest. (Text: Thomas Vogelhuber | Pictures: Manufacturer)