German tuner Alpina has recently revealed that it will be fully integrated into BMW by 2025. As a farewell gesture, Alpina is introducing the limited-edition Alpina B5 GT, which will be available for sale in Europe and Asia but unfortunately not in the U.S. This model marks the final version of Alpina’s 5-series lineup.
It’s important to note that Alpina’s relationship with BMW goes beyond that of a typical tuner. Although Alpina is a separate company registered as an independent automaker in Germany, it has collaborated closely with BMW on various projects. This collaboration includes the creation of high-performance versions like the XB7 based on the X7, participation in race programs, and contract engineering work for BMW. This close partnership has allowed Alpina early access to new models, enabling them to develop their own unique variants.
Throughout its history, Alpina has crafted many renowned models based on the 5-series, although most of them have not been available in the U.S., where Alpina has primarily imported its larger and more luxurious models. The legacy began in 1978 with the E12-generation B7 Turbo, featuring a turbocharged version of BMW’s 3.0-liter straight six and achieving a top speed of 155 mph. Over the years, Alpina introduced faster versions, with the E34-based B10 Bi-Turbo reaching 180 mph and the B5 GT surpassing that with a top speed of 205 mph.
The Alpina B5 GT, an evolution of the B5 launched in 2018, is based on the M550i and shares the same N63-generation twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with the M5’s S63. It boasts more power than the regular B5 or standard M5, with its peak output of 625 horsepower and an impressive 627 pound-feet of torque, surpassing the M5 in the latter category. The GT also features a center exhaust section, offering a more muscular tone.
Differences between the GT and the regular B5 include a new reinforcement piece on the front bulkhead to improve steering precision, stiffer bump-stop rubbers, and new brake pads. The GT also comes equipped with bespoke Pirelli P Zero tires developed specifically for Alpina and the brand’s signature 20-spoke alloys with an optional bronze-gold finish. Additionally, the GT features “dive plane” wings on the sides of the front bumper for improved high-speed stability.
The Alpina B5 GT is offered in both sedan and Touring station wagon versions, with a limited production run of 180 Tourings and 70 sedans. Despite a starting price of $137,500 in Germany, all units are already sold-out.
Although we had the opportunity to experience the B5 GT on the Zandvoort racetrack in the Netherlands, it’s important to note that the Alpina’s character differs significantly from that of the BMW M5. The B5 GT is focused on low-down muscle, with peak torque arriving at 3500 rpm, offering strong performance even in tight corners. Its softer chassis settings, compared to the M5, manage to keep body roll in check while still providing crisp and natural steering.
Alpina’s decision to sell the family-owned brand to BMW was driven by the understanding that third-party tuners won’t be able to significantly enhance the performance of electric vehicles (EVs). While Alpina’s Classic division will continue its operations, the Alpina B5 GT will be cherished as one of the brand’s greatest hits and the last of its line.
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