2022 BMW Alpina B8: an iron fist in a velvet glove

The German manufacturer Alpina Automobiles, or Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH for friends, has mastered the art of designing and building more advanced variants of BMW models.

With the new B8 Gran Coupé, based on a BMW M850i ​​Gran Coupé, the famous German brand offers both a variant that is more focused on comfort and more discreet in terms of looks than an M8 Gran Coupé, without however neglect performance.

The exclusivity card

Alpina plays the exclusivity card with two colors specific to its models, Alpina Blue Metallic and Alpina Green Metallic, which adorn our test car. Compared to the M8, the B8 is also distinguished by its special air intakes at the front, its shield with the Alpina logo, its 21-inch forged rims with 20 spokes typical of the brand since 1971, its painted Brembo brake callipers in blue and its quadruple exhaust nozzles.

Photo: BMW AG

At first glance, the Alpina B8 is a little more sober than a BMW M8, which displays its unrestrained sportiness. The only BMW identifications present on the bodywork are the two Roundel on the bonnet and the trunk, and it is the same scenario in the passenger compartment where it is the Alpina logo which adorns the steering wheel and the rotary wheel of the iDrive telematics system, in addition to appearing on a plate affixed to the console central.

The modifications made by Alpina are not only aesthetic, far from it. Engine, gearbox, exhaust and ground connections have been reviewed by the engineers of this small manufacturer which has less than 300 employees.

Photo: BMW AG

Thus, the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 develops 612 horsepower, just five less than a BMW M8. However, torque is up to 590 lb-ft, up 37. In addition, maximum torque is available from 2,000 rpm, and all-wheel drive ensures optimal traction in all circumstances. All this means that the Alpina B8 demonstrates disconcerting fluidity, whether in town or on secondary roads.

The engineers have also revised the calibrations of the eight-speed gearbox from the equipment manufacturer ZF to make gear changes barely perceptible. In short, regarding performance, the Alpina B8 is imperial, and its ride is even more flexible and fluid than that of an M8.

An absolutely brilliant suspension

The ace up the sleeve of this B8, and also of all Alpina’s creations, is the road handling which ensures excellent dynamics without sacrificing comfort. Compared to BMW’s M cars, the Alpina achieves the feat of offering class-leading handling and improved comfort, which makes driving much more enjoyable when Comfort Plus mode is selected.

From this side, the B8 greatly impresses and is distinguished by its great homogeneity, the active four-wheel steering working in concert with the limited-slip differential and the active suspension to guarantee absolutely exemplary behavior. A real charm.

However, a few downsides can be noted. The sound of the twin-turbo V8 is not as present as one would like in Sport mode and the very high weight of the Alpina B8 obviously does not help to reduce gas consumption, especially when exploiting so much little is its delirious performance potential.

Photo: BMW AG

The BMW Alpina B8 starts at $159,900, and the bill for our tester was $176,650 due to the addition of a few options. Among the number, note the advanced driver assistance systems package ($2,500), the Merino leather interior ($4,500), as well as the Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Audio system ($4,900). , among others. If you think it’s almost indecent to charge for options on a car with a base price of around $160,000, welcome to the club!

After the B7 sedan and the XB7 SUV already marketed here, the B8 allows Alpina to complete its offer with this coupe-like sedan aimed at a clientele of connoisseurs and which has an exclusive cachet. Indeed, it is very rare to come across an Alpina on the road, the brand only producing around 1,700 vehicles per year for the world market.

As such, we can rightly claim that an Alpina becomes almost more exclusive than a Ferrari! So if you spot one in the automotive landscape, rush to the convenience store and say, like in the TV commercial, “I’ll get you a 6/49!” “.

In video: our test of the BMW i4 2022


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