Those looking for a fast estate with a generous luggage compartment can choose the current Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate. There is though something more special, recently made available by Alpina.
With a top speed beyond 200 mph, the new ALPINA B5 Bi-Turbo Touring is expected to be the world’s fastest production estate. Available in the UK from £91,000 (Saloon £89,000), the B5 Bi-Turbo sets a new price point for entry to the 200 mph club.
Both cars are powered by ALPINA’s 608 hp V8, first seen in the B7 Bi-Turbo launched mid-2017, have full BMW Warranty support and are available with an almost limitless range of bespoke ALPINA interior finishes crafted at the company’s saddlery in Buchloe, Germany.
The heart of the new range is ALPINA’s substantially revised version of BMW’s 4.4 litre V8. To increase the power and torque attention has been paid to airflow optimisation, with a new wide-bore intake system providing shorter intake paths and optimised radii to allow near-instant throttle response.
The standard turbochargers have been replaced by two specially-developed, twin-scroll turbochargers located between the cylinder banks, operating in parallel to deliver up to 1.4 bar with minimum inertia. Enlarged inlet and outlet diameters further improve gas flow.
By 2,000 rpm, the ALPINA V8 is already generating 670 Nm (494 lbft) of torque, swelling to 800 Nm (590 lbft) plateau from 3,000 – 5,000 rpm.
The rear brakes are larger than the front’s because they receive less cooling air, so need a larger surface area to shed heat. The increased surface area also allows them to share more of the braking load.
The eight-speed automatic transmission also receives additional cooling, alongside a host of modifications that include strengthened gear clusters and a larger torque converter. Ratios can be swapped in just one tenth of a second. The new 205 mph B5 Bi-Turbo Saloon will hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, with the Touring just 0.1 seconds behind.
Another first for an ALPINA B5 is Active Rear Steering, which enhances steering response by turning the rear wheels up to 2.5 degrees the opposite way to the front wheels at low speeds and the same way at higher speeds. The new model also has active roll stabilisation (Dynamic Drive), which employs a new generation of high-speed electronic actuators to optimise roll stiffness, improving both dynamics and ride quality. The system is optimised to enable the very best performance from this unique chassis configuration, taking into account details such as the kinematics of the ALPINA light-weight 20” forged alloy wheels shod with specially-developed ‘ALP’ labelled Pirelli P-Zero tyres.