Alpina has finally graced the world with a handful of images and all of the gritty details about the all-new 2011 B5 Bi-Turbo after its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The company has managed to bless the BMW 5 Series with a mythic 507 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. How, you ask? The B5 makes use of the same twin-turbo, all aluminum V8 found in the car's big brother, the B7. That means that there's a full 4.4-liters of displacement sucking down 1 bar of pressure for the two turbos under the hood. Sounds like a party.
The eight-pot is bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission that Alpina co-developed with the gear-swapping gurus at ZF. If the mood strikes you, the driver can click through the gears via buttons mounted on the back side of the steering wheel, though given the massive amount of work Alpina put into the transmission, odds are you're better off letting the car do the work for you.
There's also a completely reworked suspension on board that includes slightly shorter springs and unique control arms that help eek a little more camber out of the front wheels. Combined with the electronically adjustable suspension, the company claims to provide an altogether sharper driving experience. Speaking of wheels, Alpina has equipped the B5 Bi-Turbo with a set of the company's epic 20-inch rollers. Check out the gallery of high-res images below and then click past the jump for the granddaddy of a press blast.
THE POWERTRAIN – First Class In Both Performance And Economy
First introduced in the BMW ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo, the all-aluminium V8 powerplant endows the new B5 Bi-Turbo with sensational pace. It achieves 507 horsepower (373 kW) at a moderate 5,500rpm, with maximum torque of 700Nm from 3,000 to 4,750rpm. The "Bi-Turbo" appellation refers to the two turbochargers comfortably nestled inside the V shaped 8 cylinder block. They work in parallel, each feeding one of the two cylinder banks. Specially developed for ALPINA in partnership with Honeywell-Garrett, the bespoke exhaust turbines are generously dimensioned. Compared to its super-charged predecessor, this engine configuration delivers more torque over a broader rev range and improves throttle response at low revs.
To fully leverage the potential of the engine, ALPINA have optimised the indirect inter-cooling system (air-to-water / water-to-air) with short intake tracts and increased inter-cooler flow. The high-performance cooling package gains its thermo-dynamic efficiency through the use of a large-volume low-temperature
inter-cooler, as well as two water-to-air inter-coolers placed close to the engine. The pistons are a high-performance variant developed together with Mahle to deal with the extreme temperatures and pressures associated with up to 1.0 bar charging and the engine's 9.2:1 nominal compression ratio. Altogether this results in an impressive specific output of 115.3 horsepower (85kW) per litre and a mean total compression of 20.1 bar. Direct injection and Double-VANOS contribute to the B5 Bi-Turbo's class-leading performance in terms of emissions and economy in the super saloon segment: 10.8 l/100km (26.2 Imp. mpg) and 252g/km CO2 (Combined as per the ECE Norm).
TRANSMISSION – The Eight-Speed All-Rounder
Adapted and tested in cooperation with ZF, the advanced SWITCH-TRONIC 8-speed sport automatic transmission sets a new benchmark. With ALPINA's philosophy the guiding credo, our engineers have spent thousands of development and test hours ensuring that no other performance automatic transmission
comes close to providing this level of both comfort and sportiness. The blend of eight speeds and plenty of torque makes for unparalleled comfortable gear changes with no noticeable interruption to the delivery of power – only the accompanying acoustics and the dynamic rev counter provide feedback as to the workings of the transmission. The 700Nm of torque means the B5 Bi-Turbo excels at gliding along at low speeds in a high gear with minimum revs, benefiting both consumption and comfort. In Sport mode a completely different character emerges: the transmission is crisp and unmistakably immediate. The innovative single-cylinder step-down (EZA), specially developed by ALPINA for the B5 Bi-Turbo allows for super quick up-shifts in just milliseconds, in spite of the high torque.
Depending on the load onthe transmission, the injection of fuel into a given cylinder is interrupted for a fraction of a second, creating the required reduction in torque that the automatic transmission needs for the up-shift. The advantage versus the typical timing retardation are noticeably quicker shifts, and improved thermo-dynamic efficiency due to reduced exhaust temperatures as well as lower fuel consumption. The single-cylinder step-down (EZA) is accompanied by a tone nothing short of spectacular, as each shift harbours a deeply sonorous back-pressure burble.
The Manual mode gives the driver full control over every shift. The SWITCH-TRONIC buttons are ergonomically and aesthetically positioned on the back side of the steering wheel, and can be used by the driver in whatever manner he or she wishes, based on traffic and the roadway at hand. The system also allows for multi-simultaneous down-shifts in fractions of a second, hereby the transmission will skip several gears depending on accelerator loads and revs. In this manner the 8-speed sport automatic transmission with ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC reveals itself to be multi-faceted and able to provide the proper shift characteristic for any and all situations.
The intelligent coupling of state-of-the-art engine and transmission technologies give the B5 Bi-Turbo strong performance figures: just 4.7 seconds to 62mph (100km/h) are needed, on the way up to a top speed of 191mph (307km/h). Even if the driver is seldom in such a rush: massive braking capability in the form of ventilated high-performance brakes (front: 374mm/14.7in; rear 370mm/14.6in)
ensures braking on par with pure-bred sports cars.
SUSPENSION – Excitingly Sporty, Relaxingly Comfortable
The times when "properly stiff" suspensions were seen as a positive handling characteristic are long gone. It remains a fact that a truly neutral set-up, even at the limit, provides the best technical compromise. This is achieved in part through shorter yet very progressive springs and special suspension arms, which in
combination results in more camber on the front track. Together with 20" wheels and tyres, ALPINA have achieved a very balanced and direct chassis set-up, discarding a pure sport-orientated approach for an agile suspension with precise turn-in. The new light-weight 20" ALPINA CLASSIC are shod with the most advanced high performance tyre technology available today.
Making their debut on the B5 Bi-Turbo, the new MICHELIN PILOT SUPER SPORT tyres, which measure 255/35ZR20 at the front and 285/30ZR20 at the rear, provide highest levels of high-speed stability. In addition to improved all-round capabilities, these non run-flat tyres provide greater traction on wet roads, offer improved hydro-planing behaviour and excellent rolling comfort.
To fulfil the highest demands in terms of comfort, everyday usability and razor-sharp handling when called for, the B5 Bi-Turbo is equipped with electronicallyadjustable suspension (Variable Damper Control). Using the control switch mounted to the left of the shift lever, the driver can select between Normal, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. This system has been artfully calibrated by ALPINA, and is tied into other system parameters controlling steering assistance, torque cushioning and DSC. The B5 Bi-Turbo transitions effortlessly from cultivated luxury to thorough-bred sportiness. Light steering, ultra-comfortable suspension and an imperceptibly shifting transmission B5 Bi-Turbo the ideal partner in stop-and-go traffic, when covering great distances or when encountering less than perfect road surfaces. Yet at the touch of a button, the B5 Bi-Turbo will track through tricky corners and exciting sections of road with an agility and light-footedness like no other in its class.
When the 8-speed sport automatic's manual mode is combined with the selection of the Sport or Sport+ modes, the driver benefits from a new feature: no mandatory up-shifts. When truly pressing on through twisty sections of road or around hairpins, skilled drivers can remain in their selected gear and not be
interrupted by an up-shift. The optionally available Dynamic Drive reduces body roll in corners, awarding the B5 Bi-Turbo even more agility. When placed in Sport+ mode by the driver, the B5 Bi-Turbo's dynamic control systems offer a heightened form of DSC called Dynamic Traction Control (DTC),
which allows noticeably more slip at the rear wheels and delays the point at which the traction control systems take over.
DESIGN & INTERIOR – Classic Craftsmanship Meets Modern Technology
The new B5 Bi-Turbo presents typical ALPINA virtues and design cues in a new and convincing fashion, with a refreshing and dynamic appearance. The self-assured and powerful front commands attention with its decidedly sport-orientated lines and striking air. The rear is especially harmonious, clearly communicating the B5 Bi-Turbo's ALPINA family heritage. The ALPINA exhaust's two double-ended-pipes are artfully integrated into the rear valance, a discreet rear diffuser completing the silhouette. The diffuser can be deleted as needed, should the customer desire the optional ability to tow a trailer. In combination with the rear spoiler, the B5 Bi-Turbo's total aerodynamic package yields the highest levels of safety and stability, especially at high speeds. The resulting reduction in lift, speed-dependent, can reach a remarkable - 60% front and - 30% rear.
The interior reveals the expected discreet touches that suggest the B5 Bi-Turbo's exclusive pedigree. The standard equipment level is comprehensive: leather interior, versatile and adjustable Comfort seats, an excellent navigation system with Bluetooth preparation, and Xenon headlamps all ensure the driver's and
passengers' well-being. The hand-stitched LAVALINA leather SWITCH-TRONIC steering wheel can be positioned exactly as needed to see the blue ALPINA gauges with black-panel LCD technology, thanks to the electrically-adjustable steering column. The classic ALPINA burled Myrtle wood trim provides a warm ambience - found only on the USA's Pacific Coast it is cultivated from dedicated Laurel tree groves grown for just this purpose.
THE BMW ALPINA B5 BITURBO – Brilliantly Balanced High Performance
The overall harmony and the accomplished manner with which the B5 Bi-Turbo's last fine calibrations were achieved are a common thread, and as always carry that ALPINA flair, our signature. Sovereign performance and opulent torque assure excellent performance, this in conjunction with "best-in-class" fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Neutral turn-in and road-holding, agile handling and a many-faceted, adjustable suspension satisfy the highest demands in terms of comfort and a sporting nature. The interior's warm ambience and modern treatments foster a sense of well-being. For those who would only award themselves that something unique, exclusive volumes and the ALPINA philosophy of hand-craftsmanship offer a nearly endless spectrum of personalisation.