The Alpina B5 is a 613bhp, 205mph BMW 5 Series


Still can’t decide which three cars deserve a spot in your Dream Garage? Well, Internet, here’s a serious contender that – spoiler alert – most definitely occupies a space in mine. It is of course the updated Alpina B5, which is based on the recently facelifted BMW 5 Series. More specifically, the already hugely fast M550i.

The pre-facelift B5 had a nice, round 600bhp. But thanks to an ECU tweak and better cooling, the new car’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 makes 613bhp and 590lb ft. Aided by xDrive all-wheel drive and a fettled eight-speed auto, the saloon takes just 3.4 seconds to reach 62mph from rest and can hit 205mph. The Touring – which, let’s face it, is the one you really want – is only marginally slower. 0-62mph takes 3.6 seconds and the top speed is a still absurd 201mph.

Chassis upgrades include Alpina-spec adaptive dampers and firmer springs. The active roll stabilisation and four-wheel steering systems have been retuned, while massive brakes hide behind familiar 20-inch many-spoke Alpina alloys. Even beefier brakes and a mechanical limited-slip diff are options.

Still a proper Q-car, too. The front bumper has bigger air intakes this time around for better cooling, but on the whole the B5 is by some margin the most subtle 200mph car around. Delete the stripes and badges, and you could as easily be looking at a 520d M Sport. Inside it’s as per the new 5 Series, albeit with lashings of high-spec leather.

Those who value range before outright performance take note – Alpina has also updated its diesel-powered 5 Series. The D5S, which is also available as a saloon or Touring, is mostly the same as the B5 save for the engine. The tri-turbo, mild-hybrid 3.0-litre diesel offers up 402bhp for 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 178mph (4.6 seconds and 176mph for the Touring).