As soon as we laid eyes on the 2022 BMW Alpina B8, it was like hearing the overawed exclamations of an underprivileged street kid who had just met a member of high society. According to Dickens, the next scene would either involve being adopted by the Alpina or robbing its bank accounts. Work quickly, Artful Dodger, because while this car appears to be weighed down by wealth, it is actually quite agile.
If you aren't impressed by Alpina's interpretation of the BMW 8-series Gran Coupe, you must be a very jaded individual. In collaboration with BMW, Alpina has taken a four-door fighter that was previously stiff and muscular and helped it to become more relaxed. The Alpina name is synonymous with tweaking BMW's best, adding a little sparkle here and a touch of torque there, and most notably in the B8, providing a more comfortable ride for the driver.
The exterior of the B8 has undergone only minor modifications thanks to Alpina. More aggressive air intakes are found in the front, a black diffuser is found in the rear, and a saucy little decklid spoiler is found on the trunk, which is joined by an Alpina badge. The Alpina wheels and tires are a 20-spoke design in a standard 21-inch size, with custom Pirelli rubber that has been tuned specifically for the Alpina. The wheels and tires are exclusive to Alpina. For those who are more concerned with inclement weather than they are with grip, 20-inch wheels with all-season tires are also offered. Bright cobalt blue four-piston Brembo brake calipers clamp 15.6-inch front rotors and 15.7-inch rear rotors, which protrude from beneath the thin-spoked wheels. The car is equipped with 16-inch tires.
The B8 is powered by the same engine as the BMW M850i, a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 that has been tuned specifically for Alpina. When it comes to horsepower and torque, the Alpina is only 5-horsepower short of the M8 Competition, but it has 37 pound-feet more torque than the M8. That is in keeping with the tuner's mission, which is not necessarily to outperform BMW's versions in terms of raw performance, but rather to make that performance feel more effortless than it would otherwise be. Alpina claims that the B8 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and can cruise at a top speed of 201 mph. In our hands, the lighter M8 Competition Gran Coupe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, so Alpina's estimates should be considered conservative. The V-8 is backed up by an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, which has been tuned by Alpina to deliver smooth performance. When you switch between drive modes, the shift points and response are adjusted; leaving everything in Comfort mode will make you forget that the car is shifting at all. Because the Nürburgring is not on our route to our local Target, we were not able to put the car through its top-speed claim while running errands. However, the car's stoplight scoot is more than enough to get us ahead of other traffic and into the best parking spot. (Be sure to use a large font; this is a large automobile.) It is possible that even in the Sport mode, there is a slight delay in the arrival of all that power, which could lead an impatient driver to believe that this is not a quick car. Maintain your composure, pal. Just hold on a minute. When you get home, you'll discover that all of your toaster strudel have been placed on the opposite side of the trunk from where you originally placed them.
The ride quality of many high-performance sedans, and particularly the M8 Competitions, has been a frequent source of contention for owners. It appears that the days of a large luxury vehicle gliding across the highways, cushioning the driver and passengers, are over for good. The B8 takes a look back at those times. On a winding road, however, it remains an eager companion thanks to all-wheel drive, a limited-slip differential, rear-axle steering, and active anti-roll bars that keep it upright and pointed in the right direction. However, the B8 is most effective when used as intended, which is to add elegance to mundane commutes and comfort to long journeys. It is a luxurious setting in which to spend time. Why would you want it to be over as soon as possible?
Perhaps if you were a backseat passenger, you would be less enthusiastic about a prolonged stay in the B8. It doesn't matter that the rear seats are smaller and have a deep dished with an extreme rake that looks stylish when you open the door, because sitting in them is akin to falling through the seat of an old rattan patio chair. It's possible that you'll need assistance getting out. The best place to be is up front, where there is plenty of space for both the driver and the passenger, as well as plenty of soft, aromatic leather to stroke—especially on the comically thick steering wheel—and plenty of private tea-room glamour, such as the ridiculous yet compelling cut-crystal shifter knob and faceted infotainment dial, among other things. It beckons for a champagne flute to be clinked against it.
Remember to keep your eyes open and not become distracted by the glitter. Although the interior is attractive, you can get leather and glasslike accessories in a Genesis for a third of the B8's starting price of $140,895. The B8 is nearly $8005 more expensive than the M8 Competition Gran Coupe, and many of the same issues that we have with the other 8-series cars apply to the Alpina as they do with the other 8-series cars. Most notably, in a car with a starting price of $140,000, BMW charges extra for the upgraded stereo system and driving-assistance package, which are both standard.
In the case of a customer who is already shopping on the M8 but does not wish to endure a bone-rattling ride in search of the ideal fast four-door, the B8 presents the ideal solution. There are no thousands of B8s being produced by Alpina, nor does the company wish to do so. It's looking for the right buyer, someone who already appreciates the style of the 8-series Gran Coupe but desires more power, comfort, and crystal in their vehicle. Is it you, guvnah, who's there?
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