First Look: 2016 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupé

bmw alpina b6 gran coupe

Written by: Robert Nichols

 



Check out our full review of the BMW Alpina B6 here!

 


 

In the early 1960’s a young German business and engineering student named Burkard Bovensiepen, made his start in the automotive world. While working at his father’s precision components factory, he designed a carburetor for the 1962 BMW 1500. Within 2 years he received recognition from BMW and the automotive press for engines featuring his dual-carburetors. Interestingly, BMW had so much confidence in Burkard that they granted full warranty coverage for vehicles optioned with his components. From that humble beginning Burkard developed the Alpina brand. Over the following 50 years, Alpina began to offer more modifications and the brand quickly became synonymous with quality, performance and exclusivity. The tradition continues in 2016 with the introduction of the Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupé. Carrying an MSRP of $135,000, this 4-door beauty will be available in BMW showrooms this May.

 

bmw alpina b6 gran coupe blue exhaust


When a customer orders an Alpina B6, a standard 6-Series sedan is shipped to the Buchloe Alpina factory in Germany, where it is hand-finished with exclusive components, engine tweaks, and interior/exterior finishes. This process takes about 2 weeks. The changes are subtle but significant; rather than trying to remodel a BMW, the exterior gets molded into something that is instantly recognizable. The new fascia, front splitter and retouched kidney grill lend a more sophisticated and powerful look, and the creases in the hood heighten the sense that something special lurks beneath.

 

bmw alpina b6 gran coupe v8 twin turbo engine

 

Under the hood is a 4.4-litre Bi-Turbo V8. By using two large turbochargers operating in parallel, this powerhouse produces a colossal 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque while simultaneously delivering nearly instant throttle response. Those of you familiar with the Alpina B6 will immediately note that this represents an increase of 60 hp over last year. The bulk of this increase is thanks to extensive reworking of the air intake ducts and filter housing. An enhanced fuel system also plays a part.

 

Blending a new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with the xDrive AWD system, which of course has been reprogrammed to meet Alpina specifications, allows the large sedan to rocket from 0 – 100 km/h in a nearly unbelievable 3.8 seconds. That means this 4-door family car is in the same rarified performance arena as the Jaguar F-Type R, the Porsche 911 GT3 (2011) and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP-570 Spyder. The B6 was never meant to be a full-out performance hooligan (that's where the M6 picks up), so the transmission offers settings to tailor up the car's driving characteristics - the driver can choose what kind of driving style they want.

 

bmw alpina b6 gran coupe wheels rims

 

D mode is meant to deliver a smooth ride, ideal for highway cruising or the daily commute. In S mode the transmission changes gears quicker and allows for more than one gear to be dropped during downshifts. This means that the transmission can drop from 5th gear straight to 2nd gear, skipping the gears in between, to allow for the most efficient acceleration possible. M mode is fully manual. This mode gives the driver complete authority over which gear the transmission is in. When the DSC OFF or Sport + modes are selected, the transmission becomes fully manual, meaning it will not change gears without driver input - suitable for track use or twisty canyon roads with tight corners in rapid succession.

 

The BMW also receives an Alpina suspension upgrade which utilizes active roll stabilization, adjustable and adaptive shocks and fully variable torque distribution through the AWD system. The whole idea is to blend relaxation and agility in such a way as to create a car with multiple personalities. The driver has control over which personality they wish to interact with through a rocker switch with 4 designations; Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport +. Alpina has calibrated the torque distribution, stability control, steering assist and throttle response for each setting.

 

bmw alpina b6 gran coupe

 

One problem with newer BMW’s is the uselessly hard run-flat tires. Wisely, Alpina has gone in a different direction favouring comfort by selecting Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires to be mounted on the Alpina Classic 20 inch wheels. A glance through the spokes will reveal blue brake calipers with “ALPINA” emblazoned proudly on them, signifying the powerful stopping capabilities inherent of the large diameter brakes. The system is powerful enough to require special air channels to direct cold air over the brakes.

 

bmw alpina b6 gran coupe interior

 

Alpina takes everything that we love about BMW and makes it better. The interior for example, will be finished in the highest quality materials. Nappa leather wraps the seats and the instrument panel. Blue instrumentation, an Alpina steering wheel, illuminated blue Alpina lettering in the door sills and Myrtle or black wood trim are just a few of the unique interior treats available. The Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupé transforms a fantastic sedan into something a bit more exclusive, and a bit better at everything we expect the Ultimate Driving Machine to be. We're just glad it's coming to Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

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