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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Chris Harris (normally an Alpina fan) reckoned it was a step backward from the B10 V8S, nowhere near as good as the M5 and that one should seriously consider a 535d as an alternative.

He seemed to imply that the M5 has a stiffer body structure, which is not my understanding. He also seemed to have trouble pulling away cleanly, without lighting up the traction control - I didn't have any trouble with this on wet potholed London roads, so can only assume he doesn't really understand the concept of delicate throttle inputs.

Apart from that, he's got a fair point about the lack of an LSD and of the rest his implied criticism is that there are no longer enough bespoke components in the key parts (i.e. suspension) of the latest Alpinas.

He did concede, however, that the B5 was probably the best car on the motorways and in town - so that's me sorted! :)
 

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Can't say I disagree with the Autocar review.

I managed to keep the traction control light flashing on a dry, straight, flat road from 40 to 130mph! I also had trouble specifying something on my B5 to differentiate it from any other E60 - not even a rear spoiler on the Touring, all bog standard. So the car is no longer 'special' and is definitely not a track car (although Andy Bovenseipen did his best to convince me otherwise around Donnington) due to the lack of LSD.

The M5 is a fantastic machine and it is probably the best of the three in the context of the review. Back in the real world however the B5 is still king. For example yesterday I did a 200 mile round trip, for ten of those miles I felt even the B10 was underpowered and despite making 'good progress' on a country road never once did I need the intervention of an LSD - I was taught driving on the technology was unnecessary. For the other 190 miles I could have been in a van and still got to my destination in the same time. So on a cold, wet Friday evening with 190 miles to go (welcome to my world) I know which car I would want to be in.

The review does raise the question has Alpina lost the plot and are the B series now just a CMO (cynical marketing opportunity)? It is clear Mr BB has retired to his wine cache and Mr AB was reluctantly drafted in to run the business. The engineering is still there but the total package sign-off may not be, with the cars being built on the BMW production line with resultant compromises. European sales are in free fall but I overheard that "Alpina's future in now assured" following their recent meeting with BMW. Entry to the US or buy-out possibly? ??????
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Heuer said:
Can't say I disagree with the Autocar review.

I managed to keep the traction control light flashing on a dry, straight, flat road from 40 to 130mph! I also had trouble specifying something on my B5 to differentiate it from any other E60 - not even a rear spoiler on the Touring, all bog standard. So the car is no longer 'special' and is definitely not a track car (although Andy Bovenseipen did his best to convince me otherwise around Donnington) due to the lack of LSD.

The M5 is a fantastic machine and it is probably the best of the three in the context of the review. Back in the real world however the B5 is still king. For example yesterday I did a 200 mile round trip, for ten of those miles I felt even the B10 was underpowered and despite making 'good progress' on a country road never once did I need the intervention of an LSD - I was taught driving on the technology was unnecessary. For the other 190 miles I could have been in a van and still got to my destination in the same time. So on a cold, wet Friday evening with 190 miles to go (welcome to my world) I know which car I would want to be in.

The review does raise the question has Alpina lost the plot and are the B series now just a CMO (cynical marketing opportunity)? It is clear Mr BB has retired to his wine cache and Mr AB was reluctantly drafted in to run the business. The engineering is still there but the total package sign-off may not be, with the cars being built on the BMW production line with resultant compromises. European sales are in free fall but I overheard that "Alpina's future in now assured" following their recent meeting with BMW. Entry to the US or buy-out possibly? ??????
Both, I am expecting...
 

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hythe said:
so can only assume he doesn't really understand the concept of delicate throttle inputs.
I would be surprised...Harris has driven just about every sportscar who can throw a stick at, both road and track, including the serious machines such as Caterham R500's etc etc which do require proper throttle control
 

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virage1 said:
I would be surprised...Harris has driven just about every sportscar who can throw a stick at, both road and track, including the serious machines such as Caterham R500's etc etc which do require proper throttle control
He has just sold a Porsche 996 GT2 and bought a Porsche 993 GT2, so yes he does understand throttle control..................
 

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Just read his review - he really slates the B5 ( though nice to see his comments about the B10 V8S ). I haven't driven a B5 but I have tried a 535d SE - he thought the ride on the 535 Sport was alright, but I thought the ride on the SE was crap ( and so assume the Sport is even worse, which is what a lot of my friends have said ). It was why a bought a B10 V8S instead. It is all about how you feel about these things - he would appear to be not that sensitive to ride quality, in which case the appeal of the B5 over the M5 would be very limited. Then again, he splashed his own money out on a C55, so he can't really claim to know THAT much about cars.... ( I tried one and found it awful and a quick way to loose lots of money )
 

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I strongly agree with one point of his - namely that it's criminal to sell a car with 500+lb ft of torque without a limited-slip-differential.

Strong danger is that the B5 gets an E55 reputation ie amazing engine with great power, but unable to deploy it properly.
 

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GuyGT2 said:
He has just sold a Porsche 996 GT2 and bought a Porsche 993 GT2, so yes he does understand throttle control..................
And he obviously knows which is the better Porsche!
 

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After reading the Autocar article again last night & heur & hyth's above comments it seems Chris Harris' review was fair critisism of the B5. But that leaves me with one question - why did ALPINA not fit a LSD to the car. :confused2

Kevin.
 

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absent said:
I would absolutely love to see Alpina on sale in the US!
I would be the first in line to get one,the new B is a perfect daily driver for me.
me too!:1:
 

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ktroubridge said:
After reading the Autocar article again last night & heur & hyth's above comments it seems Chris Harris' review was fair critisism of the B5. But that leaves me with one question - why did ALPINA not fit a LSD to the car. :confused2

Kevin.
Maybe we should threaten to cancel our orders? The M5 Touring will be available early in 2006!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Heuer said:
Maybe we should threaten to cancel our orders? The M5 Touring will be available early in 2006!
Not sure what could be done, given both our cars are due to be built in the next 4 weeks or so!

Might be possible to get them to retro-fit the LSD at a later date, I suppose...
 

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Having read your comments on Alpina I also share your concerns for the future of the company. I always had a soft spot for Alpina's and really couldn't decide which was my favourite E39, the M5 or the B10? And there was always the touring version that only Alpina could provide you officially.
I guess today, Motorsport won the battle of building the best allround car. It used to be different though. M-cars were always more focused cars, with harder suspensions and higher revving engines. Alpina made the softer more comfortable car, mostly coupled to a (semi-)automatic gearbox. Still with a big, powerfull, engine but with a more rounded character. Technology has made it possible for the M5 to be all that in one car. And I guess there's the problem for Alpina. Where they used to be an alternative for the M-cars they now have to fish in the same waters.
I hope Alpina will keep on making great cars, the B5 will probably get its LSD at one time, maybe they're developing it today. The point is if they want to differentiate themselves from M-cars they will have to come up with something very soon. Why not a new turbo version? I still remember the legendary B7 turbos and the B10 biturbo. Why not a D5? An E60 with a V8 biturbo diesel engine from the 745d with some extra horses under the bonnet. Now how about that for an idea Andy?
:M5thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bart B said:
Having read your comments on Alpina I also share your concerns for the future of the company. I always had a soft spot for Alpina's and really couldn't decide which was my favourite E39, the M5 or the B10? And there was always the touring version that only Alpina could provide you officially.
I guess today, Motorsport won the battle of building the best allround car. It used to be different though. M-cars were always more focused cars, with harder suspensions and higher revving engines. Alpina made the softer more comfortable car, mostly coupled to a (semi-)automatic gearbox. Still with a big, powerfull, engine but with a more rounded character. Technology has made it possible for the M5 to be all that in one car. And I guess there's the problem for Alpina. Where they used to be an alternative for the M-cars they now have to fish in the same waters.
I hope Alpina will keep on making great cars, the B5 will probably get its LSD at one time, maybe they're developing it today. The point is if they want to differentiate themselves from M-cars they will have to come up with something very soon. Why not a new turbo version? I still remember the legendary B7 turbos and the B10 biturbo. Why not a D5? An E60 with a V8 biturbo diesel engine from the 745d with some extra horses under the bonnet. Now how about that for an idea Andy?
:M5thumbs:
So you think even more torque is the answer???
:confused3

It's a funny thing - Autocar raved about the traction of the B7, but finds the traction of the B5 appalling. Either they're totally inconsistent or the problem is in the difference between the two cars - less weight, narrower track, smaller wheels & tyres. Of course, there's no M7 to compare with, only various AMG products...
 

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hythe said:
Not sure what could be done, given both our cars are due to be built in the next 4 weeks or so!

Might be possible to get them to retro-fit the LSD at a later date, I suppose...
Just kidding! I have no doubt we will be delighted with the B5.
 

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hythe said:
So you think even more torque is the answer???
:confused3 ...
You're right this would only increase the problem. I was only trying to point out that if Alpina wants to keep its special image they have to come up with special cars. The B5 is too close to the M5 for its own good. Alpina always came up with very special cars in the past. Your B8 4.6 is a perfect example of their power to innovate and to surprise.
They were also a testbed for the biturbo diesel engine (D10) and Andy Bovensiepen was very much involved as an engineer at BMW in the development of the 535d engine (first tested by BMW on their Dakar X5). If I remember correctly he even won the Nurburgring 24h in a BMW 320d with the BMW works team.
I wouldn't worry about Alpina in the long run. Regardless if Burkhard or Andy Bovensiepen is at the helm. They have a very strong following. And even if BMW takes over completely, they will keep the name in honour, they also remember what Alpina did for BMW in the 60's and 70's.
May be the future of Alpina lies in answers from the past. Remember the 555 Alpina Roadsters based on the Z8? Maybe that's what they are planning. A series of very special and limited editions of the B-cars. Time will tell.
Had there been no M5 E60 there wouldn't have been a discussion in the first place, the Alpina would have been n°1 on everyones list, beating everything from Audi or Mercedes. Today it has to share those two top spots with that very special car from Motorsport. Some will prefer the M5, others will still opt for the B5. So in the end both will have their buyers. Untill the LSD comes keep on slipping unlimited. :)
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't DSC a form of electronic LSD? I wanna say I remember reading some webposts about how BMW equipped cars with DSC that was supposed to be a form of LSD though not necessarily a suitable replacement. Anyone know anything about this? Might explain the situation with the B5 if thats the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Andm99 said:
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't DSC a form of electronic LSD? I wanna say I remember reading some webposts about how BMW equipped cars with DSC that was supposed to be a form of LSD though not necessarily a suitable replacement. Anyone know anything about this? Might explain the situation with the B5 if thats the case.
Not quite - a mechanical LSD will always be more effective in transmitting torque through the wheels for maximum forward thrust - the DSC works by cutting engine torque and/or applying brakes to specific wheels. Alpina apparently reprogrammed the standard E60 DSC to allow more controlled slip at the back end than normal, depending on whether it's a slow controlled drift or a wild spin - kind of a crude yaw control feature, I suppose.
 
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