2015 BMW Alpina B6 XDrive Gran Coupe

Posted on 30th May 2014

The B6’s 540-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 is down 20 horsepower to the base M6’s, but the Alpina-modified engine makes 38 more lb-ft of torque and is fitted with new pistons, new turbochargers, and larger intercoolers. It’s basically the same engine that gives the existing Alpina B7 its full head of steam. In the B6, Alpina cites a 0-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds—we concur—and unlike BMW-badged products, this car isn’t saddled with a governor. It'll keep accelerating all the way to a claimed 198 mph.

On the autobahn, the B6 pulled hard from 130 mph. An indicated 180 mph is easily attained even in traffic, and stability at those speeds is superb thanks to the copious aero pieces affixed by Alpina, which are said to achieve nearly zero lift. The chin spoiler incorporates a brake-cooling NACA duct underneath, and additional frontal cooling inlets help the B6 hit its terminal velocity without breaking a sweat, and the rear spoiler is functional.

Even at high triple-digit speeds, little noise enters the cabin. A faint V-8 snarl makes it to the driver’s ear, but the B6 is a very quiet car even in Sport mode, which opens the exhaust bypass valve. While a brief report is fired from the pipes when you lift off the throttle, the B6 is much more behaved than any AMG product.

The silence is as golden as the inlaid Alpina emblems in the exclusive Myrtle wood cabin trim. Reddish in hue, the wood makes an already handsome environment even more so. The instrument panel and much of the cabin is wrapped in hide punctuated by Alpina’s special contrasting stitching. A custom, $16,000 full-leather interior is exclusive to Europe, while U.S. cars will have to make do with BMW’s factory extended-leather option. Alpina covered the floor in the rear-seat area with pony hide for one customer, but the standard-issue appointments are so delectable that we’d find it hard to justify ponying up any more money.

The $118,225 B6 has standard xDrive all-wheel drive, which isn’t available on the M6. Recalibrated by Alpina, all power is sent rearward until slip is detected. The system adds serious mass to an already heavy car, as Alpina claims a curb weight of 4780 pounds—the heaviest M6 GC we’ve weighed tipped the scales at 4395 pounds.

Being so heavy, the Alpina isn't as capable in the corners as the M6, but the B6 does just fine thanks to its recalibrated suspension and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The chassis’ Comfort mode is truly comfortable, and if the B6 lacks the supple wheel control of the B7 overall, it nevertheless offers a luxurious ride quality that’s firm but not overly harsh. The gorgeous, trademark 20-spoke wheels don’t improve handling, but they look fantastic.

Again, the Alpina B6 Gran Coupe really shines in the luxury department, where it sits next to the 1000-thread-count sheets and Reinast toothbrushes. It's not as pure or as visceral as its M6 analogue, but it's close. And it has a higher top speed than any BMW. It feels and looks as extravagant as cars that cost well over $150,000, a testament to the care and attention paid by Alpina to ensure it didn’t just create an all-wheel drive M6.

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