For those who want a 7 Series with a bit more style, BMW has the 8 Series. But there’s substance behind the luxury GT. Especially because, while the 7 Series’ performance peaks with an M Sport trim, BMW makes an actual M8. However, although there’s no true M7, Alpina makes the next best thing. And now, it’s offering its own take on a high-speed 8 Series: the 2022 BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupe.
This isn’t the first Alpina B8—or the first time the tuner’s tweaked the 8 Series
Alpina has an extensive history of tuning BMWs. And just like BMW’s nameplates have been carried forward for decades, Alpina has often re-used model designations. For example, the last-gen B6 Gran Coupe shares part of its name with the tuner’s first car, the 1978 B6 2.8.
However, while the 1978 car is based on a 3 Series, the outgoing B6 was based on the 6 Series. And it’s a similar story with the B8 and Alpina’s past 8-Series-based cars.
Some refer to the Alpina-tuned E23-gen 7 Series as a B8, Petrolicious reports. However, the tuner doesn’t consider those cars to be official models. This is likely because, at the time of the E23’s debut, Alpina focused more on racing and tuning than building road cars.
The first official Alpina B8 was based on the 3 Series, specifically, the E36-gen model, Road & Track reports. And while the contemporary M3 has an inline-six engine, the E36 B8 has a V8. Specifically, two different V8s: a 313-hp 4.0-liter V8 and a 333-hp 4.6-liter V8. Neither one came to the US, though.
As for the original 8 Series, the E31-gen cars from the ‘90s, Alpina tuned those, too. Only rather than ‘B8,’ these cars bear the ‘B12’ name. 97 examples were based on the 850i, and feature an upgraded 345-hp 5.0-liter V12, Motor1 reports. Even rarer are the 850CSi-based B12 5.7s, which have a 412-hp 5.7-liter V12, Hagerty reports. Oh, and for good measure, Alpina also put the 5.0-liter V12 in a handful of E32-gen 7 Series cars.
The 2022 BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupe swaps some M8 speed for greater luxury
Today, Alpina’s naming scheme is more straightforward. The B7 is based on the 7 Series and the XB7 on the X7. And, fittingly, the 2022 BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupe is based on the 8 Series Gran Coupe, Car and Driver reports. Which, despite its name, isn’t actually a coupe.
The 2022 BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupe also isn’t an M8, but it can keep up with one. Like the M8, the B8 has a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, only fitted with Alpina-specific hardware, R&T reports. As a result, it makes 612 hp and 590 lb-ft and comes with AWD and an eight-speed automatic.
Output-wise, the 2022 Alpina B8 is in between the BMW M8 and M8 Competition, The Drive reports. The former makes 600 hp while the latter has 617 hp, Car and Driver reports. But despite its slight horsepower advantage, on paper the B8 Gran Coupe is slower than the M8. BMW claims the M8 Gran Coupe goes 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, while the B8 needs 3.3 seconds, MotorTrend reports.
However, while the M8 is quicker, the BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupe is more focused on comfortable, composed high-speed touring. That’s not to say the B8 can’t handle. Like the M8, it comes standard with adaptive suspension, rear-wheel steering, and a limited-slip differential, Hagerty reports. Plus, it has larger Brembo brakes than the base 8 Series Gran Coupe.
However, the B8’s adaptive suspension is tuned differently than the M8’s system, Roadshow reports. So are the rear-wheel steering, the LSD, and even the transmission. The B8 also has Eibach springs, retuned sway bars, a model-specific aero kit, and Alpina’s own stainless-steel exhaust.
Plus, inside the sedan features a crystal iDrive controller, extra leather, illuminated door sills, and unique wood trim, Autoweek reports. A Harmon Kardon audio system, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, and power window shades are also standard, Autoblog reports. So are heated and ventilated seats.
Is it worth buying over the M-badged car?
The 2022 BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupe should arrive in dealerships in ‘late spring’ 2021. And, predictably, it won’t be cheap. Prices start at $139,900 before destination or options.
With the BMW M8 Coupe and Convertible temporarily unavailable, the Gran Coupe is the only version available for 2021. And it starts at $130,000; the Competition Package adds an extra $13,000.
In short, these various high-end cars cost roughly the same. And, realistically, they’re roughly as fast as each other. So, you can’t really go wrong with any of them. As such, the B8 is essentially an alternative to the current M8.
Choosing between them, then, depends on how you prefer to drive down the road. If you prefer to slice and dice it, go with the M8. If you want to smoothly glide down it, though, that’s where the B8 should shine.
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