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There’s arguably never been more Alpina versions of BMW vehicles available to US buyers than right now. In years past, though, the selection was rather sparser. Just like BMW kept some versions of its M cars overseas, some Alpina models never made it here. But this week on Cars & Bids, there’s a chance to own one of those European forbidden fruits: a 2005 E60 BMW Alpina B5.

The E60 BMW Alpina B5 was the luxurious M5 alternative that US customers couldn’t buy

A black E60 BMW Alpina B5 S drives down a forest-lined road
E60 BMW Alpina B5 S front 3/4 | Alpina

Even before the first M5 hit the streets, Alpina was offering souped-up versions of regular BMWs. However, Alpina eventually shifted its focus away from sharp and sporty cars and onto fast and luxurious GTs. In other words, cars less for carving back roads and more for storming highways. And in 2005, if European customers wanted E60 BMW M5 performance with a more relaxed attitude, there was the Alpina B5.

The E60 M5 is famous for being the only BMW road car with a V10. But while the Alpina B5 is almost as powerful, it doesn’t have a V10. Instead, it has a supercharged, hand-built version of the 4.4-liter ‘N62’ V8 found in the contemporary 5 Series, Autoweek explains. And besides the supercharger, the V8 also has multiple polished parts, stronger pistons and crankshaft, and an intercooler.

As a result, the 2005 Alpina B5 has 493 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic, enough for a 4.6-second 0-62 mph time, Evo reports. In comparison, the E60 BMW M5’s 5.0-liter V10 makes 500 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque routed through either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed single-clutch sequential automatic. And while the V10 revs to 8,250 RPM, its 0-62 mph time is only 0.1 seconds faster. That’s because, not only is it less torquey, but its torque peak is higher in the rev range, PistonHeads explains.

To be sure, the E60 BMW M5 is sportier. But as noted earlier, that’s not what the Alpina B5 is about. True, it has larger brakes than the standard 5 Series, and its retuned suspension is slightly sportier, Evo notes. However, the suspension tweaks focus more on long-distance comfort and better ride quality. And the slightly slower steering is another boon for highway cruising. Plus, the Alpina B5’s automatic is less jerky than the E60 M5’s SMG.

You can buy this imported 2005 BMW Alpina B5 on Cars & Bids

A blue 2005 BMW Alpina B5 in a parking lot
2005 BMW Alpina B5 | Cars & Bids

Given that the E60 BMW Alpina B5 was never sold in the US, you’re likely wondering how one ended up on Cars & Bids. That’s because it was imported by Maryland-based J.K. Technologies. When the company brought the B5 over, it was legally modified to meet American safety and emissions regulations. And according to the seller, it should pass California smog checks, too.

Other than J.K. Technologies’ mods, this 2005 Alpina B5 is fully stock. But being an Alpina, it comes well-equipped with luxury features. It has leather upholstery, Alpina’s trademark wheels and body kit, adaptive xenon headlights, heated front and rear seats, navigation, and an Alcantara headliner. The sedan also features a heads-up display, sunroof, Logic7 audio system, front and rear parking sensors, and rear sunshades.

The white-leather front seats and black dashboard of a 2005 BMW Alpina B5
2005 BMW Alpina B5 front interior | Cars & Bids

To be sure, this 2005 Alpina B5 isn’t perfect. The front bumper is chipped, the rear bumper is dented, the plastic door sills are cracked, and there’s some interior wear. Plus, one of the tire’s sidewalls is torn. But it has extensive service records from its time in Europe and less than 92,500 miles on the clock. Also, the seller recently changed the oil, oil filter, cabin air filter, brake fluid, and front thrust arms.

As of this writing, this 2005 Alpina B5 is listed on Cars & Bids for $12,000 with four days left in the auction. Being an imported car, it’s difficult to gauge the average market value for a used E60 B5. It’s also a rare car: Cars & Bids claims that Alpina only 428 E60 B5s. However, contemporary Alpinas hover around $30K on Bring a Trailer. So, in comparison, this B5 is a true bargain.

It’s also a bargain compared to the E60 BMW M5, both to buy and to own. E60 M5s are infamously trouble-prone, suffering numerous expensive engine- and SMG-related problems. That’s not to say the N62 engine is completely trouble-free, BMW Tuning explains. In addition to common BMW engine problems like valve cover gasket leaks, N62s can develop cracked valve stem seals as well as coolant transfer pipe and alternator bracket gasket leaks.

However, modern, stronger replacement parts solve these problems. And PistonHeads claims that Alpina’s mods resolved some of the N62’s flaws. In short, this 2005 B5 is an affordably-priced, rare piece of high-speed European forbidden fruit that shouldn’t be a headache to own.

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