There’s something strange about this Alpina B8 Gran Coupe. Normally there’s a fairly clear delineation between the all-powerful M and the more cruiser-style B. But this time the roles are reversed. If you roll up to a stoplight in your BMW M8 Gran Coupe, the Alpina B8 next to you will be making more power. This is wrong.
This is not always the case. If you get a BMW M8 Competition, you will be running a car with 617 horsepower. The regular M8 makes do with a paltry 600. That’s paltry, certainly, next to the 612 of the B8.
Again, this is wrong! Alpinas should offer a simple distinction from the performance cars BMW offers. BMW M cars have higher horsepower, Alpinas make do with less power but more torque. M cars are about tearing up the road. Alpinas are about barreling down them. Sport versus comfort. Performance versus style. The prices aren’t even far off. A BMW M8 Gran Coupe starts at $130,000. An Alpina B8 Gran Coupe is five bucks off of $140,000 with destination.
That’s not what we’re getting here with this Alpina. It makes too much power! It isn’t even at an expense of torque. The B8 makes 590 lb-ft, while the M8 makes 553, Competition or no. The Alpina and M8s both use the same basic engine, BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, so the similarities make sense.
The way that this should work is that Alpina’s car should be up on torque, but at the expense of power. It should be abundantly clear to everyone around you that you care more for a comfortable, confident car than any striving M car. That’s how it was with the BMW Z8, with the 400-HP engine out of the M5, and the Alpina Roadster, with a 375-HP torquier tune on a more pedestrian BMW V8.
I got a chance to drive one of those Alpina Roadsters, let it run that V8 out, popping and banging around BMW’s Spartanburg test track. It was so satisfying to have such a comfy car driven so aggressively, and the car had a sense of poise and understanding like it understood.
The B8 should have that. Instead, it makes too much power. I can’t be mad at it, though. It’s certainly a better car than the M8. I mean, look at that paint. The paint alone does it.