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Alpina B5 Touring: the 202mph luxury estate with poise as well as power

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Subtle but oh so fast: Alpina's take on a super-fast BMW 5-Series estate

There is a wonderful disconnect between the way the engineers at Alpina talk about their products and the cars themselves. For instance, they describe the B5 with words such as “modest”, “cautious” and “subtle” and then let you loose in a car with 600bhp and a top speed of 202mph. And that’s just the estate version.

Alpina has been warming up BMWs for more than half a century and the difference between it and any other aftermarket tuning company is that Alpinas are and always have been fully factory-approved, many of the modifications being fitted on the main BMW production line.

In the mid-Sixties it might have been a larger carburettor or a more efficient cylinder head. Today its cars are totally transformed. For instance, the B5 comes with the 4.4-litre V8 from the 7-series limousine, but tuned with bigger turbochargers and myriad other changes to raise its output from 444bhp to that magic...

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