BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé review: Improved 8 Series feels right at home on the track

The versatile B8 shows why we will miss 'the Alpina recipe'

Previously you could read about our outing at Zandvoort with the B5 GT Touring, the most powerful car Alpina ever produced and the end of an era as an independent Powerhaus, now that BMW has taken the company from Buchloe under its wing. During the same noisy tea party we were also able to take a seat in the BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé – not limited, not record-breaking, but hardly less powerful and fast.

So yes: we felt like we knew what to expect from him. The 8-series is a very different car than the 5-series, that much is clear, and Alpina is targeting it at a completely different market. Together with the large SUVs, this is typically a model that does well in America.

You might therefore think that things like the chassis and steering are tailored to the general taste there: a little less intense, a little more focused on comfort, so that during your hours-long drive straight across a wide Interstate you don't rattle out of your seat or hit yourself. guardrail in sneezes.

In any case, Alpina's approach has always been to not only promote sportiness, but also to link it to sublime well-being. So if we experienced the B5 GT as a powerful softie, with its pleasant and compliant driving behavior, then this B8 must be the superlative. However? Well…

The B8 behaves like a track car

It is palpable as soon as we roll out of the pit lane: the BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé is on edge. Direct communication, sharp responses. This is a much more involved, much more active driving experience than we bargained for and when we pick up the pace and hit the brakes for the first time, it simply gives us a fright. We noticed a soft and friendly brake pedal in the B5, but here we burst our eyes out of their sockets after the first few centimeters of pedal stroke.

It is not noticeable that its 4.4-liter biturbo V8 lacks 13 hp and 50 Nm compared to the strongest Alpina. With a torque gradient like Tafelberg you can get the job done in any gear. It offers effective support when you need it, but still ruthless steadfastness when you rely solely on the mechanics.

The xDrive all-wheel drive ensures that there is so much targeted power available out of corners that you don't know where you are. It is a pleasure and an experience to whiz around a circuit with such a large, luxurious car so childishly easy.

The interior of the Alpina is of the highest standard

In the meantime, you are of course bathed in luxury: creamy leather, a crystal iDrive controller, stylish wood with a subtle logo incorporated into it. With the B8, Alpina focuses on other multi-talented chic sports enthusiasts such as the Panamera, AMG GT 4-Door and RS 7, but also the Bentley Continental GT. That is clearly visible.

But where those cars, no matter how haughty that may sound, are 'obvious choices', this is one for the connoisseurs. It stays far away from the exuberance of an M8, preferring to give it a hint of silent mystery, but with 621 hp and an unlimited top speed, it is not to be messed with. And while it is not yet entirely clear what will happen to BMW with Alpina after 2025, this may be the time to treat yourself to such a nice, versatile B8.

Specifications of the BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé (2023)

Engine 4,394 cc V8 biturbo 621 hp @ 5,500 rpm 800 Nm @ 2,000 rpm Drive four wheels 8v automatic Performance 0-100 km/h in 3.4 s top 324 km/h Consumption (average) 11.9 l/100 km 270 g /km CO2, F label Dimensions 5,090 x 1,930 x 1,430 mm (lxwxh) 3,025 mm (wheelbase) 2,175 kg 68 l (petrol) 440 l (luggage) Prices € 235,989 (NL) € 169,400 (B)