The BMW M8 was oddly disappointing when it was launched 18 months ago. Too firm to be a grand tourer and too flabby to be a proper sports car, it was left in a (very expensive) automotive no man’s land.
We can see the appeal, then, in going for Alpina‘s take on the ultimate 8-series - the B8 Gran Coupe. This, after all, is a company that understands how to make ballistically fast things that are still supremely comfortable despite the use of giant multi-spoke wheels.
With 613bhp from its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, the B8 falls a few horses shy of the M8, and its 0-62mph time is a couple of tenths slower at 3.4 seconds. But how’s this for bragging rights: the top speed is 201mph. No fun-spoiling electronic limiters here.
Alpina’s core customers are happiest sitting at high speeds for extended periods of time on the German autobahn, so as such, keeping the V8 cool is high on the agenda. There are three additional coolers for the engine coolant, a bigger gearbox oil cooler and new intercoolers with 50 per cent more surface area.
The suspension has been thoroughly overhauled with new Eibach springs all round, stiffer strut braces, a reinforced front anti-roll bar and beefier lower front wishbone mounts. As it’s based on an M850i, there’s an all-wheel steering system able to turn the rear wheels up to 2.3 degrees in either direction. You don’t get that on an M8.
On stopping duties are four-piston front calipers squeezing 395mm discs, with single-piston floating calipers biting 398mm rotors at the rear. The brakes live under 21-inch 20-spoke wheels wrapped in bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres, with 20-inch ‘Alpina Classic’ rims on the options menu. Either wheelset will go nicely with the trademark Alpina-branded front splitter - just remember to take it slowly over those speed bumps.
BMW‘s M850i Gran Coupe is already a good starting point when it comes to interior comfort, with Alpina enhancing the cabin further via Walnut Anthracite trim and a hand-finished leather Alpina steering wheel. There are myriad personalisation options available for customers wanting to spruce things up further.
The B8 priced from £134,950, roughly equivalent to a well-specced M8 Gran Coupe.