THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Good: This is a very exclusive performance sedan; you won’t find many others like it on the road.
- What’s Bad: Not much to find wrong with this car.
For anyone who values exclusivity, it doesn’t get much better than the 2019 Alpina B6.
Based on BMW’s 6 Series, the Alpina B6 is called a Gran Coupe, a luxury four-door sedan with a sloping, coupe-like roofline.
Produced in even lower volume numbers than BMW M series models, the Alpina B6 might be just the vehicle for the customer who wants a limited edition, high-performance sedan that will stand out from the crowd.
And performance is the key word here with this variant of the 6 Series that boasts a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine that kicks out 600 hp and a whopping 590 lb/ft of torque, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission and power distributed to all four wheels.
Anyone familiar with BMW will know all about its M models, produced in-house at the performance-oriented M division.
So with an M6 already on the 6 Series lineup sheet, why a B6 as well and where does this Alpina name come from?
In short, the major difference between the M6 and B6 is the drive systems—M6 is rear-wheel drive only while the B6 has BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, making it a perfect fit for Canada and its unpredictable winter weather.
Now to Alpina, which is a high-performance, exclusive automotive brand unto itself that partners with BMW and takes 6 Series Gran Coupes and transforms them into the Alpina mold.
The B6 body is manufactured in the BMW factory and then hand-finished by Alpina in Buchloe, Germany.
According to BMW, the Alpina B6 has “subtle BMW enhancements adopted from the 6 Series Gran Coupe and benefits further from design and engineering developments made by Alpina.”
Based on its colour scheme alone, our test vehicle had a distinctive look, painted a unique Frozen Bronze Metallic ($2,000) on the exterior with an eye-catching Ivory White Extended Nappa Leather interior.
Starting at $103,900, the Alpina Package adds $34,500 and the Alpina Executive Package tacked on an additional $9,700 to the list price.
Stand-alone options like Driving Assistant Plus ($1,000), Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection ($2,500) and a Bang and Olufsen sound system ($4,900) took the as-tested price to $158,500 plus $2,245 destination charges.
Included in the Alpina package are gorgeous 20-inch multi-spoke wheels with performance non run-flat tires and an eye-catching Alpina badge in the centre.
There’s no mistaking this for the Alpina variant of the 6 Series Gran Coupe with the Alpina name on the front spoiler. One might think this would be gaudy, but in fact it simply adds to the allure of the vehicle.
There are other Alpina-specific design cues included in the package in addition to ceramic controls, Sirius satellite radio, a leather instrument panel, comfort seats up front with contrasting stitching, tire pressure monitor and adaptive drive.
The Executive Package adds soft close doors, side and rear sunshades, ventilated seats, head up display, surround view camera and other features. The optional Bang & Olufsen sound system on our tester replaced the standard Harmon Kardon surround sound system.
Needless to say, the Alpina B6 has all the luxury and technology features one would expect in this price range. The interior is sumptuous, comfortable and oh so inviting.
With an engine putting out 600 hp, one would expect cabin noise to considerable, but that’s not the case here. In fact, cabin occupants are well insulated from outside intrusions.
Even with the all the power and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time in the four-second range, the B6 Alpina is more of a road cruiser than a track star.
The ride quality is excellent, thanks in part to the Alpina-tuned suspension. The operator can choose from four driving modes, all of which give the car a different feel when it comes to ride, handling and performance
The front seats are 16-way adjustable with loads of room up front. Rear seat headroom is compromised by the sloping roofline, but this is a real back seat folks and is more than usable, making the B6 Alpina an everyday family vehicle if needed.
And with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive, the B6 Alpina becomes more of a four-season car here in the Great White North than its M6 sibling, which is rear-drive only.
So for anyone who loves the coupe-like look in high-performance, luxury family sedan, the B6 Alpina may just fit the bill. And for those who value exclusivity, this is as good as it gets in the BMW lineup.