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Big Blue

The Gorilla passes a vital test

Well, Cooper Thames Ditton returned my car with suspension duly higher than a grasshopper in a limbo competition. I had the battery replaced as it was clearly tired so the Gorilla is back.

This evening I went and did the shopping at Sainsburys and took a longer route back specifically to search out some late night competition. First up was not much to write home about: some kind of Nova with a boy that was sensible enough to back off after about 30m of gap had opened up.

Then a proper, unexpected test.  I passed an E92 on the Ewell by-pass and thought nothing of it but let him catch up and sit behind me at the next light. I pulled away and let the gap between me and the car on my right grow enough so the E92 could pull alongside me then we both opened up the taps. No gap grew between us, I maybe made a metre or two and then we backed off at the next bit of traffic and the next light was red with me at the front again.  Same drill only this time I'm in the right lane so pull into the left after the green and off we go.  Again, no big gap I just eeked out a metre or two then the next light about a mile later was busy so he pulled alongside and we both rolled the driver's window. Then I realised that the Gorilla had passed the test.

E92 M3. That's the first time I've had a drag against a car I'd actually consider a power rival, and of course a car I still covet. It's still fun sometimes. Driving I mean.
TreVoR

I find driving fun all the time. I suspect I may see it differently if I lived in London. The vehicle isn't massively important to me either.

Glad the Alpina satisfies though.

I couldn't sleep the other morning and got up at something like 5:30am. I drove the Defender to Seahouses and walked along the beach to Bamburgh to watch the sun. Life is really good sometimes.
Roadrunner

The Alpina is probably one of the best machines available at any price for someone who enjoys the journey as much as the arrival. Glad it is back to full fighting strength.

TreVoR wrote:
...
I couldn't sleep the other morning and got up at something like 5:30am. I drove the Defender to Seahouses and walked along the beach to Bamburgh to watch the sun. Life is really good sometimes.


Sounds great. We shall be up there soon for a couple of weeks and I am very much looking forward to doing something very similar.
Roadsterstu

A good TLGP is a very satisfying thing indeed. "Winning" isn't always important, sometimes the satisfaction just comes from a couple of nice-sounding engines being wrung out.
PG

Roadsterstu wrote:
A good TLGP is a very satisfying thing indeed. "Winning" isn't always important, sometimes the satisfaction just comes from a couple of nice-sounding engines being wrung out.


Indeed.
Stuntman

Agreed too!
Clunes

Sounds satisfying - what's the power to weight difference between the M3 and yours?

I'd expect them to be close to start but once well above legal speeds for the power of yours to steadily, and fairly easily, gap the M3 but That's based on nothing other than gut feel
Big Blue

I think the M3 would do mine if I'm honest but once we get over 250kph the Gorilla leaves the M3 banging on its limiter whilst 303kph looms......

Roadsterstu

Stuntman wrote:
Agreed too!


The one that springs to mind was on the way to Prescott with V8  M3, ZT260 and V6 Mondeo ST.  I wish I could have watched that from the roadside!
Stuntman

It sprang to my mind as well!
Big Blue

Clunes wrote:
Sounds satisfying - what's the power to weight difference between the M3 and yours?



Finally did this maths. Mine is 254.77 bhp/tonne and the M3 is 250.15

The newer B5 BiT is 271.36 and the newest 301.50 assuming the weight is the same. That's collosal.
Roadsterstu

Fantastic!
PG

Big Blue wrote:
Clunes wrote:
Sounds satisfying - what's the power to weight difference between the M3 and yours?



Finally did this maths. Mine is 254.77 bhp/tonne and the M3 is 250.15

The newer B5 BiT is 271.36 and the newest 301.50 assuming the weight is the same. That's collosal.


I wonder of BMW ever quietly say to themselves, "how TF can we end this contract with Alpina?"............
Martin

Why?  I bet they're perfectly happy with the relationship.

The B5 is a different proposition to the M5 despite both having a very similar power to weight number and I don't think I've read any road test that doesn't think the M5 is the better car, especially when it comes to handling.  I'm not suggesting the B5 isn't a very good car, I'm sure it is.
Frank Bullitt

Indeed, I suspect Alpina mean BMW can always offer the M models with a degree of rawness - no Alpina and I'd imagine the sort of people buying the Bx won't buy the Mx but get something with a x63 badge instead
Big Blue

Yeah a lot of the Facebook group have an M car and an Alpina but don't consider them even as competition. The B5 is not meant to brag about Nurburgring times like the M5 is and the clientele are different enough for the Alpina market to exist. The F10/11 B5 came before the M5 and had 507 bhp. Then the M5 came with 540 so the B5 got 540. Then the B5 edition 50 came along with 600 and guess what the run-out M5 has.....

Anyway, Tourings are where it's at: the next B5 Touring is already being developed and there will likely be no M5 touring. The Gorilla is hilarious fun but 200kph on the Autobahn is like sitting in the living room. And of course it takes a shitload of luggage.
gooner

You have to also remember that Alpina don't have the capacity to build enough cars to trouble M division.
PG

Well, that's me told then. I'll go and stand in the corner.

I'm clearly not a target M customer then. For me, Alpina make BMW-based cars better than BMW themselves and more desirable then the M badge does.

Alpina can even make a 7 series interesting, a job that BMW themselves have been failing to do for years and years.

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-revi...ves/2016-alpina-b7-biturbo-review


Martin

I've read that they've been given access to the new quad turbo diesel for the next D5.  It's just a shame that it will probably be too expensive for a 5 series (mainly due to no/limited discount), because a Touring in the right spec could well be ideal for me.  

A current D5 in the spec I would want, which is slightly more than I have now, would be over 80k, 30k more than a 535d in the same spec.
Frank Bullitt

PG wrote:
I'm clearly not a target M customer then. For me, Alpina make BMW-based cars better than BMW themselves and more desirable then the M badge does.


I agree but as Martin points out when you factor in the cost difference it's difficult to justify the Alpina, unless you travel to Germany and snap up a used one!
Martin

The B7 is a lovely thing but pretty much double the price of a 750i.   If 460hp isn't enough, I bet the M760Li will be a fair bit cheaper and that comes with a 600hp V12, 4WD and lashings of Merino leather.
gooner

Frank Bullitt wrote:
PG wrote:
I'm clearly not a target M customer then. For me, Alpina make BMW-based cars better than BMW themselves and more desirable then the M badge does.


I agree but as Martin points out when you factor in the cost difference it's difficult to justify the Alpina, unless you travel to Germany and snap up a used one!


Or you could look at it from another angle, which is that if it really is what you want and you are going to keep it for the longer term, I imagine it will be worth a boat load more at 10 years old than an equivalent 535d, which may also have cost you more money over that time as you will be more likely to have wanted to replace it than you might the Alpina. Assuming a global ban on using diesel in cars isn't in place by then of course!
Big Blue

Like I said, I don't think many Alpina customers see the two as competitors, more a different take on a similar product. Also if you're in the market for a new Alpina you're not really the type to be put off by a 40% price hike, especially as Alpinas don't really come with the kind of discount and manufacturers bonuses that BMWs come with.

Martin wrote:
I don't think I've read any road test that doesn't think the M5 is the better car, especially when it comes to handling.


I don't think I've ever read an M-car review that hasn't been written by a frothing Pistonheads contributor  Let me put it this way, the Gorilla handles really well and if I found anything like its "limit" I'd be well and truly dead. I'm not denying that an M5 probably handles better but I'm certain it won't ride better (Alpina still do their own suspension setting-up) and given the use I know which is the preferable trait, as do Alpina and their clientele.

There are two problems I have: M-Cars have moved a lot closer in ethos to Alpina as they have expanded the customer target area and Alpina will need to do something special to stay different enough if they are to stay valid. The car world has changed in 51 years since Alpina started and that it's survived this long is a symbol of how relationships can work. If BMW wasn't structured as it is then I think Alpina would be either owned or defunct by now rather than allowing some strange little car company to take its cars to bits and screw them together again, as well as sending bits to the factory to be placed during production.

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