derBayerische July/August 2023 - 30

T H E
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for the BMW 1500. This carburetor gave the 1500 the performance of the
1800, which was well received by both the automotive press and BMW's then
VP of sales. In 1964, BMW certified the quality of this Alpina product by
awarding BMW vehicles fitted with the Alpina system a full factory guarantee.
The BMW faithful appreciated the legendary 1970s era BMW-Alpina 3.0
CSL race teams. In addition to the 1972 " Batmobile " , Niki Lauda took pole
position in the 1973 Six Hours of Nürburgring in an orange BMW Alpina
coupé, setting a new lap record of 8:21.3 minutes. In that same car, Lauda
won the 24-hour race on the Nordschleife.
I have also had the opportunity to drive the M8 Gran Coupe and I would
like to compare it to the Alpina. The major differences between the Alpina B8
and the M8 seem to be in the suspension and in the engine.
The M8 Gran Coupe has an all-aluminum dual-wishbone front suspension
and five-link rear suspension. The bushings are mostly made of a
specific kind of non-rubber elastomer for more stiffness, resulting in
directness and more harshness. In the now standard Competition trim, the
springs are ten percent stiffer, which
includes a progressive spring rate
for extra stiffness under heavy
loads, making the vehicle sit a
quarter of an inch lower. Stiffer
engine mounts, spherical rear toe
links, a bit more front negative
camber, and extensive chassis
bracing complete the M8
Competition suspension.
The Alpina B8 features a
specially tuned sport suspension
that is designed to provide a " firstclass
long-distance ride comfort
with precise handling characteristics. "
It features Eibach springs,
reinforced sway bars, stiffer lower
wishbone mounts and front axle
struts with hydro mounts.
While both feature the now
proven 4.4-liter V-8, the M8
Competition engine produces 617
horsepower and 553-foot lbs. of torque while the B8 engine produces 612
horsepower and 590-foot lbs. of torque. Incidentally, the 4.4-liter V-8 engine
in the M850i produces 523 horsepower and 553-foot lbs. or torque.
Both the exhaust systems and the interior designs showcase the
■ Less horsepower but more torque than the engine in the M8.
A L P I N A
B 8
the now proven Carbon Core design; a design methodology that makes
extensive use of a unique combination of carbon fiber, aluminum, and highstrength
steel. Engineering these materials into the chassis design creates an
extremely lightweight, rigid, and safe structure. The resulting chassis is very
stiff, which improves handling by reducing chassis flex. The resulting
top weight reduction lowers the vehicle's center of gravity, further improving
handling.
While not the only German automaker to offer a gran coupe, I've made
no secret of my admiration of BMW's seductive gran coupe design. Whether
on the 4, the 6, or now the 8, Adrian Van Hooydonk has made sure the BMW's
gran coupe designs maintain timeless design cues. Launched in 2011 with
the 6 Series, the design still looks fresh. It's for that reason that I discussed
with both Dr. Willisch and Mr. Von Hooydonk the use of the gran coupe
design exclusively for the 7 Series. In my opinion, the gran coupe design was
the logical successor to the groundbreaking E32 and E38 7-series.
For some reason, both the current Mercedes and Audi gran coupe
designs have lost all definition and
substance. In my humble opinion,
they both now look like well-used
bars of soap.
The gran coupe design does
result in compromised rear passenger
room and truck capacity, which
could be the reason why BMW
decided to offer both a much more
upright 7 Series as well as a
premium gran coupe. While waiting
for the parking valet to deliver
the B8, I stood next to a stuffy
seeming individual who also
was waiting for his vehicle. Our
vehicles were delivered simultaneously
- his was a new 7 Series.
So, there must be enough of a
market for BMW to maintain two
types of premium luxury sedans.
The crystal shift lever sets the
premium luxury tone for the B8's
interior design. The cream-colored leather seats, carpeting, and door panels
provide an airy, upscale look. However, I do question the wisdom of light
beige floor mats.
The driver's position is simply outstanding. One easily finds an ideal
differences in emphasis.
The M8 Competition features a balanced, lightweight exhaust system
that has sound enhancement - with a range from full racing to quiet neighborhood
driving. The Alpina B8 features a tuned stainless steel free flow
exhaust system that produces a refined performance V-8 sound.
The M8 Competition interior, exudes performance with M Carbon seats,
red controls, carbon fiber trim, and M-badging. The B8, with its crystal
shifter knob and subdued tones, connote an upscale timeless level
of high class.
Both feature unique wheels and badging. The major difference being a
rather large ALPINA badge on the lower edge of the front air dam (be VERY
careful with high curbs and high parking lot concrete stops). Both are very
desirable performance luxury vehicles.
As with the 5 Series and 7 Series, " ultimate " gran coupe models feature
30
driving position, with outstanding driver vision and all controls ergonomically
placed. The front passenger area is just as comfortable.
As a nod to the smaller interior, the rear passenger space is optimized
for two. The seats are very comfortable, with individual climate controls, seat
heaters, and rear shades to make an accommodating riding environment.
It was so comfortable that during Interstate drives, both rear passengers were
lulled to sleep.
There is a third center-mounted seat belt, but we never took up that
challenge.
While not cavernous, the B8's rear trunk easily accommodated a week's
worth of luggage for four people - two being teenage girls.
The outstanding Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System
added to the luxury ambiance in both an auditory and visual sense. When
on, the speakers produced both an outstanding premium sound and
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derBayerische July/August 2023

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derBayerische July/August 2023 - Intro
derBayerische July/August 2023 - Cover1
derBayerische July/August 2023 - Cover2
derBayerische July/August 2023 - 1
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derBayerische July/August 2023 - Cover3
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