The BMW M8 isn’t a bad car. Far from it. It looks great, and it goes like hell both in a straight line and around corners. The problem is its identity is confused – as we said when driving the coupe and more recently the Gran Coupe, it’s too heavy to be called a sports car, but not wafty enough for grand tourer status either.
Alpina’s take on the ultimate 8-series, however, should be much more like it. The German company – which is more a fully-fledged manufacturer than a tuner – tends to prefer gearing its cars towards comfort rather than outright performance, while still keeping the power and capability nice and high.
A partially camouflaged test mule for its M8 has been spotted on and around the Nurburgring, given away by the trademark Alpina multi-spoke wheels. To go with the rims, there’s a redesigned rear bumper featuring a different tailpipe arrangement to both the M850i and the M8, plus a new splitter matched to what looks like a standard 8-series bumper at the front.
As is the Alpina way, an M850i will be the starting point, as opposed to the fire-breathing M8. That means there’ll be a 4.4-litre ‘N63’ V8 under the bonnet as opposed to M Divisions ‘S63’, but don’t fret – you won’t be left wanting in the power department.
It’ll likely be treated to the same powertrain modifications as the N63-powered B5, which means 613bhp and 590lb ft of torque. The B5 also has three new water coolers, Alpina intercoolers and a bigger transmission oil cooler, allowing it to sustain high speeds for extended spells. Expect all that to make its way onto the B8.
Judging by the B5 and other Alpina products, we’d anticipate similar pricing to that of an M8 Gran Coupe, which is £120,970 before options. Not cheap, then, but it will likely make a lot more sense than the M8. Will it be as good as a Porsche Panamera or Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door? We wouldn’t bet against it.
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