2017 BMW ALPINA B6 Gran Coupe Review
Pros & Cons
- Scintillating power and acceleration from the turbocharged V8 engine
- All-wheel drive provides sure-footed stability
- Supreme cornering grip doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort
- Lavishly trimmed and equipped interior
- Coupe shape compromises backseat accommodations
- Some may find the styling enhancements too subtle for the price tag
Edmunds' Expert Review
You know your commute is going to be interesting any time you're piloting a vehicle with an engine that generates this much power. The extra torque unearthed by Alpina's engine magicians, channeled through all four wheels, hurtles the B6 towards the horizon at a deceiving rate of speed. But even with 600 hp relentlessly streaming from under the Alpina's far-reaching hood, it's the exquisite balance of the B6's suspension that has us singing its praises.
The combination of active suspension damping and active roll stabilization are key ingredients in the Alpina B6's magnificent cornering grip. And happily, this doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort. Credit goes to Alpina engineers, that despite using 20-inch wheels and low-profile summer tires, were able to calibrate a suspension to provide excellent ride characteristics and competent handling. And because it's driver-adjustable, if you encounter particularly rugged roads, you're able to dial up a softer setting to improve comfort. Sure, due to the Alpina's size and weight it may not have been born to rule the twisty back roads, but as an all-around performer, it's stunningly able.
Almost every interior surface of the 2017 Alpina B6 is trimmed with top-quality materials. The standard leather choices are luxurious and feature contrast stitching, with even more sumptuous fine-grain leathers as an extra-cost option. Special door sill plates and wood trim, elegant gauge faces with the Alpina logo and a dash plaque indicating a production number are the primary changes from the standard 6 Series Gran Coupe interior. The steering wheel (wrapped in unique, highly supple leather) is an Alpina-badged version of BMW's standard multifunction wheel, with buttons in place of the usual shift paddles.
The best seat in the house is directly behind the steering wheel. The B6 is clearly driver-focused, which is to say it's great for front-seat occupants and acceptable for passengers. The standard multicontour front seats offer adjustments to the thigh support, side bolsters and upper back, making it easy to find the perfect seating position. The front seats are set relatively low, perhaps to reinforce the notion of driving a coupe. Although the Alpina B6's rear seats are usable for adults, the backseat is more confining than a traditional sedan like BMW's 5 Series, on which the Alpina B6 is based. The low roof line creates a pleasing silhouette but eats into precious headroom and rear door opening space.
The 2017 Alpina B6 uses BMW's latest iDrive control interface that manages entertainment, navigation and phone functions, as well as various vehicle settings. The system is notable for its large 10.2-inch display, sharp graphics, fast processing times and logical menu structure, but you'll want to devote time to study the various features before you hit the road. In general, it takes a few more clicks and whirls of the iDrive controller dial to get what you want compared with the interfaces in competitors. Although the B6's iDrive doesn't have the 7 Series' touchscreen or trick gesture control, its control knob incorporates a touchpad by which you can draw letters and numerals with your finger on the controller's surface. The ceramic controls that come with the optional Executive package are magnificently dense and feel appropriately expensive.
With just 13.0 cubic feet of trunk capacity (unless you fold the rear seat), the Alpina B6 is best viewed as a traveling tool for two. The trunk lift-over is on the high side, so hoisting heavy bags into it can be a pain.