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2022 BMW ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe

2022 Alpina B8 Gran Coupe Review: Top of Its Class

The B8 might just be the best BMW you can buy. Full stop.

You know a Bentley when you see one, and it's pretty hard to miss a Rolls-Royce as it floats up and down city streets. Most luxury cars make no attempt to blend in, and that's part of the appeal, or so we're led to believe. But what if you wanted something different. Something that's nearly as excellent as the Rollers and Bentleys of the world, but without all the "look at me!" attitude. What do you spend all that spare cash on? Might we suggest the 2022 BMW Alpina B8.

Even though the B8 is technically a product of a tuning company that has a close relationship with BMW, the Bavarian brand recently took full ownership of Alpina. That the head honchos at BMW would buy it outright shows just how much confidence they have in Alpina. The B8 is not a fully fledged BMW (it's actually quite a bit more than that), and only those who really know know. That kind of under-the-radar attitude only makes it more special, and that's exactly what our $148,095 test car was.

 2022 BMW ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe

For starters, just look at it. It's longer than a standard Range Rover and its roofline is an inch shorter than the current Civic's. The result of those proportions is something that looks like it's humming along at 130 mph even when standing still. The 8 Series Gran Coupe this car builds on is a pretty car. The Alpina B8 is a gorgeous one, with an air of the classic BMWs we keep saying we want back. The deep metallic finish of the paintwork and Alpina's signature 20-spoke wheels only add to the car's curb appeal — you could look at it for hours and no one would blame you for being late to work.

Once you finally mop up all your drool and get going, the powertrain becomes just as phenomenal as the way it looks. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 612 horsepower (89 more hp than the BMW M850i) and 590 lb-ft of torque, the most twisting force of any modern BMW. Drool some more. Waves of luscious torque carry you from one gear to the next. It may not be as quick as some EVs, but the bassy burble of the Alpina-specific stainless steel exhaust out back makes eviscerating gaps in traffic feel special.

 2022 BMW ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe

Long, straight stretches of highway are the B8's home turf, but it doesn't get frazzled when you show it some corners. Its considerable mass is controlled well, and the standard rear-wheel steering helps the car feel shorter and more nimble than an almost 17-foot-long land yacht like this should. The nose dives into corners competently and the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system helps shoot you out of them with just a little wiggle at the back for a bit of extra theater. It's not bristling with life the same way an M8 Competition would be, but what it lacks in outright grip it more than makes up for in grace and pace.

Instead of being focused on making a 2.5-ton barge handle, Alpina put a real focus on making sure the B8 will happily haul you and three of your closest friends along in real luxury. It chases after speed limits the way a Greyhound chases a hare — no sweat. Almost certainly tuned for autobahns we don't have the liberty of experiencing here in the States, BMW says it will carry on all the way to 201 mph. We don't doubt that figure for a second.

 2022 BMW ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe

But the way it carries itself to any speed is what makes it different. It's a smooth operator, and so refined and quiet inside, you occasionally look down at the speedometer and go, "Oh, how'd that happen?" The powertrain and the car itself both have a long-legged, grand-touring quality to them that's typically reserved for the Bentleys and Aston Martins of the world. Munich to Milan in no time at all, and you'll get out at the end of your 306-mile journey just as fresh as you were when you started. Because, just like those aforementioned super grand tourers, the B8 is a fantastic place to be.

Every touch point has a bank-vault-like solidity to it. The steering wheel is wrapped in Lavalina leather (Rolls-Royce is the only other automaker to use it), the heated and cooled seats are plush and adjustable more than a dozen ways, the headliner is trimmed in luscious Alcantara, and it is always whisper quiet inside. The gauges in the digital instrument cluster have a Alpina-specific blue hue to them, and the Alpina roundel only appears twice in the interior — in the center of the steering wheel and on a little plaque in the center console — as a way to remind you of the importance of subtlety.

For once, there are no cracks in the facade, no little issues that dilute the experience. The B8 is one or two cuts above anything else BMW will sell you right now. It's just that the B8 is reserved only for those who are really in the know, and that alone might be reason enough to buy one.

 2022 BMW ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe

Edmunds says

If only we had a spare $150,000 lying around ...