BMW M6 Gran Coupe vs Alpina B6 Gran Coupe: What Makes them Different?

This week, Alpina’s latest addition to the line-up got its first TV commercial. It’s rather short but it shows you what you’ve been missing if you didn’t keep up with the latest products from the German manufacturer.
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Photo: Original image by autoevolution
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Looking at it and the specs the B6 Gran Coupe Biturbo xDrive brags with, we figured that this is more than just a company’s attempt to improve an already acclaimed model. This might very well be a worthy rival for BMW’s M6 Gran Coupe, a car developed by the all-mighty Motorsport division. To the untrained eye, the Alpina makes a lot more sense but there’s more to the two than just the surface. Therefore, we decided to go deep and tell you all about the two cars and what sets them apart.

Based on the 650i Gran Coupe, the Alpina B6 was never meant to be a rival for the M6. However, thanks to all-wheel-drive and a revised transmission along with an extremely torquey engine, things turned out differently.

The standard BMW on which it is based uses the N63 4.4-liter V8 twin-turbocharged engine making 450 HP and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) of torque. Under the supervision of the engineers in Buchloe it was taken up to 540 HP and 730 Nm (538 lb-ft) of torque. Therefore, the B6 has 50 Nm (32 lb-ft) of torque more than the M6 Gran Coupe and 20 HP less. Could it possibly be faster than the Bimmer?

Well, if the car would’ve been left to the rear-wheel drive setup BMW wanted in the first place, no. The M6 Gran Coupe uses a dual-clutch 7-speed gearbox that’s faster than the 8-speed automatic on the Alpina and has a chassis specially prepared by the Motorsport division. Those two alone would’ve made up for the lack in torque.

Unfortunately for BMW, the newcomer uses xDrive, and sends its power to all four corners of the car. That translates to added traction in a drag race and towards the higher end of the rev band. In consequence, the B6 Gran Coupe xDrive is 0.3 seconds faster (3.9 seconds vs 4.2) than the M6 Gran Coupe and has a higher top speed as well, rated at 318 km/h (197 mph) compared to the electronically lmited 250 km/h (155 mph) of the F06.

However, the two models cannot be compared only from a performance point of view. Sure, the Buchloe creation is faster in a straight line but start swerving and you’ll immediately see the differences and where the M magic starts to happen.

Alpina usually takes a holistic approach when tuning their cars. They increase the power and torque output but they also take care of the suspension and the brakes to make sure you don’t put yourself or others in danger. Even so, they cannot come close to the fine tuning BMW does on its M cars.

On a track, the B6 would fall short in comparison but it would hold its own with dignity. On the other hand, you get even more luxury and bespoke options inside the less agile car than in the M6. Inside an Alpina you get their trademark blue instrument panels, their badges all over (including on the seatbacks) and the Lavalina leather which is in a league of its own (at least according to them).

Last, but not least, you cannot miss out on the design details that set the two apart. While the BMW has a menacing look with a CFRP roof that sheds some weight, big rotors all around, an aggressive front bumper and mean look-looking rear one, the B6 talks about class.

It starts off from the M Sport version of the Gran Coupe and then adds a bit of Alpina style to it. Up front, added aerodynamic parts make the bumper wider while the big ‘ALPINA’ name stuck to it lets you know exactly what you’re dealing with from the start.

Round the back, the boot lid gets a big spoiler while the diffuser changes its look and houses four tailpipes. Of course, the nameplates are also there. However, probably the biggest indicator that this is not a BMW are the wheels, done in typical Alpina Turbine style and measuring 20 inches in diameter.

Price wise, the two are extremely close and, depending on the market, the Alpina is usually less expensive. For example, in Germany, the B6 Gran Coupe starts at €126,500 while the M6 Gran Coupe is €2,300 less. On the other hand, in the US, the BMW is cheaper by $1,600.

Even so, the two are aiming at different crowds. If you want a powerful, stylish car that you probably won’t ever take to the track, get the Alpina. If you really think that a four-door coupe could be tracked and favor a more aggressive styling go for the M6 Gran Coupe. The price difference between them probably won’t matter anyway.
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