When it comes to fast estate cars, BMW lags behind. Audi produces the monstrous A6 Avant, and Mercedes the 'bahnstorming E63 AMG, but the Bavarian manufacturer hasn't made an M5 Touring since 2007.
Enter Alpina, the exclusive German brand that's been building high-power, high-performance versions of BMW cars since 1962. And enter the B5 Bi-Turbo Touring, which lays down 600bhp from a twin-turbocharged V8. Alpina bills the B5 Bi-Turbo saloon as the cheapest way to join the 200mph club, with the Touring adding a healthy dose of practicality to that recipe.
See also: Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate
See also: BMW M5 first drive
The B5 Bi-Turbo Touring is based on the latest generation of BMW 5 Series, which benefits from over 100kg of weight loss compared with the outgoing model. Underneath the bonnet is an Alpina-tuned version of BMW's 4.4-litre V8 engine – not the unit from the new M5, but a similar one from the M550i.
Power lies at a whisker under 600bhp, while torque is 800Nm – put to the road through all four wheels. Alpina tunes the chassis itself, too – the B5 Bi-Turbo isn't as ferociously track-biased as the M5, with a softer set-up rather more suited to long-distance cruising.
As far as visual changes go, Alpina has given the B5 reprofiled bumpers front and rear, and a set of its iconic thin-spoked alloy wheels. Inside, it's very much up to the buyer, with the full range of BMW interior options on offer – as well as some of Alpina's own.
The Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo Touring is now on sale in the UK, with prices starting from £91,000 - £2,000 more than the saloon it's based on.