BMW M5 CS vs. BMW Alpina D5 S

Newton appetite! These two BMW 5 Series pile up monstrous mountains of torque - no less than 750 Nm high - and yet the character contrast between the two sedans could hardly be greater. Although...

Yes, of course, you are absolutely right. Possibly even a right. on what? On a neat quote from Isaac Newton. After this headline. But no, now on the L 1127, just as a semi-trailer truck is materializing in the windshield of the BMW Alpina D5 S, the marshmallow-soft leather of the steering wheel exhales a quote from old Confucius, of all things: "You don't appreciate the strength of a noble horse , but his character."

But then the right pedal falls into the floor mat, the three-liter straight-six engine unleashes its torque avalanche of 800 Newton meters, which falls on the eight-speed automatic transmission, which distributes the chunks to all four wheels, a large part of them to the rear, dimension 295/30-20. Growling bass slosh through the interior, the 1,951-kilogram sedan accelerates with maximum intensity. Confucius, you had no clue. This is about power, all power, and yes, a little bit about delivery. Because the D5 S is powered by a diesel masterpiece, which compresses the inhaled fresh air from three turbochargers (two of which work permanently) into the combustion chambers.

Brock 'n' Roll

No, esteemed BMW connoisseurs, the D5 S doesn't just add scraps to the table, but uses the electronic control of the quad turbo that was recently phased out at the parent company. In combination with the modified intake air routing, this should lead to optimal response and relatively high revving ability. That's even true, because although the unit does not significantly exceed 5,000 rpm, it revs remarkably spirited up to that point. For the record: four-four for zero hundred, 16.7 seconds to 200 km/h.

The crankshaft of the S63 engine in the M5 CS, on the other hand, wants more, can do more - of course. Under the beer tent roar. "Scandal in the restricted area", "Cordula Green", albeit in a discreet cotton coat, albeit audibly louder, more thunderous than the M5 Competition, because of the new exhaust system.

The V8 engine with a displacement of 4.4 liters develops a maximum of 750 Nm at practically the same speed as that of the Alpina engine (1,800 to 1,750 rpm). So both hesitate for a moment before going into the spin cycle. As soon as the virtual needle in the still very strange counter-rotating 12.3-inch display thingy hits the 2,000 mark, we're off. After all: From Sport mode onwards, the M still provides a clear speed scale. In contrast, in the Alpina: color accents in the traditional blue of the house. Also beautiful.

Where we are, there's romp

In any case, the engine with 635 hp crowns the CS as the most powerful of all series BMWs, ignites always and everywhere, wants to romp, turn, with tremendous ambition, my goodness.You fear that the pistons will soon get mixed up with their top and bottom dead centers. In striking numbers: 3.1 seconds for the standard sprint, in 10.2 seconds to 200 km/h. The two twin-scroll chargers (i.e. each with two parallel flow channels for feeding the exhaust gases separately to the turbine wheel, so that they do not interfere with each other during gas exchange and thus delay response) are located between the cylinder banks, which are at a 90-degree angle to stand by each other.

Things get hot in the bay, and the radiator often continues to run for a long time after it has been parked. Off? No way! run, drive. With both. Enjoy the power. Torque, a large chunk of torque, provided under combustion engine drama, as its climax, so to speak, but by no means as a retarding moment. Because even if the performance and torque curves threaten to flatten out: next gear.

Both have automatic transmissions with eight of them. Suffices. Sure, the CS makes more of a fuss about it. You just want to increase the shifting speed with the small button on the knobbly selector lever? Even the machine switches down earlier, stays longer in the lower gear. The youthful hero's appearance is permanent here, not just every few acts. Again and again: frenetic applause.

And the D5 S? Relaxed power. Like Smetana's "Moldau". Or System Of A Down's "Aerials", whatever music you prefer. The obviously wildest thing about him: the decorative stripes that you could unsubscribe from. But who would want that? After all, we're talking about an Alpina here, something like BMW's PhD subculture. Caught, Confucius, gradually character mingles with strength. Should you be right? In any case, the D5 S also crowns itself, namely the most powerful diesel BMW, because: 408 hp.

Soft and beautiful

Regardless of its soothing sound and that - again - incredibly soft leather steering wheel (there should be pajamas made of this material, but it could possibly have a disturbing effect on fellow human beings) he doesn't want to slip into the role of the peace-loving hero at all . Even on the long haul, you notice what was already surprising in other Alpinas of the current generation: the harsh response of the chassis to short bumps. Although the adaptive shock absorbers have the in-house Comfort+ mode, this allows the structure to oscillate very pronounced vertically without the initial shock being decisively filtered. In other words: the M5 CS does not spring too harshly either.

After that, however, it doesn't leave much room for comfort; Always striving for maximum body control, the 1,847-kilogram sedan rocks briefly, compressing the occupants slightly, as is typical of a sports car. Unpleasant? Not even. Probably also because expected. Actually even more long-distance than expected.

Which is certainly also due to the extroverted bucket seats, which grip firmly and thus relieve the muscles - which are then all the more challenged when getting in and out. This results in a wonderfully low seating position on the microfibre-covered steering wheel with the two red feelers, in which an individual set-up can be stored, mixed from the drive, chassis and control electronics characteristics.

Tradition destroyed

In the Alpina you can expect the idiosyncratic pushbuttons behind the spokes for manual gear changes on the steering wheel - Buchloer tradition since 1992. But instead: aluminum shift paddles, black, cool, classy. In addition, there is also the typical low seat position for the 5 series, but on the multi-adjustable comfort seats.

If it were now a question of promoting Bavarian colonialism, in the D5 S countries, oh what, continents could be measured without any problems. With a test consumption of 8.7 l/100 km, there weren't that many stops for fuel. With the M5 CS, however, all the more frequently (12.4 l/100 km), the radius of action is significantly restricted. Yes, the M wants to get away, away from the long freeway curves, wants to fight, show the sophistication of its adjustable four-wheel drive, impress with the tackiness of its Pirelli P Zero Corsa.

The developers adapted springs and dampers to the tires and the 48 kg lower weight compared to the base according to measured values ​​(14 kg less sound insulation alone, 11 kg due to the seat system, 7 kg due to CFRP body parts), with the aim of Self-steering behavior to learn maximum neutrality. And wow, the five-meter camera drives neutral. Longing. Fast. Always faster. Flawless asphalt, so dampers on "Sport+", minimal body movement. Four-wheel drive in standard mode, i.e. maximum precision. The rear pushes extremely late, very gently.

You grab the CS by the sausage wheel rim, unconsciously spread your elbows, M-typical wrestling, but with less sharp corners, which do not necessarily have a positive effect on the driving behavior of the current model generation. This M5 doesn't look for every little mistake you make to throw you straight to the mat. The variable all-wheel drive, the active differential, the tyres, of course, you don't brew an alcohol-free wheat beer with them, but rather a wheat beer, just not with the maximum volume percentage.

The CS gives you the little freedom to deal with the possible cornering speeds, announces with appropriate advance when the end is - in case of doubt, always later than expected. How he bites himself, how he pulls in front, pushes behind, how you sit inside him, tightly connected, waiting for the next braking and turning point, oh, may it never stop. Or maybe yes? Send the control electronics on vacation, the front drive shafts too, 2WD mode.Now the 285 rear wheels alone are busy with 750 Nm, there are small beads of sweat (on the driver) because they don't know what they are doing (the rear wheels). Third gear drifts on our favorite handling course, hey, it gets pretty tight.

Location-finding disorder?

And is it possibly the completely wrong place for the Alpina? no way! Of course, the 20-inch wheels on forged rims alone are not enough, you still need new springs, modified adaptive dampers and a degree of negative camber on the front axle, on the rear axle a mechanical limited-slip differential and a specific tuning of the xDrive all-wheel drive. Then, yes, then the big diesel car can be shooed extremely casually over the narrow course, but at an almost frightening angle.

Yes, compared to the CS, there are rough seas in the D5, but it moves towards you, communicates with you, gives in with commitment, bravely grips. Manual gear changes are recommended in order to drive more torque, i.e. switch gears at around 4,500 rpm. The haptics of the paddles, the reaction and shifting times of the gearbox – that too: perfectly composed, an extremely fast workflow without hiccups. Then bubbling bass again when accelerating out, braking early for the next curve, to the point, no negligence here, clear pressure point, constant deceleration of 11.4 m/s² (the CS does not exceed 11.8 m/s² despite the radical tires out). Rather slow run-in speed, then hit the gas early. No wrestling, no finger wriggling, but self-evident superiority.

Three-weather detention

Yes, Confucius, there you have your character. And if you now deliberately give too much fire, the rear axle doesn't take long to ask, allowing the torque to convert the 295 tires from static to sliding friction. Incidentally, this happens just as calmly as it reads, honestly. Which in turn is considered typical of the handling of the all-wheel drive models from the small series manufacturer: like a rear-wheel drive vehicle, only with significantly more traction. A skilfully played billiard ball instead of pinball, a shooting star instead of fireworks - impressive without much fuss. How seriously the D5 S takes agility is shown by the fact that, with sports tires that are more suitable for everyday use and stability control deactivated, it schuhplattelt almost three km/h more slowly through the 18-meter slalom than the CS.

So while the M5 is more comfortable than expected on long-haul routes, the Alpina is more agile over the handling course than expected. Well, then a Newton quote fits: "You have to make the rules, not follow them." However, the focus of both 5 Series is the power of the drives, their chemical-physical independence, the character that puts everything in the hands of the driver. The character. Damn. So Confucius was right after all. A little bit at least.


In this world of abstruse performance values, which every moderately talented electric car squeezes out of the copper windings of its motors, the two BMWs are particularly enjoyable: the combination of power and emotion. As a result, agility and even utility value are added in different forms. Even with the M5 CS, it doesn't take much imagination to imagine a common car everyday. The D5 S, on the other hand, is characterized by its efficiency, which only it brings so skilfully out of the dark corner of pure reason with dynamic handling. So full marks for both. Without table.


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