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Alpina B4 Biturbo versus Mercedes E 500 Coupé: Alpina waddles Mercedes off

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Alpina B4 Biturbo versus Mercedes E 500 Coupé
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N sedans count coupés, so to speak to the long-playing records in the music collection of the automotive society, which has meanwhile been heavily digitized by crossover concepts - or to the portafilter machines in the fully automatic espresso world, depending on your preference. In any case, there is still no rational reason for them, because they are still characterized by less utility for more money.

But since when has sport auto been taking care of such disdainful, rational things? Just. However, neither the Alpina still count the Mercedes to the riot guys of the scene, stay half a step behind the Ms and AMGs - a little more subtle, a little quieter. Although: The Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé has stately 20-inch wheels and a sports exhaust system with four polished tailpipes.

Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé with 600 Nm torque

So be it, at least if the driving characteristics keep what the optics promise. And how they do it. The Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé already waddles off skeptics when the comparatively flat measurement of the longitudinal acceleration takes place, for whom the power output of the three-liter engine seemed to be overdone and the in-line six-cylinder seemed too squeezed. After all, Alpina makes the effort and has a new crankshaft housing specially made for the N55 engine, which is known to only have a twin-scroll turbocharger, in order to achieve double charging.

As soon as the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé takes off, however, all of a sudden it doesn't matter, abstractly and theoretically, because the B4 jumps out of the block with almost no delay, scrolls evenly through the rev range - through the very broad rev range. Over 7,000 revolutions? But of course. Then quickly snap into the next gear of the modified eight-speed automatic, everything at the beginning. The three-liter unit responds quickly, the two loaders whistling audibly, which fits a bit with the decorative, lightly spoiled appearance that fans love Alpina.

The unit delivers the maximum torque of 600 Newton meters comparatively late 3,000 revolutions, only because of this the naturally aspirated revving makes sense. And does it stay dark in the speed basement? Oh well, because the homogeneous power delivery snaps together with the imCompared to the Mercedes, the shorter gear ratio of the drive when the light is turned on helps the all-wheel-drive BMW derivative to fire from a standstill to 100 km /h in 4.2 seconds in 4.2 seconds, and 200 km /h are reached in 15.2 seconds.

Six-cylinder hits the mechanical engineering pitch

Yes, of course the six-cylinder engine of the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé is threatening , then turns hoarse, hitting exactly the right mechanical engineering pitch, is never exhausting - and never seems exhausted, at least until the Benz rolls to the start. When the E-Coupé, which is actually based on the C-Class, pushes, then it does so with the power of lush displacement, enriched by two turbochargers. Although it does not top the maximum torque of the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé at 600 Newton meters, the two motors differ in character about as much as Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, like roast beef with dumplings and salad with strips of turkey breast.

Mercedes E 500 the only true German Muscle Car

Almost casually, perhaps even a little cocky, the eight-cylinder stomps away, plows quietly through the lower speed range, then thunders its voice beyond 4,500 rpm, but only to let you know that you should spare it from everything else.

The Mercedes unit cultivates mechanical engineering in the best possible way, in which displacement is a defining factor, making the E 500 the only true one at the moment German muscle car. However, since the V8 struggles with a longer overall gear ratio and the higher mass to be moved, it has to give up in direct comparison: When sprinting to 100 km /h, seven tenths of a second pass, at 200 km /h the gap is half a second Second on the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé.

Perhaps the best-or-nothing empire will strike back when a couple of pylons or even a racetrack throw themselves in front of the huge front apron of the Mercedes E 500 Coupé? After all, adaptive dampers with two different characteristics - sport and comfort - are part of the standard equipment. But the Mercedes E 500 Coupé is not disturbed by this in the comparison test, dynamism or even hecticness leaves it to others.

As soon as the rear-wheel drive Mercedes E 500 Coupé is challenged, it begins to understeer early, loses itself in pronounced Rolling and rolling movements. The somewhat hesitant steering does not even bother us, because it works reliably and always offers proper feedback. Rather, it is due to the very conservatively chosen basic set-up, which robs the Mercedes of better agility.

Constant understeer in the Mercedes E 500 Coupé

On the short course in Hockenheim he is actually permanently understeering, be it upthe brake or under load. Oversteer power? Yes, of course, this is possible at any time, although the ESP cannot be switched off completely. Therefore, you have to drive very cleanly below the control threshold for a decent lap time, but this leads to the fact that the front wheels are constantly begging for the end of the ordeal. In addition, the seven-speed automatic transmission complies with the usual sluggish manual shift commands, which also robs agility, even when shifting gears are seldom required due to the performance characteristics. Presumably, none of this would seem so dramatic to the E-Class driver if the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé didn't give him a bloody nose in the comparison test.

Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé with limited-slip differential

Although the suspension setup is not a bully, the Alpina B4 immediately finds its line, which it follows steadfastly and precisely. Additionally stabilized, the adaptive dampers modified again - and a four-series BMW drives like it should actually do from the start.

Yes, of course, the test car can also rely on the optional all-wheel drive, a mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle also secures it. Nevertheless, the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé weighs 47 kilograms less than the Mercedes E 500 Coupé and loads the front axle with 53.3 percent of its total mass (E 500: 55.8 percent). As if it weren't driving around anywhere else all day, the Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé shoots almost neutrally over the racetrack, takes the accelerator again early on in the bends, noticeably pushes with the rear, so drives almost like a high-traction rear-wheel drive car.

In addition, the steering reacts more spontaneously, the transmission anyway. Only its fiddly, Alpina-typical switch buttons on the back of the spokes have survived in the meantime - the BMW paddles are more ergonomic. Otherwise, the driver is happy about the low seating position, the wide adjustment range of the strong lateral support seats and the steering wheel, is annoyed at most about the reduced headroom due to the sliding roof and the not neatly fitted additional display.

Alpina B4 Biturbo Coupé stands out from E 500

But please don't fret too much, you'd better do a few more laps. And again: braking to the point - deceleration performance and stability remain consistently at a good level. Turn on the brakes, turn on the tap early, counter-steer minimally, enjoy the hoarse sound, get out on the straight. Oh yes, get out. Outside, on this side of the normal everyday street life, the Mercedes shows the greatest sovereignty of its cultivated drive.

And what else? Yes, not much else happens. Even with the less sport auto -related criteria such as suspension comfort and fuel consumption, the Mercedes E 500 does not make a stab, even when it comes to the space it has to offerlet them put in their place. Admittedly, the chassis is a little more sensitive to uneven floors, which can also be due to the size and make of the tire.

And yes, its seats also have pleasantly firm upholstery, sufficient adjustment options and brave lateral support. But it is always the wonderful V8 that magically attracts attention, that rests in itself to flatten most opponents on the highway with its chunk of torque if necessary. The more sympathy points the engine gets, the more it becomes apparent that the trappings are not right.

The Alpina, on the other hand, accepts almost every challenge, even a few fast laps on the racetrack without constantly teasing, demanding or irritating. In addition to the emotional aspects, the rational ones speak for him - regardless of the irrational, albeit pretty coupé dress.


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