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Cactussed

E61 M5 vs e39 B10 V8 - My impressions

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Drivetrain.

If we get the obvious out of the way, the M5 is faster.  That said, the V10 needs to be worked to make it go.  The V8 is tractable from idle all the way to 6k rpm.  Above 4k, the V10 runs away comprehensively, however the combination of big V8 and auto box means you can mash the throttle off the line and it just squats and goes.  The M5 needs a more gentle approach (unless you have unlimited funds for clutch and gearbox replacements).  

 

I like the SMG.  It clunks about and makes you think about what you're doing.  It takes skill and practice to drive well and I enjoy it.  The B10 auto with paddle shifters is very quick to shift and is miles better around town.  Way better.  You'd pick the M5 for a sunday morning blast but the combination of low down torque and gearbox makes the B10 arguably better as an everyday car IMHO.

 

The B10 has averaged 20mpg over all the years I've owned it, and can easily hit 30 on a run.  The M5 struggles to see 25 on a run and averages mid teens.  As an ownership proposition, the B10 gives you a level of affordable luxury, exclusivity, rarity and dare I say it, class, that the M5 will never approach.  (again, all in my opinion).  It really is the gentlemans express, the iron fist in the velvet glove.

 

Looks

Subjective.  But thus far I prefer the B10.  There, I said it.  Maybe its because I've had it so long, but I still turn and look at it and think its a handsome car.  The M5 is just big (which is what I need with 2 kids) but its a bit gopping if I'm honest.  

 

Ride, handling and comfort

Tricky.  The M5 is newer and with the LSD and active suspension, it rides an handles well.  That said, with the work I've done on the B10, it rides equally well.  It really needs an LSD.  I'd be happy crossing a continent in either.  Where the B10 wins hands down is the seats.  They are 400x more comfy for my frame than the M5, active bolsters or otherwise.  I'd put the B10 seats into the M5 in a heartbeat if I could.  I can do 10 hours in the Alpina and feel fresh.  The m5 is more tiring and less comfortable.  So actually, I'd choose the B10 for a long drive for comfort and economy (who'd have thought a 4.6 V8 would win an economy battle).

 

Build quality

Again, maybe its an e39 thing, but it feels like you could drive it through a brick wall and not even notice. The M5 is well screwed together but somehow feels more flimsy?  Maybe its the use of lightweight materials?  Again, the interior materials in the Alpina feel of higher quality than the M5.  I know Alpina take it all apart and reassemble, but by god they do a good job.

 

Ergonomics

I'm sure I'll get used to the idrive, but again having all the controls to hand on the B10 is great.  How many times have I adjusted the upper cabin temperature?  Far easier on a mechanical dial than through 3 sub menus.  

 

Space

M5 wins simply because its a wagon.  Its been to the tip, the hardware and playgroup.  It takes car seats, prams, travel cots and luggage.  Its perfect for what I need.

 

Re-reading the above, it makes me wonder why I'm selling the old girl.  Truth be told, I need more space and that V10 is addictive.  It needs to be because in many other ways, the B10 is the better car.  I'd be curious to try a B5 but that will have to wait.

 

I'll put an ad up soon enough (or the wife will kill me), but maybe I'll run them both just a little longer....

 

I'll get round to putting it up for sale 

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Great thread, very interesting to read, always wanted an Alpina but could not afford one! Good luck with the sale and hope your old girl will end up in loving and care taking hands!

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A PO of my B10 V8 Touring went straight to an E61 B5 Touring and he has privately said that (with very common tones towards Cactussed's comments about ultimate speed, ergonomics, interior quality, all round ability and ease of use) that he thinks the B10 was the better all round car.

Although personally I would have to choose my E34 B10 4.6 Touring over the E39 B10....... but only down to looks and rarity. Fleet reduction may mean my E39 B10 has to find a new home this summer, as well as the 635CSi.

Which car would you sell if the M5 were a saloon and the B10 a Touring?

Which car would you be selling if they were both Tourings? ;)

Edited by sharkfan

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That's a no brainer.  If the B10 were a Touring then I'd have kept it and not bothered with the M5.  

 

Sadly however, practicality means I needed the additional space and Alpina V8 tourings are even rarer than M5 versions. I've never even seen a B5 T for sale?

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Most rare Alpina's are snapped up before they even get advertised, especially Tourings. There were four E61 B5 Tourings and just one B5S Touring in rhd - very limited numbers compared to the E61 M5 Touring in rhd.

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I think I bought it in late 2010?  Trying to recall exactly.  

Oh, found the lumbar adjustment in the M5 so its a lot more comfy now, but the B10 seats are still better in my opinion.

V10 is proving epic.  Love the noise!

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Interesting comparison, how much money difference re price of B10 including work and costs of V10 , not interested in realism if say £6- 7k tied up in the B10 and how much needs to be tied up in the V10, loads I would guess, its always a problem for me as I cannot justify buying nearly new and always go for the older quality (maybe with problems) car.

 

Hence me now running the Alpina B10 E39, and I totally agree with the quality and at present day values the Alpina B10 4.6 represents an excellent choice and I can really see the appeal of the B10 V8 tourings.

 

just musings really.

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I enjoyed the comparison and I fully concur re the B10 seats, especially with one bar showing on the heater switch .... toastie!

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On a whim (and following Raymond's inspirational links) I added the OEM lumbar supports to the sports seats in my B10 V8 to make them even more comfortable.

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There was a point at which was considering an E61 B5 Touring or E61 M5 Touring and whilst I might have stretched to buy them I just knew I would have insufficient Bork fund for when they go wrong.

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On a whim (and following Raymond's inspirational links) I added the OEM lumbar supports to the sports seats in my B10 V8 to make them even more comfortable.

This sounds like a good idea, how easy was it to get the necessary bits?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Just seen Catcussed's advert on Classic and Sports Car - looks lovely and a very well presented advert. I'd have this if my current journey to work wasn't stop start for 40 miles.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk and baad speeling

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This sounds like a good idea, how easy was it to get the necessary bits?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Easy enough to get the bits..... quite tricky and lost a fair amount of knuckle skin fitting them.

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Interesting.The ALPINA recipe is a well kept secret for most.  I sold my B10 V8 saloon and now have an LCI 535D touring as I couldn't find a 550i touring. I needed the extra space to move my kit around and for occasional dogs. I absolutely loved my ALPINA.  I like the extra space, and the extra fuel economy (about 38mpg now instead of 25) from the 535d, but I so miss the V8 petrol engine! As the op says it is so tractable at any speed, and it makes SUCH a lovely noise. Instead I now have a well mannered tractor engine up front, which if I am lucky I don't hear, but when I am pulling away from a start I curse it every time. I have remapped it so it has around 350 bhp and 500 ft/lb torque which makes it practically as fast as the ALPINA, but the way it delivers the power is so much less satisfying that I rarely now find myself giving it a bootfull just for the fun of it.

 

And the seats! I have the sport seats in the 535d, they were so appalling I had the dealer replace all the seat foam which had partially collapsed, this made little difference as there is no lumbar support worth talking about. I did the trick I read about somewhere of taking the back off the drivers seat and stuffing a rolled up tea towel behind the springs, which has improved the seat substantially and now makes it bearable.It still feels like I am wearing someone elses suit that is three sizes too big for me.  In contrast the ALPINA had Recarro seats with inflatable lumbar which I understand were hugely expensive extras, but my god they were fantastic. I could get out after a 6 hour journey with no problem, and yet they had no springs in them and wrapped right around you so really connected you to the car. In contrast the standard sport seats on the 535d are full of springs so I wobble like a blancmange and feel totally disconnected from the car, why on earth do they do it?

 

I am going to have to go back to V8 (10 or 12?) power one day with decent seats, there just aren't many touring options available.

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Hi,

That is the problem with Alpina tourings there's not many about!

I imagine the BMW touring to saloon production is a small proportion of each other and then Alpina production is a small proportion of that!

There's only 10 facelift e39 tourings for a start...

But you're right the Alpina attention to detail makes a fantastic base car absolutely amazing.

Cheers,

Gavin :)

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Well its been a few months now and I still miss the old B10 for all the reasons above.

 

M5 is still epic, although I am now finding it all a bit muted, so some exhaust work is going to happen soon.  Every owner I've spoken to has said that its all about the V10 ownership so I'm going to try and enhance that a bit. 

 

Fuel and oil consupmtion have been interesting.  It's used a litre of oil since I bought it, which isn't catastrophic.  Took it to France for our family holiday recently and averaged around 24mpg on the motorway and 19 total for the trip, including blasting around the countryside.  Not brilliant by any stretch but acceptable for the performance I think.  Probably 5mpg wose than we managed on a near identical trip in the B10 2 years ago (although this time with a lot more stuff, having 2 kids instead of 1).

 

I've come to the conclusion that its not so much the poor MPG that irks me so much as the stupidly small tank, which feels like it needs constant filling up.  

The Pano roof is just brilliant and the stero is decent also. 

 

A feature I wanted which I subsequently never use is the TV function.  Its a novelty that just doen't get any use. 

 

I also recently discovered that:

- the centre arm rest moves (well, the bit nearest the driver) which is v handy on a long drive; and

- in auto mode, adjusting the shift speed alters the gear it sets off in and also where and when it shifts.  Makes auto mode actually useful.

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