Fleet News

First Drive: BMW Alpina D5

BIK List Price
BMW 5 Series BIK list price
BIK Percentage
BMW 5 Series BIK Percent
BMW 5 Series CO2
Combined MPG
BMW 5 Series MPG


Performance has often taken a back seat when it comes to company cars, particularly as the regime of CO2 emissions has become increasingly punitive for thirsty cars.

Many drivers have become used to choosing diesel cars, and diesel car manufacturers have developed increasingly powerful engines.

For example, it’s now possible to choose a 313bhp diesel Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series as manufacturers have developed twin-turbo six-cylinder diesels.

But what if that isn’t enough? Currently 313bhp is about the limit from diesel executive saloons, and if you look to Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, the most that can be mustered by the XF and CLS is 275bhp and 265bhp respectively.

Senior executives who insist on a high-performance company car needn’t go down the petrol route and burden themselves with high benefit-in-kind tax bills (and their employer with high National Insurance contributions).

Alpina has been producing high-performance BMWs for many years. The D5 has a diesel enginge and is based on the BMW 5 Series but has a number of technical changes to the chassis and engine making it more rewarding to drive as well as more potent,. However, the fuel consumption and CO2 penalty is only modest over the BMW 535d.

Inside, bespoke Alpina instruments and other detailing give the D5 a more exclusive feel than a 5 Series, while the extra performance is instantly noticeable in the surge of acceleration, almost instantaneous thanks to the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Although there is only one UK distributor for Alpina in the UK – Sytner in Nottingham – Alpina provides technical information and replacement parts to the BMW network, meaning servicing and warranty work is fully integrated and carried out at any BMW dealer, so it shouldn’t work out much more expensive than a top-end 5 Series.

So for senior executives that really don’t want to give up their high-performance saloon, the Alpina D5 could be a less costly alternative that delivers the status and thrills.

CO2 emissions
Modest CO2 emissions given the car's power output helps make the Alpina D5 stack up as a reasonable car for a senior executive to pay company car tax on.
Fuel costs
Driven gently the D5 should achieve 45mpg-plus and given all that low down pulling power, although it would be tempting to exploit it frequently there would rarely be any need.
Residual values
As the Alpina is much rarer than the 5 Series on which it is based, residual values of the D5 are considerable stronger, although remember to factor in the higher list price of the car.
Running costs
Not a cheap car to run, but a viable alternative to a typical top-end high-performance saloon and certainly a less expensive option both from a fuel costs and tax perspective.
Driver appeal
The Alpina's more aggressive looks compared with a BMW 5 Series as well as its more overtly sporty appeal would make it a far more desirable choice for a driver, particularly as it's just as practical.
FN Verdict
The Alpina D5 will not be a common sight, but it makes a strong case for itself as an alternative to the typical top end executive saloons. The fact that this performance comes with diesel running costs and tax liability makes it a car that can be chosen with the heart and head.
Top Speed
BMW 5 Series Top Speed
VED band
BMW 5 Series Ved
Fuel Type
BMW 5 Series Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : £18,075
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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