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Shoot out: BMW M5 vs Alpina B5 - styling

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Shoot out: BMW M5 vs Alpina B5
The shout route
The power difference
The verdict
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Then there's the styling. It's not that I don't like subtlety, but the B5 is a bit 'blink and you've missed it' - especially in funereal black. The M5 pulls off that perfect blend of sharp-suited exec and musclebound racer. The side vents, quad pipes, vents, bulges and fins are as perfectly judged as ever. It's Sean Connery to the B5's Pierce Brosnan and manages to hide a barely veiled thuggery behind a veneer of golf club respectability. And however many times Bob tells me I'm wrong, I just can't get to like the rear spoiler on the B5 - it lacks the class you usually associate with Buchloe's finest.
Price wise there is nothing to choose between them by. Performance is apples and oranges: they both offer the same sort of benchmark figures, but they go about achieveing them in completely different ways. There are things I prefer about the B5 and I know that in most everyday circumstances the smoother, comfier, torquier and more refined machine would be easier to live with.


But if I wanted a machine that excelled in the everyday environment I'd just buy a 535d. The reason I love the M5 is because it pushes the performance envelope so damn far. It can be so extreme, so far removed from what a luxury saloon usually is and I can't help adoring the closet hooligan that lurks within. Maybe, as Harper implies, it's because I'm young and foolish, because I haven't learned to appreciate the finer things in life. For me, however, there is nothing finer than exiting a corner with your tyres on fire and a V10 howling away at 8000rpm. One day I might grow up. But I hope not.
OK, I'll pick up the cudgels where Holtam started with our brief and admittedly unscientific accelerationfest on a deserted section of the B660.
I'm snugly ensconced behind the wheel of the M5 which I've driven all weekend and having experienced the savagery of its forward momentum on more than a few occasions I'm pretty sure I'll have the legs of the B5. I'm not going to use the gimmicky launch control, but I do have SMG in maximum attack mode, the 'P500 Sport' ECU map dialled in via the iDrive, the electronic dampers in the rock hard position and the traction in its half way house setting to allow a little bit, but not too much wheel spin.


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