Cars

Alpina B8 vs. Audi RS7 in a direct comparison test

With their fundamentally comfortable design and the high weight, the Alpina B8 and Audi RS 7 are not prototypical sports cars – even if the Ingolstadt vehicle comes across as quite aggressive. Isn’t a simple comparison with longitudinal dynamics enough? Yes, he would, but we’ll leave that to the others.
In SPORTSCARS, everyone has to be on the racetrack when the weather and timing are right. And on this Wednesday in April, a sunny day mingled with the changeable spring weather. It doesn’t have to be record laps every time – if it turns out at the end that a car is simply not suitable for the racetrack, that’s also a realization. Especially since we are not at all sure that the two Bavarians will fail on the Saxon mini-Nordschleife. Both Alpina and Audi have put a lot of brain power and high-tech into their luxury gliders.
Alpina B8 Gran Coupe

Even in the sportiest mode, the B8 has a certain residual smoothness. Of course, the weight is noticeable.


Let’s start with the small series manufacturer from the Allgäu: The announcement that cooperation partner BMW has bought the brand rights to Alpina and that the noble line will be completely integrated into the plant from 2026 dominated recently. What will become of it?
Let’s see in the future. A luxury sub-brand, comparable to Maybach or Horch, wouldn’t be a bad bet. Until then, however, Andy Bovensiepen’s team will still be producing gorgeous cars with a lot of passion and manual work. The B8 was introduced last year and aims to fill the gap between the M850i ​​and the M8.

In terms of performance, the Alpina B8 is very close to the M8

The body is limited to the four-door Gran Coupé. Building a classic coupe or even a convertible would not be a problem from a technical point of view. Only adaptation and homologation would have to be completely redesigned. That doesn’t pay off with the small quantities. Perhaps one of the reasons why Alpina is handing over the business to BMW: More and more rules and regulations are making it more difficult for small manufacturers in particular to develop new cars every year – and the effort is basically the same whether you produce 200 or 200,000 cars .

Alpina B8 Gran Coupe

The 4.4-liter V8 is not based on the sports version in the M8, but on the more civil N63 from the BMW M550i.


So the decision to go with the Gran Coupé was easy: more sales opportunities and, above all, a more international clientele. In the USA, for example, luxury is much better in this segment than a sleek two-door car. So it is only logical that Alpina is taking the same path with the B4 Gran Coupé that has just been presented.

In terms of performance, you get a sniff of the M8, but without falling into its chubbiness. We know the N63 eight-cylinder from the M550i or the M850i, on which the B8 is based. With the help of two larger paddle wheels and various optimizations in the cooling circuit, the original 530 hp can be surpassed by a whopping 91 horses.

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395 mm internal ventilation / gel

398 mm internal ventilation / gel

245/35R21 / 275/30R21

11.9 l/100 km • 270 g/km

440 mm internal ventilation / gel

370 mm internal ventilation / gel

Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 (A0)

11.6 l/100 km • 265 g/km


Alpina is only 4 hp below the M8. However, the highest performance values ​​have never been the final goal in Buchloe. Rather, it is about clean drivability, a lot of pressure in the intermediate sprint and simply a basic sovereignty. To achieve this, the engine configuration tends to go in the direction of torque. A smooth 800 Newton meters are available, and they even make the B8 look slightly better than its current opponent in the intermediate sprint values.

Audi not quite as consistently sporty

It comes from about 260 kilometers to the north-west, because the RS 7 is not made in the main plant, but by the colleagues in Neckarsulm. On the market since the end of 2019, it had to prove itself against the BMW M5 Competition and AMG GT 63 S 4-door in the February 2020 issue – and clearly lost out. This is one of the reasons why we now have it compete against the Alpina and not the M8 Competition Gran Coupé.
Audi RS7 Sportback

In terms of performance, the RS 7 is at a disadvantage compared to the B8. This is particularly evident off the track.


The design of the Audi is not quite as consistently sporty as it would like to be portrayed on the outside. It is more of a potent everyday glider, even if its sports chassis is designed a few classes heavier than the always velvety substructure of the Allgäu. And if we’re already harping on the subject of everyday life, we come to some characteristics that are atypical SPORTSCARS: Even if the Alpina is superior both in the comfort categories and in longitudinal dynamics, there is noticeably more headroom in the rear and also the larger and much more usable trunk (the rear window swings open) offers the RS 7.

RS 7 to 200 km/h in 11.9 seconds

The sprint measurements, on the other hand, see the Alpina in the lead, even if the quattro all-wheel drive of the RS 7 initially gets the power better on the asphalt. Up to 50 km/h, the Audi sprints a tenth faster, but even at 80 km/h there is a tie. The B8 already decides the prestige sprint to country road speed with 3.2 to 3.4 seconds. Incidentally, the RS 7 values ​​determined at the end of 2019 correspond almost 1:1 to those measured today. 11.9 seconds from 0 to 200 km/h? Exactly the same now as then. Doesn’t help him much against the B8, however, because at 10.7 seconds he takes a whopping 1.2 seconds off the RS 7. The intermediate sprint values ​​also tend to be a few tenths after Buchloe.

Audi RS7 Sportback

Four liters, smooth 600 hp – but the V8 has significantly more reserves. In-house tuner Abt creates a durable 800 hp.


The Audi has to make up lost ground during negative acceleration with its optional ceramic brakes, but we had a lot of trouble with them a good two years ago at the Lausitzring. It even went so far that the right front brake caliper caught fire after the fast lap in the pits. Not just smoke – flames…

The 440 disc apparently develops such an immense heat that it wants to be ridden cold with particular care. In doing so, it suffers a fate similar to that of many ceramic systems in terms of the measured values: these things cost a lot of money, but the braking values ​​are not significantly shorter. This is also the case with the RS 7: 33.5 meters warm is good for a 2.1 ton ship, but not outstanding. Especially since the Alpina with steel brakes is one and a half meters earlier and also performs better at twice the speed. But the powerful brake system should then play to its great advantage on the racetrack through its stability.

Alpina is marginally stronger and lighter

And that’s exactly where we’re going now: Sachsenring, sun, 12 degrees. The 4.4 of the Alpina against a smooth four liters in the Audi, Pirelli P-Zero against Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 – both specially mixed for the respective models. The remaining requirements: quite equal. Both rely on a V8 with eight-speed automatic transmission, the rear wheels on both also steer, the Alpina is marginally stronger and lighter (+21 hp, -20 kg), but the Audi appears to us conceptually a bit sportier.
Alpina B8 Gran Coupé, Audi RS7 Sportback

“Close race” would be an understatement. At the end both cross the line with the same number of points. The RS 7 is faster.


First time driver Guido Naumann swings into the Alpina. When he comes back into the pits, the reaction is emotionless. “It’s just way too soft, no grip on the front axle. But it will still be fast. Crazy how they always do it.” Next patient: the Ingolstadt resident. After a few fast laps, I first pay attention to the front brakes. All good, nothing burns.

What does Guido say? “Drives well, is also fast – but unfortunately doesn’t last.” I find out what he means by that on my own laps. In the first push lap, the system reports an overheated rear axle differential at around the Vmax measuring point. So: cooldown lap and try again. Now the RS 7 already has the same problem at the kart track.

A really fast lap is not possible for me. But at least Guido was able to record 1:37.04 minutes. The Alpina is 39 hundredths slower – but consistently lap after lap. Without error message in the system.

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