Dressed in black, the B5 looks smart, sleek and understated. The kind of wagon you wish you had parked on your driveway and a far cry from many other attention-seeking performance wagons.
The B5's trademark 20-spoke alloy wheels are stand out feature of the side profile and a personal favourite of mine. With the brake dust quick to cake on, though, they would benefit from regular cleaning, which will no doubt require an entire afternoon's investment. What the hell, it's worth it.
Upfront, Alpina has applied an aggressive-looking spoiler with signature branding, giving the car a slightly more athletic stance, while the rear valance neatly frames the angry-looking stainless steel quad exhaust. The BMW logo on the boot lid is now bookended by the slightly awkward-looking Alpina logo and B5 BiTurbo lettering.
Alpina saved its finest design work for the interior with a makeover that dials up the luxury factor big time. The seats, draped in Nappa Leather and featuring bespoke diamond stitching, were a crowd favourite - soft, supportive and extremely comfortable. A pleasure to spend time in.
Other Alpina touches in the 5 Series' cabin include the signature plaque on the centre console that displays the build number of the car, the bespoke leather-bound steering wheel, and the redesigned instrument cluster using the Alpina blue and green. The rest of the cabin more or less retains much of the familiar switch gear and layout of the 5 Series.