For decades, Alpina has been creating some of this most exciting BMWs money can buy. Essentially, what Alpina does is takes a standard BMW and make it more luxurious, more exciting and much, much faster. Its most popular car is the Alpina B7, based off of the BMW 7 Series. The newest variant has just debuted, based on the new G11 BMW 7 Series, and is possibly the company’s best offering yet.
Car and Driver recently was able to sample the new 2017 Alpina B7 xDrive in Germany, clearly the best place in the world to test such a thing. Using some unrestricted parts of the Autobahn, the folks at Car and Driver were able to really push the powerful beast. Under that massive hood lies the heart of a lion. Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it sure is powerful. Its 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8, borrowed from the BMW 750i and tuned, develops 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. To get that upgraded power, Alpina did extensive work to the engine, adding new turbochargers, intake and exhaust as well as new Mahle pistons. With all of these upgrades, Alpina reckons it can get the B7 xDrive from 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. For reference, that’s three tenths faster than a BMW M4 Competition Package. Oh, and Alpina says it will break 200 mph, as it has a top speed of 205 mph. Car and Driver was only able to hit 198 mph, though. Only.
Mated to that engine is the ubiquitous ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, but it’s been tuned for Alpina duty. This means faster shifts and more aggressive shift programming. There are little shift buttons behind the steering wheel to shift gears manually, at 9 and 3 o’clock, which replace BMW’s paddles. However, the paddles can be added back at request. Also tuned is BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. On the standard BMW 7 Series, the xDrive system is more likely to keep things safe and luxurious. On the Alpina B7, it’s been programmed to be more rear-biased and aggressive. Apparently, it will actually allow a bit of oversteery fun, which is kind of hilarious in such a big luxury car.
The steering is also meatier than on the standard 7er and it’s a bit more direct, adding an extra sense of agility over the standard car. Overall, the Alpina B7 seems to be the more athletic car than the 750i. But it’s also more luxurious. Far more luxurious, in fact. That may be hard to believe, considering the spectacular cabin and ride quality of the standard 7 Series, but it’s true. Alpina adds swaths of its own Lavalina leather, Alpina’s signature blue and green stitching and nice little touches, such as the Alpina-specific gauge cluster. Overall, the cabin of the Alpina B7 is like a 7 Series on steroids. Which is a good thing.
On the outside, the B7 is distinguished from the 750i by Alpina’s classic 20″ wheels (21″s are optional), optional gold or silver decals with the “ALPINA” logo on them and one of either two unique colors, so originally named Alpina Blue and Alpina Green II. There’s also some added aerodynamics, but it’s subtle and tasteful. Overall, without the badges, it could definitely be mistaken as nothing more than a nice 7 Series. But that’s a good thing, as this makes it a sleeper and no one realizes its true power underneath, the sort of power that would make a brand new Corvette Stingray look like a bad joke.
The only real chink in the B7’s armor could be the existence of another car — the BMW M760Li. While that latter car isn’t actually out yet, BMW has shown us what it is and it looks sensational. With a sportier tuned suspension than that of the B7, more aggressive looks and a monstrous 6.6 liter twin-turbo V12 at the same price, the M760Li could make buyers think twice about an Alpina B7. However, BMW was nice enough to keep the power the same, at 600 hp and 590 lb-ft. We think that BMW did this intentionally, as to not step on Alpina’s toes, as that twin-turbo V12 is capable of so much more.
However, let’s put the BMW M760Li aside for now. The Alpina B7 xDrive offers possibly the best combination of unbelievable luxury with simply stupefying amounts of power and performance and an actually decent price. While it might sound odd to call the B7’s $137,995 starting price tag decent, it’s a lot cheaper than any other alternative. To get that same level of power, performance and luxury, you’re looking at a Bentley badge and that costs twice as much as the Alpina. Plus, every rich guy at the country club has a Bentley and that gets boring. So while it may be expensive, you might as well save some money and buy something with more intrigue and more style than anything else around.
[Source: Car and Driver]