No, a race track doesn’t feel like home at the wheel of the BMW ALPINA XB7. But there is a good reason why we tracked the most exclusive and fastest variant of the BMW X7. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing delays in the homologation of the luxury SUV, so no street driving is allowed at this time.
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But that’s okay with us. The asphalt belt on the Bilster Berg designed by Hermann Tilke is one of the most demanding race tracks of the 21st century. It is often called “The Little Nurburgring.”
Not Conceived As A Track Weapon, But It Can Be One
With its demanding topography, it’s certainly not one of the track on which overweight can be concealed particularly well. But even if the race track is designed with light sports cars in mind, the heavy Bavarian does not want to give in under any circumstances.
In the end, the new ALPINA XB7 expresses a lot of self-confidence through its bold and sporty design, and through its impressive powertrain.
Behind the huge double kidney grille lies a legendary 4.4 liter V8 Biturbo engine making 621 hp and a maximum torque of 800 Newton meters. That’s a whole lot more than the top X7 model from BMW – the X7 M50i – which makes 523 horsepower. The top speed is equally impressive at 290 km/h.
Contrary to all expectations, the luxury off-roader also shows astonishing qualities on the race track. No doubt, you have to get used to the high seating position after changing from a car like the ALPINA B3. Of course, turning in is also not nearly as quick as in the relatively small 3 Series. In the end the XB7 weighs 2.6 tons and that’s hard to conceal.
Grippy On The Track
The mighty 23-inch forged wheels, on which incredibly generously sized sports tires are mounted, play a large part in the XB7’s track grip. The Pirelli P Zero tires, specially tuned for the XB7, are 285 millimeters wide on the front axle and 325 millimeters wide on the rear axle.
In view of the high center of gravity and lush weight of an ALPINA XB7, the extra rubber ensures impressive traction and makes the front axle react much more agile than you thought possible. Adaptive dampers, active roll stabilization, rear-axle steering and the fully variable power distribution of the all-wheel drive xDrive also ensure that the X7 cuts through the corners with ease.
The suspension set-up is noticeably geared towards comfort, but also provides sufficient contact with the road for spirited driving.
But what really distinguishes the BMW ALPINA XB7 are not the record acceleration times or even cornering speeds, it is the idea of very spacious and luxurious SUV with sheer power at your finger tips.
The XB7 brings more than 2,100 liters of luggage space or space for up to seven adults, as well as the finest Lavaline leather and the ability to impresss all occupants with the power of 621 hp.
With its overall package, the Buchloer X7 interpretation therefore not only plays in the segment of the classic premium SUV from Stuttgart or Ingolstadt, it can also jump in a comparison with the Bentley Bentayga.
Test drive by our sister-magazine BimmerToday