Shockingly, one of BMW’s best vehicles is the X7. It might look a bit odd and its entire being might be antithetical to the BMW brand. However, in practice, the BMW X7 is a fantastic all-around luxury SUV that’s surprisingly good to drive, too. So, naturally, the ALPINA version — the XB7 — is even better to drive But what happens when it goes up against a more dynamic, less expensive SUV like the Volkswagen Touareg R? In this new comparison test from Piston Heads, we get to see just that.
The ALPINA XB7 is an interesting car because it’s real worth only comes from actually driving it. In terms of looks and interior, it’s not that much different from an X7 M50i. Once you get behind the wheel, though, you’ll notice a power delivery that’s silkier, while also being more exciting. You’ll notice steering that’s crisper and more direct. And you’ll also feel a suspension setup that’s more dynamic. However, at its core, the XB7 is still a luxury vehicle. So can it compete with a more performance oriented SUV, such as the Touareg R?
Volkswagen’s new performance Touareg is actually an interesting machine. It uses a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 (likely similar to the one found in he Audi S4) that’s paired to an electric motor, making it a plug-in hybrid. It can get from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and has an all-electric range of 28 miles. So it’s slower than the XB7 but also offers electrification, at a lower price.
However, on the road, the Touareg, despite its ‘R’ badge and hybrid tech simply can’t compete. It’s steering is overly vague, its suspension rolls too much even in its sportiest settings, and it lacks any sort of real fun. Meanwhile, the uber-luxurious ALPINA XB7, which weighs about a VW Golf more than the Touareg R, is tons more fun. Its steering is far better, its chassis is more composed despite being infinitely larger, and its engine is charismatic.
The ALPINA XB7 proves that performance SUVs can actually be fun and engaging, not just big and fast. Admittedly, you’ll pay for that, as the XB7 is about double the cost of a Touareg R. Still, if you want a performance SUV, go big or go home.