You wait a few a long time for one BMW M7 to come back alongside, and life brings you two. Properly, not fairly: neither BMW’s personal M760i or this, the 2017 Alpina B7, is formally an M automobile, however then neither would you actually need them to be. Go too far down that monitor and you find yourself sacrificing luxurious within the identify of uncooked efficiency, and that’s solely at odds with the 7 Sequence raison d’être. Does that make the Alpina B7 a plutocrat’s sports activities pretender? No, no it doesn’t.
It’s okay for those who’re not conversant in Alpina. The corporate – Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH & Co. KG to present it its full, tongue-twister of a reputation – dates again to 1965, although rose to prominence within the late 60s and 70s with quite a few touring automobile, rally, monitor, and different race wins. Right this moment, it’s greatest identified for giving its personal spin on choose fashions from BMW’s line-up.
The 2 corporations have an attention-grabbing relationship. Formally, Alpina is acknowledged in Germany as an vehicle producer not a automobile tuner: it takes near-finished automobiles from BMW and sprinkles its magic throughout the styling, powertrain, inside, and the all-important software program which provides a contemporary automobile its persona. You’d be forgiven for considering BMW owned Alpina, since within the US you purchase them by way of BMW showrooms and so they’re pitched on BMW’s personal web site.
This isn’t Alpina’s first quick 7 Sequence, however the 2017 B7 arrives at an attention-grabbing time for the automobile. Launched as an all-new mannequin in 2015, BMW’s greatest sedan initially topped out with a Four.Four-liter V8 within the 750i. That supplied 443 HP and 479 lb-ft. of torque, and non-obligatory xDrive all-wheel-drive. But the time was proper for a fiercer, extra performance-minded model to tackle Mercedes’ S65 and Porsche’s Panamera Turbo.
The Alpina B7 xDrive took the stand first, introduced in February final 12 months because the quickest, strongest 7 Sequence round. Simply 4 days later, BMW confirmed its personal tackle the thought, the M760i. Each promised to protect the luxurious and gadgetry the automobile is understood for, however interwoven with face-melting pace.
What’s curious is the 2 very other ways BMW’s M division and Alpina went about attaining that pace. Within the M760i, a V12 engine is king: particularly, a 6.6-liter twin-turbo instance, good for 601 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. BMW quotes a Zero-60 mph time of three.6 seconds and an artificially-limited prime pace of 155 mph.
Alpina goes an alternate route. Below the 2017 B7’s shapely hood is a Four.Four-liter twin-turbo V8, with 600 HP and 590 lb-ft. of torque. Like its cousin, Zero-60 mph is available in a claimed three.6 seconds – frankly, each automakers are conservative in that determine – however the prime pace is 193 mph.
It’s BMW’s engine, however Alpina adjustments the turbos, intercoolers, intakes, and pistons, reworks the ZF-supplied Eight-speed sport transmission – together with switching the steering wheel paddles for its characteristic button-stud shifters – and provides the brakes an improve. A brand new dual-mode exhaust system is fitted, and BMW’s air suspension and energetic dampers additionally see new code, with the B7 sitting decrease and the all-wheel steering kicking in additional aggressively. xDrive AWD is commonplace, however with a bias towards rear-wheel drive.
That’s what you possibly can’t see. On the skin there’s a tasteful Alpina bodykit, delivering aero enhancements along with aesthetic differentiation. The entrance fascia is noticeably decrease, as is the rear diffuser – from which 4 chromed tailpipes pout – whereas the trunk lid will get a spoiler addition. Alpina’s conventional “Basic” mild alloy wheels are 20- or 21-inches of multi-spoke pleasure, whereas BMW’s regular line-up of paints is joined by Alpina-exclusive blue and inexperienced metallic choices.
It’s definitely totally different sufficient from an everyday 7 Sequence that, even when they don’t see the Alpina badging, automobile aficionados will acknowledge it as one thing particular. All the identical, that is no shouty boy-racer. Suppose pro-athlete in a bespoke swimsuit.
By way of a proprietary mixture of emotional blackmail and shameless misuse of a British accent, I’ve been lucky sufficient to insert myself behind the wheels of each automobiles. Though on paper the efficiency may look the identical, the best way during which it’s delivered definitely isn’t.
The place the M760i’s V12 builds its energy in a gradual rush from low revs – most torque arrives at simply 1,550 rpm – the B7 favors a extra aggressive method. Its peak torque arrives at three,000 rpm, at which level the V8 twin-turbo is thrumming eagerly. With the Sport+ drive mode chosen and the transmission switched to Sport, the B7 is positively feisty.
It’s definitely not a light-weight automobile at Four,820 kilos, nevertheless it handles like a considerably smaller sedan. The mix of beautifully-weighted and sharp all-wheel steering, ruthlessly efficient air suspension and energetic dampers, and a gearbox that likes to hold you within the ideally suited energy bracket leaves the B7 darting alongside backroads with a nimbleness no luxurious automobile of this scale ought to ship. Alpina’s huge brakes shed tempo with the kind of effectivity the Germans are infamous for.
Most significantly, it’s so predictably succesful you can overlook the 16 foot size and the $137ok+ value and simply have enjoyable. Actually, punting the B7 round mountain roads as you may extra generally do with a hot-hatch or a Miata is eye-opening in solely good methods. Then you definitely bear in mind that you’ve 600 horses to wrangle, and immediately the Alpina is whooshing ahead with an eagerness that borders on the obscene. If there’s one factor each the B7 and the M760i share, it’s their tendency to insulate you from the truth that you’re casually driving at license-losing speeds.
That’s to not say the B7 is just good at going quick. In Consolation mode it’s simply as sybaritic because the common 7 Sequence, the air suspension wafting you over potholes and ridges. It’s the perfect time to survey the Alpina inside, primarily based on the common BMW however with loads of customizations to the leather-based seat and dashboard design, unique badging, varied woods and metals for the trim, and extra. You get the 7 Sequence tech, too, like gesture-controlled infotainment, wi-fi charging, ambient lighting, WiFi hotspot, and extra.
On prime of that, this explicit B7 was laden with nearly $30ok of extras. A sweet-sounding Bowers & Wilkins audio system; a panoramic “Sky Lounge” roof; all method of driver-assistance aids together with lane-keeping help, evening imaginative and prescient and pedestrian detection; and heating, cooling, and therapeutic massage to the seats back and front. BMW’s “Rear Govt Lounge Seating Bundle” places an ottoman-style recliner within the again, with a removable 7-inch pill within the heart console to manage it, the automobile’s infotainment, and what’s proven on the pair of 9.2-inch screens.
There’s even a fold-out airplane-style desk. Briefly – and belief me, you might write 10,000 phrases on the 7 Sequence’ gadgetry and nonetheless have tech to discover – it’s all the luxurious we’ve come to count on from a high-end BMW. It simply additionally occurs to go very, very quick.
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Only recently, somebody requested me what share of the automobiles I’ve reviewed I’ve actively wished I might hold, as soon as the mortgage interval was over. The truth is style of most automobiles – even some significantly uncommon exotica – is commonly sufficient: you recognize their persona however then transfer onto the subsequent. The 2017 Alpina B7, although, I had severe separation pains over.
Few automobiles ship such efficiency in such a gleefully – and unexpectedly – giddy approach. Fewer nonetheless mix it with a technologically-adept cabin, and tasteful luxurious. Issue within the exclusivity, with Alpina solely transport round 1,500 automobiles worldwide annually, and you may see why the 2017 B7 is able to charming even essentially the most cynical amongst us. All of the polish of a superlative sports activities sedan, and not one of the compromises. Wunderbar.