Alpina 7-Series smashes 300km/h
As far as obscure super-limousines go, the Alpina B7 sits right at the very top – even though we’re up to generation six of this BMW 7-Series-meets-tuner-nutter.
Just two have been sold in Australia so far though that shouldn’t limit the interest factor in this quietly unhinged Bavarian Bahnstormer.
It’s the left-field response to punters wanting an M-badged BMW 7-Series, without foisting the high-revving, hard-driving nature of a traditional BMW M car onto this stately sedan. Instead, BMW-affiliated tuning house – Alpina – gets to do the dirty work, the latest example of which is this uprated B7 xDrive.
Packing a modified version of BMW’s familiar 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, Alpina says the 2020-model-year B7 is good for 447kW from 5500-6500rpm and 800Nm from 2000-5000rpm (instead of 3000-5000rpm), as well as a slight improvement in its 0-97km/h acceleration time (now 3.5 seconds). Yet maximum speed has copped a serious hike – up from 312km/h to a pretty spectacular 330km/h.
As per the 7-Series it’s based on, the uprated B7’s kidney grille has expanded to a new level of vastness. It’s paired with new slimline headlights, a tough new front bumper with functional air intakes, and an Alpina-specific bodykit that includes a rear spoiler that reduces lift to almost zero.
Alpina’s trademark multi-spoke alloys measuring 20-inch are standard (or 21-inch optionally), clad with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres – 255/40ZR20 front, 295/35ZR20 rear – that thankfully forego the ride-destroying run-flat technology of other BMWs for the sake of comfort and steering feel.
Other changes include new laminated glass for the side and rear windows, not just the windscreen – now thicker at 5.1mm – and some tweaks to the B7’s incredibly sophisticated suspension.
As you’d imagine a 330km/h sedan should, the B7 boasts every dynamic trick imaginable. Air suspension with Dynamic Damper Control, Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview (which reads the road ahead and pre-empts surface changes by adjusting suspension rates) and Integral Active Sport Steering (which combines a variable-ratio rack with rear-axle steering) are all on the menu.
But it’s the xDrive all-wheel-drive system that’ll be the big new for our right-hand-drive market. The current B7 is rear-drive only for Australia, whereas the updated 2020 model (and 7-Series LCI) will finally introduce rear-biased all-wheel-drive traction to right-hook countries like ours.
Alpina expects US sales of the new B7 to begin in the third quarter of 2019, though the mega-sedan’s Australian arrival will be some time next year. Given the current car’s $369,720 list price, expect the uprated B7 xDrive to come in somewhere north of that.
Having completed an Arts degree in English Literature and Film, Ponch started out at Hot 4s & Performance Cars magazine in 1997, honing his distaste for bodykits and commercial doof-doof, before editing Australian Volkswagen magazine, then kicking off a 17-year career at ACP/Bauer as Staff Journalist for WHEELS in 2001.