The Alpina name is renowned in the automotive world for its ultra-high-performance BMW models. A lesser known fact is that it was originally a manufacturer of typewriters before turning its tools to tweaking Bavaria’s finest automobiles during the mid 60s.
Fast-forward to today and that pivot has enabled Alpina to become one of BMW’s closest manufacturing and development partners in providing models that are a little more special than the usual offerings.
That same concept has been applied to the first-ever BMW Alpina XB7, an SUV that offers one of the most complete combinations of space, luxury and superior driving dynamics in its segment.
Under the bonnet
Most of the Alpina magic happens under the bonnet. Based on BMW’s X7 model, the Alpina XB7 is powered by a big twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine, which can deliver 457kW of power and 800Nm of torque starting from just 2,000rpm. That’s enough extra grunt to see the big 2,665kg car sprint from 0–100km/h in just 4.2 seconds before reaching a limited top speed of 290km/h. The car is capable of handling this kind of power thanks to uprated Alpina components such as the intercoolers, which are designed to maintain thermodynamic stability under higher engine loads.
Elsewhere there’s improved throttle response alongside the latest generation eight-speed sport automatic transmission equipped with Alpina Switch-Tronic, which is also designed to handle the extra power without compromising on rapid and comfortable gear shifts.
Combined with a visceral Alpina active exhaust system and drivetrain enhancements like an electronically-variable limited-slip differential on the rear axle, the XB7 is capable of delivering breathtaking performance alongside an impeccable level of luxury in order to give drivers the best of both worlds at the touch of a button. This button allows the XB7 to transition seamless between Comfort, Comfort+, Sport or Sport+ modes depending on road conditions.
Fuel consumption figures for the Alpina XB7 are pegged at 13.9L/100km.
Road handling enhancements
Big power is one thing but getting it to the ground and controlling it is another. Alpina hasn’t overlooked this critical stage in its pursuit of numbers.
Alongside the limited-slip differential, which helps high-speed handling, the XB7 is also equipped with Alpina Sport Suspension to offer a wide variety of driving experiences covering plush ride comfort to race-inspired dynamics. It can also be lowered by 40mm for better handling at higher speeds.
Most importantly for a car of its size, the XB7 features Alpina’s Integral Active Steering, which aids with small turning circles on tighter roads so that urban driving isn’t compromised. For traction, power is sent to the wheels via a revised BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system.
The car comes from the factory with 21-inch alloy wheels but can be optioned with Alpina Classic 23-inch forged aluminium wheels, which are both larger and lighter to push dynamic performance.
Signature luxury inside
The Alpina XB7 comes with an extensive range of luxury equipment from standard. Premium merino leather, comfort seats, seat heating, soft-close doors, Alcantara headlining and a leather instrument panel ensures maximum comfort and ambience. Natural lighting is also helped with a three-part panoramic glass sunroof.
Helping to define the Alpina theme inside is a glass crystal iDrive controller, blue illuminated gear selector switch, Alpina production plaque, illuminated Alpina door sills and the unique Alpina Sport Steering Wheel hand-finished in Lavalina leather and featuring the signature blue and green stitching. In addition to the Alpina Myrtle luxury wood interior trim, two further Alpina trim variants are available.
Extensive driving assistance is handled with a highly customisable full-colour digital instrument display with Alpina, while user experience is brought up to date with intuitive operations via touch display, direct selection buttons, iDrive Controller, voice or gesture control. BMW’s Driving Assistant Professional is included as standard to deliver a high degree of active safety technology.
Luggage space is ample and ranges from 750L to 2,120L depending on the seat configuration. Loading the car is made easier with a button that can instantly lower the Alpina XB7 by up to 50mm.
The BMW Alpina XB7 will be priced from AU$264,900 plus on-road costs.
Visit Alpina Automobiles for more details.