Vital Stats

Engine:
4.4L Twin-Turbo V8
Power:
540 HP / 538 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time:
4.3 Seconds
Top Speed:
194 MPH
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,655 LBS
Seating:
2+3
MPG:
16 City / 24 HWY
Alpina Makes Biggest Bimmer Act A Lot Like An M3



For the time being, BMW has left it up to close collaborator Alpina to create a turbocharged V8-powered rival for the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and Audi S8. We've been lucky enough to take a few spirited drives in Alpinafied BMWs on the no-limit Autobahns around the company's headquarters in Buchloe, Germany, over the years, and each experience has been solidly hair-raising.

Other than creating what may be the country's ultimate everyday Autobahn missiles, Alpina does wonders for the ride and handling of the BMW models they touch, along with providing impressively reworked transmission interfaces and improved overall responsiveness. In the case of this B7, Alpina turns the 7 Series into the best big Bimmer going.

In the niche of thundering bi-turbo V8 luxury sedans, only this 532-horsepower Alpina B7, 512-hp Audi S8 and the 536-hp Mercedes S63 AMG (563 horses, that is, with the $7,300 AMG Performance Package) really reach this particular level. The $139,625 Porsche Panamera Turbo and the $176,275 Turbo S are both fine rides, but they aren't traditional sedans, and their unusual aesthetics don't always appeal to the buttoned-down execs that buy traditional premium saloons.

It's not surprising that buying either the B7 Bimmer or the S63 Benz will likely set you back some $140,000 to $145,000 once they are spec'd exactly the way you'd want 'em (the SWB-only Audi is a bit cheaper, at about $124k happily optioned). Base price for the Alpina B7 short wheelbase is $127,600 or $131,500 for the long wheelbase model, with a further $3,000 premium for xDrive. Following these, as a curveball, there's the 503-hp Jaguar XJ/XJL Supersport at around $126,000. The US comes closest with its Chrysler 300 SRT8 at 465 hp and a price of $60,000 tops in your driveway. It's like two separate worlds.
2013 BMW Alpina B7 side view2013 BMW Alpina B7 front view2013 BMW Alpina B7 rear view

Official 0-60 time is now listed at 4.3 seconds, while top speed has jumped to 194 mph.

We were expecting greatness in our 750Li-based rear-wheel-drive Alpina B7, but it went a bit beyond our expectations. Its overall composure, grace and sophistication, even while in the sportiest of setups, are impressive. The N63B44 4.4-liter twin turbo engine with Valvetronic now pumps forth 540 hp between 5,200 and 6,250 rpm and 538 pound-feet of torque from 2,800 to 5,000 rpm. The pre-facelift B7, you may recall, offered but 493 hp and a "paltry" 516 lb-ft. For shame. Official 0-60 time is now listed at 4.3 seconds, while top speed has jumped from 175 mph in last year's car to 194 mph, a number that we tested ourselves on the latest episode of The List. Take your new B7 to a track with a really long straight; you'll be astounded at the pulling power the V8 pours out right up until the braking point – and the Alpina compound brake set is forever up to the task.

Alpina has done extensive aero work to the standard 7 Series bodyshell for big increases in cooling air flow to the engine and brakes. The whole front chin has been redesigned with larger intakes and each passage ducted to cool one specific portion of this finely tuned high-performance mix.

2013 BMW Alpina B7 engine

The B7 struck us as a finer track car than either the M5 or M6.

There is, of course, the reworked engine control electronics. Aside from this mandatory software upgrade, Alpina fits the engine's two turbochargers with larger flow-through turbines that are two millimeters greater in diameter. That seems like little, but, lord, is it much. Our first track session in the B7 happened with expert Andreas Bovensiepen at the wheel. He is now effectively the boss at Alpina, following in his papa's footsteps. Bovensiepen also just happens to be one hell of a track star, having won various GT championship titles. Out on the circuit at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, just as a front passenger, we could feel a dramatic improvement versus the stock 750Li. In fact, the B7 already struck us as a finer track car than either the M5 or M6, something we'd bet that BMW doesn't really want to hear. That's particularly impressive considering how much the B7 weighs – models vary between 4,655 pounds up to 5,055 pounds, depending on wheelbase length and whether xDrive is fitted.

Couple this sensation with the fact that the revamped Alpina suspension lowers the car by six-tenths of an inch while also providing a stiffer spring set all around, and some of the improvement starts to makes sense. Even in the B7's firmest Sport+ damper setting, the springs are still surprisingly compliant, while the anti-roll control does its part to keep this big boy on the straight and level in hot corners. Another fine helper? The Michelin Pilot Sport tires – 245/35 ZR21 front, 285/30 ZR21 rear. Again, one would rightly assume that 21-inchers at the corners would make the B7's ride and cabin noise a little too Euro, but that's not the case thanks to Alpina's fine tuning expertise and the fact that they aren't stiff-sidewalled run-flats.

2013 BMW Alpina B7 interior2013 BMW Alpina B7 front seats2013 BMW Alpina B7 rear seats2013 BMW Alpina B7 pushbutton shifter

Alpina uses slick little pushbuttons for swapping cogs in the eight-speed ZF.

As far as we're aware, Alpina can take the credit for introducing steering-wheel-mounted shifters on a road car, having added the technology way back in 1993. Never content with the clutter caused by having large-enough shift paddles, Alpina uses slick little pushbuttons for swapping cogs in the eight-speed ZF. The hidden switchgear is on the backside of the steering wheel spokes, right for upshift and left for downshift, clean and simple. The custom steering wheel itself is a wonderful piece under all circumstances – steering action is calibrated to be easier than on the standard Bimmer 7 Series while in Comfort/Efficiency mode and heavier than on the series car when in Sport+ mode.

Alpina is also somewhat known for doing swell interiors. We tried both the Alpina B7 and the latest iteration of BMW 7 Series, and the work by Alpina is superior. Other than the terrific new and functional sport steering wheel with Switch-Tronic shifting, the Alpina-specific gauge cluster should be robbed by BMW and used on all of its cars; the current ages-old BMW dial graphics are boring and not as legible.

2013 BMW Alpina B7 rear 3/4 view2013 BMW Alpina B7 headlight2013 BMW Alpina B7 wheel2013 BMW Alpina B7 rear spoiler

We're still waiting for BMW's M6 Gran Coupé, which will frankly hold almost no surprises for us. We know we'll generally appreciate it, but it's a derivative of the M5/M6 mix, pure and simple. If you want something utterly distinctive and to stay in a BMW, get the Alpina B7 and enjoy yourself in hot luxury.

Who needs an M7?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      CarCrazy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a beauty, Alpina makes some of the best BMW's ever. I love it!
      BK
      • 2 Years Ago
      Once again, eliminating run flat tires makes a huge difference in ride while making handling even sharper. These cars should be designed from the seat to incorporate a temp spare to eliminate te need for these crappy RFTs. BMWs embrace of these is terrible, as is their decision to use "Eco" tires on te new 3 series. One test I saw added about 20 feet or so to breaking distances vs older 3 series. That is a safety issue in my mind.
      Scooter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ha ha... Chrysler SRT-8 an alternative to a BMW B7 ? Sure, I guess you could buy a Hyundai Genesis Coupe as an alternative to a Lamborghini Aventador?
      Gavin
      • 2 Years Ago
      So what about Carlos Lagos'(Also motortrend) Review of the B7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc-AEeG6frQ&feature=g-all-u Seems like a good car to me, and many other reviewers share the same opinion. Value for money doesnt count for much in this sector, even tho the Audi beats it there. We also have to remember that Alpinas are incredibly rare cars, so they will no doubt cost more
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Funny, you talk about the 300SRT8 at the beginning of this article, and all I can think about is how much I'd rather have an 300SRT8 and $80,000 in my pocket than this barge. Alpina does some very nice things with the 7 series, but it still isn't enough to improve the overall ho-hum looks of these cars. You'd be more likely to be recognized as driving a dedicated performance car in the aforementioned SRT8...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        [blocked]
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          Thanks for resorting to calling me names, I really appreciate it. PS: I've driven the 7 series, though I've never had the opportunity to drive the B7. I simply meant that it was a barge in size and styling... but it doesn't matter, the fact that you have to resort to name calling about a car indicates your overall shortcomings.
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        How much is the supercharger package on the Dodge Charger? That brings it to 570hp -- I wonder if that's available for the 300 also.
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      MotorTrend's Head 2 Head did a comparison between this and the Audi S8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT0r6xQJU_4
        Matthew Davis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ferps
        Motor Trend is also run by humans. Sometimes we are right, sometimes we are wrong. Most of the time it's opinions that fall one way or another. I prefer the B7 Alpina over what I experience in an Audi S8.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Matthew Davis
          [blocked]
        Trevor
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ferps
        Yawn BMW comes last for sure. The porsche, merc amg and audi are all better. The BMW interior sucks compared to the other 3. The audi S8 looks better, and is faster.
          Ak74
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Trevor
          Based on what? Motortrend review? Don't be a fool. They all make their reviews based on who pays them to make it. Get it?
          Matthew Davis
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Trevor
          No, be nice. We are not bought off to give our opinions one way or the other. MT simply has its opinion, I have mine.
      Jonathan Wayne
      • 2 Years Ago
      The S8 looks better inside and out, is cheaper, more powerful and from all accounts is the better car and you can get it in more than one color. I can't see why anyone would pick the Alpina B7 over it.
        Evan McMiller
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jonathan Wayne
        The Audi doesn't handle nearly as well, won't sound as nice (most likely), and you can most definitely get the B7 in more than one color. Not sure where you got that from. Looks are subjective, both look great.
      Devin
      • 2 Years Ago
      After watching a video where Motor Trend compared the B7 and S8 I'm a little surprised reading this, especially with your suggesting that the B7 is a better track car than the M5 or M6. In their review they claim that the B7 not only drives like a large car, as in, makes you aware of its mass but the power is also significantly overrated and it is probably making less than 500 horsepower (they apparently compensated for drivetrain loss but still came in below 500). Maybe being compared with the S8 at the same time altered their perceptions or something. Regardless of who is more accurate I'm guessing it's an overall fantastic vehicle when compared to everyday sedans.
        action3500
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Devin
        B7 is made for Autobahn. SRT8 would feel very shacky going 150+mph constant speed. B7 around NY area is driven mostly by ballers and is mostly favored for it's giant rims more than anything else.
          Matthew Davis
          • 2 Years Ago
          @action3500
          Before I assume the dirty image in my head is correct, umm, please explain your use of the word "ballers"...
          FSLIV
          • 2 Years Ago
          @action3500
          @ Matthew Davis . . . . . I smell a Republican behind that baller comment!! . . . .. LMAO
      Scooter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Save your money, save on 0 gallons of gas, and smoke most any BMW on the road with a Tesla S.
      litesaber5@yahoo.com
      • 2 Years Ago
      My father in laws best friend has this car. I asked how it handles and he didn't even bother answering. He just tossed the keys across the table and said, "go ahead and find out for yourself". Its pretty gd damn amazing.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a brute.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        [blocked]
      Scooter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Leave it to BMW to charge you almost double the price for their top trim specialty models, but leave them looking almost exactly like the base model. Honestly, nobody is going to recognize or even care that its a "Alpina B7", their just going to say in their head, "there goes another BMW".
        Bradford
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scooter
        Um, if you don't recognize this car in the wild, then you really don't know cars. Anytime I see a Dinan 5 or an Alpina B7, it immediately turns my head.
        JC
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scooter
        that is the idea
          Scooter
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JC
          Someone else is driving an identical base model for $50k thats probably only 2 or 3 seconds slower, you just spent $130,000 on yours, I guess according to BMW, what you paid will be "our little secret" right?
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