2021 BMW Alpina XB7 First Drive Review | Tasteful titan

Rodolfo Schellin

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It usually takes a car-minded particular person, or even an individual properly-versed in BMW, to actually recognize an Alpina in passing. The Bavarian tuner, which trades solely in BMW, does not plaster its overall performance-improved cars with carbon fiber or overwrought aerodynamics. Alternatively, there are refined, Alpina-unique layout cues: distinctive wheels and lower system get the job done, moreover Alpina badging, which include the additional “B” in the design designation. It all appears to be consistent for a BMW, but if you glance extensive sufficient, you can pick out an Alpina in a parking ton, primarily if you have expended a ton of time on the lookout at the BMW styles they are dependent upon.

But for a sub-manufacturer that has traditionally dealt in cars — with the seven Series-dependent B7 extensive currently being the only offering in the United States — Alpina has now provided its distinctive treatment method to BMW’s flagship SUV, the X7. The Alpina XB7 tops the X7 lineup in phrases of electricity and price, and carries on with a tradition of tactful styling and sterling good quality. Whilst BMW did not particularly maintain back when penning the X7, Alpina did not go overboard with everything … except possibly overall performance. It is a superlative BMW that in some way has nothing to prove.

Alpina’s visible upgrades to the presently-flashy X7 are tasteful. If you can pry your eyes from that significant kidney grille, you can see the Alpina has tweaked the entrance fascia, notably including its identify/emblem to the pretty lower lip of the bumper as in its earlier creations. Whilst our tester wore the 21-inch Alpina Dynamic wheels shod in Pirelli winter tires, the optional 23-inch, twenty-spoke Alpina Basic turbine wheels are more particular to capture the eye of other drivers while nonetheless currently being, properly, typical. Severely, they are rad. In back, the XB7 sports a rear diffuser flanked by quad stainless metal exhaust shops that assure to give the Alpina a voice all its personal.

Within, we see more distinctive touches. The Alpina emblem on the steering wheel — a coat of arms containing a pair of velocity stacks and a crankshaft facet by facet on a pink and blue discipline — is the initial matter to capture one’s eye when sliding into the driver’s seat. Our tester came upholstered in ivory Merino leather-based with Alpina-unique Myrtle Wooden trim which is around the coloration of Mars. There is an additional Alpina emblem etched into the trim on the passenger’s facet of the sprint as properly as on the iDrive wheel interface, moreover a metallic plaque affixed to the address of the cubby containing the cupholders underneath the centre stack. Our motor vehicle highlighted next-row captain’s chairs and the LED panoramic “Sky Lounge” roof that presents it an ambient, electronic starlight glance at night time. It appears to be classy, not saucy.

But the visible modifications are truly secondary to what actually defines the XB7’s individuality. The most crucial get the job done Alpina performs is mechanical. For the XB7, it took BMW’s four.four-liter V8 and tuned it to an amazing 612 horsepower peaking from five,five hundred-six,five hundred rpm, and 590 pound-feet of max torque available from two,000-five,000 rpm. Don’t forget, a great deal like the seven Series, there is no M version of the X7: the Alpina is the most overall performance-oriented version available. Alpinas have generally been much less hardcore than M cars, more about Autobahn street visits than Nurbürgring track times, which definitely seems proper for a 3-row SUV.

Alpina also applies its personal “Switch-Tronic” tuning to the 8-velocity computerized to handle that electricity in rapid, sleek shifts. That goes to all 4 wheels by way of an Alpina-calibrated version of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive technique. Alpina also tuned the two-axle air suspension for a smoother experience with sportier handling, moreover a lower experience height in the Alpina-exclusive Activity method.

You are almost certainly wondering what all this costs, and you could not be shocked to master that it’s a ton. The Alpina XB7 starts at $142,295, which contains BMW’s comparatively reasonable $995 spot fee. For that princely sum, though, you get a ton. The upgraded powertrain, suspension, exhaust, brakes and extra-distinctive ease and comfort characteristics like heated armrests, massaging entrance seats, distant start, the hands-cost-free targeted visitors jam assistant, head-up show and heated and cooled cupholders are baked in as regular. Our tester’s sticker price totaled $156,345, which bundled an upcharge for the Ametrin Metallic paint ($1,950), the white Merino leather-based ($1,five hundred), a rear-seat enjoyment technique ($two,200), a Bowers & Wilkins seem technique ($3,four hundred), five-zone local weather control ($800), these captain’s chairs ($five hundred), the trick LED sunroof ($750), and the 23-inch wheels ($two,600) that are almost certainly sitting in a garage somewhere until late spring.

I did not tread gingerly with the XB7 in the snow — this significant boy felt as self-confident as you’d be expecting an X7 to feel in inclement weather — but I did not particularly flog the matter, either. The high experience and all-wheel drive manage the powder just great, and the winter tires helped this five,860-pound behemoth tread solidly and brake immediately on the packed snow. In reality, a great deal of our driving, done within the bounds of sanity and prudence on general public streets, was uneventful. In everyday, everyday driving, minimal of the Alpina individuality shines through. If you fork out near focus, you start off to recognize what you do not recognize points like sound, vibration and system roll are held in look at brilliantly. Kudos to the adaptive suspension in particular. When jogging errands, we could easily fail to remember about the 612 horsepower and the gearshifts going on quietly in the track record.

A properly-timed eco-friendly mild on the suitable street or a highway on-ramp may possibly assist you try to remember, though, that this is the sportiest version of the X7 you can get, by much. When requested, the Alpina XB7 springs to lifetime, hurling forward with a brappy growl issuing from the exhaust. Oh yeah, it reminded me as the streets began to distinct up later in the week, this matter can celebration.

Eventually, there was sufficient dry pavement on some good streets to wake up this sleeping big. After placing it into Activity method at a stoplight, watching the system settle down onto its haunches can help set the tone for what’s about to come about. Slam the fuel, and the XB7 leaps to lifetime, with the twin-turbo V8 kicking you back into your seat. BMW statements a -60-mph time of four. seconds, which, for something weighing almost 3 tons, is a testament to Alpina’s powertrain tuning chops. It pulls difficult from the get-go and through the mid-vary, just tapering off subtly high in the rev vary. The transmission manages swift shifts devoid of interrupting the experience of utter velocity. It is sleek, refined, even well mannered as it pulls your scalp rearward. The exhaust notice — aggressive, but not extremely intrusive — is the ultimate component to this rich reward.

We did not fling the XB7 all around corners at full tilt, but It felt adept at handling its bulk as forces acted upon it from their several vectors. The suspension managed to maintain me from sliding all around in my seat as the XB7 mitigated system roll and managed the chassis’ romance with the crumbling pavement beneath it. The tuning that manages ease and comfort in herky-jerky city targeted visitors does an equally adept position at supplying poise when just one decides to take advantage of the electricity at hand.

Our Alpina XB7 arrived just one snowstorm right after our slushy week with the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, so it’s approximately not possible not to attract comparisons. Whilst the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 could be a more specifically analogous, the Alpina seems to mix a bit of the ethos of both equally AMG and Maybach, and then translates it into a Bavarian dialect. There is no denying that Alpina places overall performance at the forefront, but it does not do so at the sacrifice of course. The XB7 is more temperate in its styling than the brash AMG and unquestionably the opulent Maybach (that two-tone paint, gentleman!). It does not shout at you with carbon fiber and serious strains, but it also does not ply you with toss pillows and a champagne fridge. Alpina, as a substitute, benefits its driver with the variety of ease and comfort that does not very cosset, and the variety of overall performance that does not wage war on the occupants’ senses. And that in some way tends to make this $one hundred forty,000, 612-hp crossover seem to be … properly, simple is not the suitable word. “Very good value” isn’t suitable, either. How about “a more tasteful middle ground than its Mercedes competitors”?

If you have the signifies and are on the lookout for a usable but remarkably powerful German ute, the Alpina XB7 provides. If you will need your full-dimensions crossover to precede your individuality — no matter whether you are an aggressive particular person who wants an aggressive experience (AMG), or want to point out that you have almost certainly acquired a matter for attractive fountains (Maybach) — Mercedes has some pretty good selections for you. If you like wonderful, rapidly, snug points, but do not will need your 3-row motor vehicle to make a daring assertion for you, try the Alpina. Just be completely ready for the hurry when the pedal hits the ground.

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