BMW once dubbed itself “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and remains synonymous with luxury and performance. A bulk of the brand’s popularity commonly rests on performance vehicles, futuristic designs, and features. Its SUVs and crossovers appeal to a broad audience. But other drivers yearn for both the comfort and reliability of a good SUV, like Alpina.
The German tuning company Alpina comes in with its tuned BMW Alpina XB7. Car and Driver reminds consumers that the vehicles deemed outside the realm of BMW’s in-house performance M tuning and designation, like the Alpina, do the performance tuning at a price.
Alpina’s storied history
Tuning house Alpina has over 50 years of experience making BMWs draw increased performance and handling. Road & Track recaps Alpina’s iconic roots, noting that its relationship with BMW predates the M performance division.
Road and Track summarize, beginning in the 1960s, Alpina originally focused on boring out engines and adding dual carburetors. It was more of a matter of the tuning company taking a BMW and replacing parts with its own.
Today, Alpina and BMW work more closely when it comes to performance tuning. Alpina is no longer an afterthought for spicing up models that could use more zip. BMW works with the tuning house to facilitate Alpina’s models with plenty of lead time.
The Alpina XB7’s performance comes at a price
While BMW’s own M cars, selling at higher price tags than their regular counterparts, Alpina BMWs command even greater costs. The BMW X7’s MSRP starts from $74,900. However, the BMW Alpina XB7 chimes in at a base price of $142,295, with a cost of $156,345 as tested by Car and Driver.
While some drivers may be able to afford a comfortable new X7, the XB7’s cost limits who can own it, not everyone will be able to afford or justify dishing out nearly twice as much money for the luxury SUV of their dreams.
Exterior and interior upgrades to the BMW XB7
Car and Driver noted that the updates to the exterior are minor. The XB7’s changes are new bumpers, quad rear exhaust pipes, and a large Alpina emblem on the lower kidney grille. The base XB7 comes standard with 21-inch wheels and tires, while Car and Driver’s as-tested model donned larger 23-inch rims with Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires.
The XB7 carries over the luxurious finishes shared with its baseline X7 counterparts with some replacements and additions to the interior. The Alpina logo replaces the BMW roundel on the horn press, and the instrument cluster display is different. There are also various Alpina emblems throughout the interior on the dashboard and center console. The XB7 also replaces the typical paddle shifting on the steering wheel with Alpina’s trademark button shifting.
Notable performance increases to the BMW XB7
It delivers on performance with the tuning companies reputation and the XB7’s restrictive price tag. As tested by Car and Driver, it boasts 612 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque to back it up. That’s a jump from the base X7’s 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
The jump in horsepower is thanks to its upgraded, less restrictive exhaust system and increased cooling for the larger twin-scroll turbos. The result is the XB7 going from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds. This is massively impressive because it’s as-tested 5,864-pound curb weight.
Alpina’s adjustable air spring suspension and adaptive dampers support the XB7’s nearly three tons, allowing it to traverse terrain with maximum driver and occupant comfort.
It’s undeniable that Alpina takes already luxuriant performance BMWs and elevates them to superstar performance status. The XB7 delivers on fine-tuning but at a cost that makes it out of the grasp for most typical luxury SUV owners.