BMW has always been willing to take chances and surprise people. One of the bigger chances the luxury automaker took was when it surprisingly joined forces with Alpina, an office equipment manufacturer. But less surprising was when BMW revealed the collaboration: the Alpina XB7.
It looks like a new trim option for the popular X7. But it costs over $66,000 more. What could Alpina have done to warrant that huge price difference?
The BMW Alpina XB7 and BMW X7 at a glance
Considering the $66,400 price difference between the Alpina XB7 and the BMW X7, it’s natural to assume a world of difference separates the vehicles. Yet, when you look at a side-by-side comparison, it seems they’re nearly the same. Both vehicles have a reliable eight-speed transmission with all-wheel drive. Each is designed to carry seven passengers. Each has a 21.9-gallon fuel tank.
But there are some basic differences. Alpina packs a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, while the BMW X7 has a 3.0-liter turbo inline-six, Car Buzz reports. Another major difference is the Alpina XB7 averages between 15 and 21 mpg, while the BMW X7 gets a better 19 to 24 mpg.
A closer look
When you take a closer look at the two vehicles, one thing becomes obvious: The Alpina XB7 is more powerful. It’s capable of 612 hp at 5,500 rpm, while the BMW X7 manages 335 hp at 5,500 rpm.
The biggest difference between the two is the transmission. BMW equipped the XB7 with Switch-Tronic software. According to Alpina, this software plays a key role in how the Alpina XB7 performs. The software enables the vehicle to use specially adapted mechatronics and a special torque converter together. That way, each time the vehicle shifts into a new gear, it does so with the utmost efficiency and smoothness. The purpose of adding this software is to make daily driving more comfortable. The system also provides quicker acceleration and works to improve the XB7’s overall fuel efficiency.
“Even more important than that is its re-calibrated all-wheel-drive system for better performance and traction,” Nico DeMattia wrote of the XB7’s unique transmission and transmission software in a BMWBlog post. “It’s also been given stronger, reinforced drive shafts and output shafts, as well as a stronger rear differential. So it not only will its components withstand more torque, they will also be more durable over time.”
The vehicle’s handling also impressed DeMattia. “While the Alpina XB7 might not look so different from the standard X7,” he wrote. “It’s extremely different under the skin. Drive an Alpina, even for a few minutes, and you’ll soon realize just how different it feels.”
He isn’t the only reviewer to notice the Alpina XB7’s stellar handling.
“The Alpina also corners well for something so big and heavy, turning keenly, biting its way to apexes, and finding impeccable traction even in tighter bends,” Mike Duff wrote in a Car and Driver review. “A number of dynamic aids work to make this assault on physics seem effortless. There is an active anti-roll system and rear-axle steering to sharpen low-speed responses. But from the lofty perch of the driver’s seat, it all felt stable, secure, and calm.”
Is the BMW Alpina XB7 really worth $66,400 more?
The biggest difference between and these two luxury midsize crossovers is the price. The 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 starts around $141,300. And the X7 starts around $74,900. If you’re wondering if the Alpina XB7 is worth the extra coin, you’re not alone.
If you can afford the pricier option, A. Banerjee of Car Indigo thinks you should take the plunge and drive the Alpina XB7 home. According to him, it’s the most luxurious large SUV on the market, and its high degree of luxury and comfort make it worth the price. He even called it a “full-fledged steal.”