Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: BMW Canada
Published: February 9, 2016
For those of you tirelessly waiting for BMW to make an M7 to challenge the likes of the Audi S8, Jaguar XJR, and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, you’ll just have to keep waiting. In the mean time, Alpina has a solution for you. Now in its third generation, BMW’s tuner of choice (for over 50 years, I might add) has just introduced their new flagship sedan, the 2017 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive with 600 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and a 0-100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds. Who needs an M7 with that kind of resume.
What the Alpina B7 lacks in M badges, it makes up for in classiness and elegance. If the M7 were a beast that dominates the track, the B7 would be the boss that owns the track. The upgraded design isn’t as subtle as the 750i on which it is based upon though. Front and rear spoilers adorn the epidermis, while quad tailpipes exit out the back. And what’s an Alpina vehicle without the signature set of Alpina 20-inch 20-spoke wheels? Note: 21-inch wheels will also be available, both with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
Hop inside and the lavishness continues. The seats are like thrones with unique LAVALINA leather wrapping each surface along with ceramic inserts on certain controls. A blue and green stitched sports steering wheel hits the spotlight as well as a full-colour digital instrument panel in LED technology. To finish the package, door sills come with blue illumination, along with B7 model inscriptions and plates for further exclusivity.
The hallmark of the B7 however is what is under the hood. Alpina took the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 from the 750i and tuned it up to an impressive output of 600-hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. In fact, a whopping 494 lb-ft is available at a low 2,000 rpm. Note: it’s the same engine found in the Alpina B6. Keeping all that power under control is a newly calibrated 8-speed transmission and a tuned-up all-wheel drive system.
Alpina has also outfitted the B7 with a stainless steel sports exhaust system to reduce back pressure and weight. I’m fairly certain they haven’t forgotten to make it sound louder too.
The 750i’s air suspension has also been carried over into the B7, enabling the ride height to be changed depending on the situation. At speeds above 225 km/h (I really don’t know what you’d be doing at that speed unless you’re on the Autobahn), the B7 will lower the ride height by 20 mm for a lower center of gravity. Alternatively, the ride height can be raised by 20 mm up to a speed of 32 km/h to increase ground clearance over curbs and humps.
Another nifty feature is Integral Active Steering, combining the electric steering system operating the front axle with the rear axle, allowing the rear wheels to turn a maximum of three degrees for better grip and stability.
Who needs an M7 anymore? From what BMW and Alpina are proposing with this B7, it’s set to be the lustworthy, droolworthy, and debt-worthy luxury sedan that you’ve been waiting for.
The 2017 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive will go on sale in Canada in fall of 2016. Pricing has yet to be announced but we’re expecting a starting price north of $150,000. Check out the photo gallery and the full press release below.
Richmond Hill, ON. BMW Canada is pleased to introduce the all-new 2017 BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive, the third generation of ALPINA automobiles based on the BMW 7 Series. The all-new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive stands for luxury paired with precisions dynamics, effortless performance and comfort at the highest level. Pricing and additional technical information will be announced closer to the market launch in fall of 2016.
New generation 4.4 liter V8 engine with twin-turbo charging.
The new 4.4 litre 8-cylinder engine with Bi-Turbo charging, petrol direct injection and Valvetronic delivers an impressive output of 600 bhp between 5750 and 6250 rpm, while the maximum torque of 590 lb-ft is available from 3000 rpm. The resulting performance figures are remarkable – the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 310 km/h (preliminary figure).The power output of this high-tech engine unfolds smooth and with impressive emphasis across the entire rpm range. Excellent throttle response and high torque, even at low engine speeds, ensure that driver inputs are immediately transformed into forward acceleration.
In addition to the depth of BMW ALPINA’s engineering expertise a number of significant technical details are responsible for this engine’s power output and performance characteristics – especially with regards to air intake system, the intercooler and turbocharger configuration and the high-performance cooling system. The Bi-Turbo charging system comprises two specially developed turbochargers positioned in the V of the 8-cylinder engine. These feature optimized twin-scroll turbocharger housings and compressor wheels with enlarged inlet and outlet diameters. In combination with appropriately sized turbines this configuration ensures very effective use of exhaust gas energy even at low engine speeds. The result is a fast power build-up and more torque at low engine speeds for overall exceptional engine response. 494 lb-ft of torque is available at 2000 rpm.
The overall aim during the construction of the output related components of the BMW ALPINA air intake system - from the so called raw air intake ducts to air filter housings and clean air intake manifold - was to achieve maximum dethrottling. All components of the high-performance cooling system are designed to remove bottlenecks and maximize effectiveness – special large-volume coolers are interconnected by large diameter hosing for maximum throughput. An indirect inter-cooler system (air/water/air) facilitates the implementation of short charge-air intake paths – with a main intercooler supplying the two large volume engine-near intercoolers. Together with additional external water coolers and a transmission oil cooler, the system ensures the thermodynamic stability of the V8 Bi-Turbo engine at all times even under the highest loads and ambient air temperatures.
Inside the engine special Mahle pistons and NGK spark plugs are designed to deal with the temperatures and loads associated with 20 psi of boost pressure and a compression ratio of 10.0:1.
The stainless steel BMW ALPINA sports exhaust system is responsible for a reduction in back pressure and weight, its sonorous sound is typically V8. Active exhaust valves allow the driver to influence the sound experience by switching between Comfort and Sport Mode. A typical BMW ALPINA feature: the two twin tailpipes of the exhaust system are integrated elegantly and aesthetically into the rear apron.
Most advanced suspension and chassis technology with characteristic ALPINA dynamics.
The new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive features with cutting-edge suspension technology, offering its driver an exceptional range of driving experiences. The focus to retain the exceptional long-distance cruising comfort of the predecessor while at the same time significantly sharpening the agility, handling and lateral dynamics commensurate to the power output of the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive.
The 2-axle air suspension system combined with Dynamic Damper Control and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview guarantees the very highest level of driving comfort at all times while the Active Roll Stabilization minimizes body roll during cornering. The rear wheel steering of the Integral Active Steering system gives the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive a level of dynamic performance not previously associated with performance luxury sedans as well as light-footed handling usually reserved for sports cars. The Driving Dynamics Control button serves as the central control over which to select the various parameters of all the systems which influence the driving dynamics of the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive. It also features an Individual Mode, which can be used to combine specific settings independently of each other according to the driver’s preference.
With the Driving Dynamics Control used to select the appropriate Mode, the 2-axle air suspension system is primarily responsible for the exceptional level of ride comfort in the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive. It also enables ride height to be changed up or down which in combination with the other suspension systems facilitates the choice of a decidedly comfort or sport orientated chassis set-up. Overall, a maximum ride height adjustment range of 40 mm is available. At speeds above 225 km/h the ride height of the BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive is lowered by 20 mm. This operating state, which can be activated manually to be effective regardless of the speed by selecting the special BMW ALPINA Sport+ Mode, results in a lower center of gravity thereby increasing agility and high-speed stability. Furthermore, the lower ride height results in increased front wheel camber for even more direct turn-in when cornering. If necessary the ride height can also be raised by 20 mm up to a speed of 32 km/h in order to increase ground clearance.
The settings of the Electronic Damper Control, which influences both rebound and compression, are also selected using the Driving Dynamics Control. A broad range of BMW ALPINA damper set-ups are available ranging from Comfort+ Mode for effortless and relaxed cruising to BMW ALPINA Sport+ Mode for maximum dynamic performance.
For the first time, the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive features Integral Active Steering, which in conjunction with the high-performance drivetrain and the all-wheel drive system, offers a dynamic driving experience par excellence. The Integral Active Steering combines a variable ratio electric steering system at the front axle with active steering on the rear axle whereby the wheels can turn a maximum of 3 degrees. Specially attuned to the BMW ALPINA suspension and MICHELIN performance tires the rear axle steers opposed to the front axle at low speeds for increased agility and dynamic handling, while steering with the front axle at higher speeds for maximum high-speed directional stability.
The new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive will be available with either 20” or 21” wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The 20” format will consist of 255/40 ZR20 tires at the front and 295/35 ZR20 tires at the rear, mounted on 8.5 x 20 and 10 x 20 BMW ALPINA CLASSIC wheels respectively. New lightweight 21” forged wheels take the traditional 20-spoke BMW ALPINA CLASSIC design in a new minimalistic and technical direction. Forging results in high-density and high-strength aluminum alloy which enables a weight-optimized construction that saves 2.5 kg of unsprung mass per wheel. The MICHELIN Pilot Super Sport tires are specifically designed to meet the demands of high-performance sports cars. They contribute directly to the precise steering feel and handling of the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive while foregoing run-flat technology in the interests of improved ride comfort.
Equipped with blue painted 4-piston fixed calipers and 395 x 36 mm discs on the front axle and floating calipers with 370 x 24 mm discs on the rear axle, the high-performance brake system provides outstanding stopping power and deceleration.
BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system with ALPINA calibration.
The all-wheel drive system builds upon the technical potential of BMW’s xDrive system and its intelligent and dynamic distribution of drive power which continuously and fully variable distributes torque between the front and rear axle within milliseconds for maximum traction and control.
The programming of the torque distribution control, which is interconnected with the Dynamic Stability Control and the engine management system, is performance-oriented and it increases driving agility and dynamics markedly – especially under lateral acceleration – while maintaining balanced and neutral handling. Besides allowing optimum traction under acceleration by eliminating slip induced losses, the system continuously monitors a wide range of sensory inputs – for example steering angle, lateral acceleration, yaw angle and speed – to distribute torque so as to achieve maximum safety in challenging conditions or when encountering sudden changes in road surface friction. The DTC Mode of the Dynamic Stability Control offers a more rear wheel drive bias torque distribution for even more dynamic handling.
8-speed Sport AutomaticTransmission with ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC.
The new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive utilizes a new generation of the excellent 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission with BMW ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC. Further refined and adapted to the performance characteristics of the high-torque V8 Bi-Turbo in collaboration with ZF, the transmission offers exceptional driving comfort in all situations. Extended gear steps and a total spread of 7.81:1 improve shift comfort and fuel economy. In Automatic Mode the combination of eight gears and high engine torque makes for relaxed, luxurious cruising at low engine rpm even when travelling at higher speeds.
In Sport Mode the shift points have been optimized for improved driving performance and the shifts are considerably more dynamic. It is also possible to activate a Launch Control function in this mode. For maximum dynamic performance, the driver selects the Manual Mode thereby actuating gear changes manually by using the SWITCH-TRONIC buttons on the back of the steering wheel. In addition to extremely fast shift times close to a tenth of a second, this mode also suppresses forced upshifts even when the engine hits the rev-limiter
All components of the transmission such as the torque converter with lock-up clutch, the planetary wheel sets and the inner cooling are designed to specifically cope with the high torque output of the V8 Bi-Turbo engine. This means that no torque reduction is necessary during upshifts when utilizing Launch Control or when using the sportiest configuration of the Manual Mode. This contributes significantly to the striking longitudinal dynamics of the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive and allowing it to sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds. The transmission features the latest Comfort and Efficient Dynamics functions such as Connected Shift (use of navigation data for an anticipatory shift strategy based on traffic routing) and coasting (decoupling of the engine and transmission when coasting).
Athletic and elegant design throughout the B7.
The appearance of the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive is defined by athletic flair and elegance. The BMW ALPINA design and aerodynamic elements emphasize its performance character, with the front and rear spoiler striking a harmonious balance and highlighting the powerful presence of the BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive. The design blends form and function – the aerodynamic components reduce uplift on the front and rear axles to almost zero for maximum driving stability at all speeds. Openings at the front of the vehicle allow the precise and effective flow of air to the individual components of the high-performance cooling system. The iconic BMW kidney grille is fitted with an integrated air flap control system that adapts to the BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive’s cooling needs: when closed it further reduces the level of aerodynamic drag.
The BMW ALPINA sports exhaust system features two elliptical twin tailpipes that reflect the performance of the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive and its powerful V8 engine. They are precisely integrated in the rear apron and give the rear a smooth, elegant look.
The exclusive paint finishes in BMW ALPINA Blue metallic and BMW ALPINA Green metallic are a hallmark feature reserved solely for BMW BMW ALPINA automobiles. Other BMW and BMW Individual paint finishes are likewise available for the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive.
Interior and Equipment
An extensive range of standard equipment ensures maximum well-being and comfort, including high-end Nappa leather, comfort seats, a leather-covered instrument panel, ceramic inserts on selected control elements and soft close doors. Equipment features that further support effortless driving also come as standard in the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive, such as a full-colour Head-Up Display, a rear view camera and the latest BMW navigation, communication and infotainment systems.
ALPINA details add a touch of exclusivity and individual style to the interior. Hand-finished using exceptionally high-quality LAVALINA leather, the sports steering wheel with blue and green stitching is captivating at the very first touch due to its gentle feel. Timeless Piano lacquer or classic Myrtle Luxury Wood - the BMW ALPINA interior trim, door sills with blue illumination, B7 model inscriptions and an individual production plaque are further examples of exclusive equipment features in the new BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive.
Another exclusive ALPINA design element is the full-colour digital instrument panel in LED technology. In Comfort Mode it offers a classic look featuring round instruments with blue background and red needles. In Sport Mode the display changes to a more dynamic design with blue and green drag indicators and a focus on primary information, such as the centrally positioned permanent digital speed read-out.
BMW ALPINA 1965 – 2016
For 50 years, automobiles have been created in Buchloe on the basis of BMW models. With his development of a Weber dual carburetor system for the BMW 1500, Burkard Bovensiepen laid the foundations for an exceptional enterprise, establishing the company BMW ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen KG in 1965. The personality of the founder is reflected in the craftsmanship and spirit of the company’s products to this day. As a technology enthusiast he has created vehicles for automobile gourmets in the last 50 years, and in terms of technical refinement his BMW BMW ALPINA models are on a par with the big names of the industry. His motivation was always the pleasure he himself derived from aesthetically appealing objects, his own personal taste and his endeavour to achieve the very best - and these principles remain the driving force behind the entire company and its staff to this day.