When Alpina first teased the XB7 performance SUV, it certainly had us wonder what an Alpina badged X7 would bring to the table and whether it would be making a trek to the United States? BMW and the Alpina tuning firm have taken the veil of secrecy off the Alpina XB7, and revealed that it will indeed be coming to the U.S. market.
While the XB7 is not the fire breathing pure M badged variant that some were expecting, it is the final word on performance in the X7 hierarchy, and will sit firmly atop the model family. As mentioned in our prior item, subtlety has always been a trait of many Alpina designs, and here the XB7 largely lives up to form. The reworked front bumper features the traditional Alpina lettering, and it also boasts larger air intakes to help provide maximum cooling to the upgraded 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 lurking under the hood. The rear fascia adopts an equally discreet set of modifications, and at first glance, it would appear that Alpina designers left it alone. However, a closer inspection reveals a slightly tweaked rear bumper, with an upgraded performance exhaust system being mounted under it. the exhaust system is the same unit that also sees duty in the B7 sedan, with dual tips nicely contrasting the vertical fins. Rounding out the changes are standard 21-inch wheels, but buyers can opt for massive 23-inch wheels with the iconic 20-spoke design (an Alpina calling card) finished in Anthracite. The forged wheels help shave 28 pounds for each corner, and are wrapped in Pirelli performance tires that were exclusively engineered for the XB7.
The interior of the XB7 arrives with three rows of seats standard, but Alpina lets you choose between six and seven seats. While the options list for the XB7 is quite extensive, this spiced up utility will still have plenty of standard equipment including soft close doors, healthy doses of Alcantara and leather trim, an Alcantara headliner, as well as a three piece panoramic sunroof. The iDrive controller receives Alpina branding, while the digital instrument cluster receives an Alpina exclusive treatment. Alpina branded door sills are also installed to provide buyers with more clues as to just how special their XB7 is.
But all of this luxury and street presence does not come at the expense of performance, with Alpina engineers making sure that a healthy amount of muscle is also added as well. As mentioned, the XB7 is not a pure M badged model, but it does share its basic underpinnings with the X7 M50i which means you still get a potent punch from the 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8. As expected from an offering wearing the Alpina badge, the engine has been reworked to produce 612 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. That’s an 89 horsepower and 37 lb-ft increase over a standard X7 M50i, and it allows the big BMW to make the sprint to 60 mph in only four seconds before topping out at an electronically limited 180 mph. Alpina also revealed that the XB7 can make the 1/4 mile in 12.6 seconds, with all of these figures being very impressive for a luxury SUV that weighs over 5,000 lbs.
In addition to a revised tune, the engine also comes equipped with Alpina exclusive intercoolers, two supplemental water coolers, a larger transmission cooler, as well as the fore-mentioned custom exhaust system. The eight speed automatic has been heavily fortified to cope with the extra power of the engine, and it has also been tweaked for Alpina duty, with the unit itself being controlled by shift buttons on the steering wheel versus traditional paddles. Four piston Brembo front brakes help haul the XB7 down from speed, with the front rotors measuring in at 15.5 inches. The rear discs are slightly staggered, with the hardware back there checking in a tad bigger at 15.7 inches.
Handling is largely standard X7, with the factory intergal active steering, active anti roll bars, and the configurable air suspension all being carried over to the Alpina. The XB7 does however come equipped with firmer springs and stiffer bushings to help bring some of the body roll under control, which in turn improves high speed cornering behavior.
Pricing for the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 starts at $142,295 (including the $995 destination fee) which is a healthy jump over the $100,595 entry fee for a standard M50i. Ordering is expected to open later this month, with the first deliveries expected to begin in September. As for U.S. deliveries, look for those to kickoff a bit later, with the first U.S. bound XB7s making landfall closer to the end of the year.
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