Alpina’s first SUV for the U.S. market is here and it comes in the most excessive form possible.
We’re talking about the Alpina XB7, the closest thing you’ll get to a semi-official BMW X7 M. It packs a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 gasoline engine that produces 612 hp (621 PS) at 5,500 – 6,600 rpm and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque available from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm.
Needless to say, the XB7 is capable of tremendous performance for an SUV of this size. Namely, it will do 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds dead (0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds), cover the quarter-mile in 12.6 seconds and top out at 180 mph (290 km/h). These figures are achieved with the standard 21-inch alloys shod with 285/45 R21 performance tires.
Alpina’s stamp of approval required modifications to the powertrain, suspension and brakes
Responsible for these impressive specs is the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that powers the Alpina B7 Sedan, though engineers tweaked it further to unleash 12 extra horsepower. The engine is hooked to the ZF-sourced 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission featuring a “complete redesign of the electronics and mechatronics” by Alpina. More specifically, the shift points are optimized for driving performance and gear shifts are considerably more dynamic in Sport and Sport+ modes.
The BMW Alpina XB7 also features an electronically-variable active limited slip differential on the rear axle, with a locking torque of up to 1,475 lb-ft (1,997 Nm). This is said to improve traction during dynamic driving by minimizing slip-induced losses and distributing torque effectively to the wheel with the most grip at any given time. As with the transmission, the LSD is specifically calibrated to suit the dynamic character of the BMW Alpina XB7.
Alpina’s engineers also worked on the xDrive AWD system by adapting the torque distribution to maximize traction and neutral driving dynamics in all conditions. In addition, the Integral Active Steering (rear-wheel steering) is standard on the XB7, offering direct steering response, exceptional feedback and improving overall agility.
Another area Alpina put its mark on is the standard two-axle air suspension with specific damper and kinematic set-up that allows for a 1.6-inch (40.6-mm) change in ride height, depending of driving situation and mode selection. In the sportiest setting, the Alpina XB7 sits 1.6-in (40.6-mm) closer to the ground for a lower center of gravity.
The absolute pinnacle of the BMW X7 lineup comes from Alpina
In the looks department, the Alpina XB7 adopts a sharp yet understated body kit featuring a new front bumper with large air intakes, new rear bumper with stainless-steel sport exhaust system and small diffusor fins, as well as signature Alpina elements. Those include the brand lettering in the front bumper and Alpina Classic 20-spoke wheels which are optionally available in 23 inches.
Inside, the Alpina XB7 features exclusive details like the ‘Crafted Clarity’ glass application on the blue illuminated gear selector switch, iDrive controller in Alpina design, Alpina production plaque, illuminated Alpina door sills and Alpina sports steering wheel hand-finished in Lavalina leather with trademark Blue/Green stitching. The performance SUV also comes fitted as standard with the Alpina Myrtle Luxury Wood interior trim.
Considering that the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 starts at $141,300 (plus $995 destination), it comes equipped with pretty much every option available on the X7. Highlights include the Merino Leather upholstery, heated Multicontour Seats, Soft-Close Doors, Alcantara Headliner,Leather Instrument Panel, three-part panoramic glass sunroof, and a full suite of driver assistance systems.
The Alpina XB7 can be ordered in the U.S. from May 2020, with the first deliveries scheduled for September. In Germany, where the performance SUV is priced from a whopping €155,200 (equivalent to $170,550), it will arrive in December. The reason for the delay in Europe is the fact that the Alpina XB7 will be built at BMW’s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina.