Classic German tuning house has turned its attention to the big fella X7 and popped out this absolute monster – the Alpina XB7.
The BMW X7 is an absolute whopper of a machine and a very, very good one. Like compatriot Audi, the company saw the gap above its previous flagship SUV, the X5, and filled it. Thing is, the Audi Q8 went for the big limo approach, not bothering with the third row.
BMW went all out, building a tall ship with buckets of room and some serious box-on-wheels aesthetics.
Alpina has done its usual chassis and styling mods as well as amping up the power unit.
Look and Feel
Alpina certainly likes to square a few curves in bits it can change, with a distinct 1980s West German vibe in some cars. This one has a little bit of that, but the styling team can’t do much to reduce the size of the big kidney grille.
The wheels probably make the biggest difference, as does the low(est) ride height. Alpina adds the funky “floating” lettering in the lower edge of the front bumper and adds some slots and bits as well as a metallic bar across the air dam.
It’s big in here. Usually, you’d say there is acres of room, but it’s so big I’m going with hectares. The top-spec Merino leather is everywhere and you get the Crafted Clarity glass look on the shifter and iDrive controller. And BMW’s awesome big screens are of course along for the ride and the Live Cockpit.
At the risk of labouring the point about how big it is, the boot starts with a massive 750 litres when the rear seats are stowed, through to 2120 litres with all the seats down. You can also punch a button to drop the car’s height by 50mm.
Under that huge bow, I mean bonnet, is BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8. It’s already a belter of an engine, but Alpina likes to adjust the character of BMW engines for what I call relaxed speed.
The engine spins up 457kW and 800Nm of torque. Maximum torque is available from just 2000rpm all the way to 5000rpm. All that power heads to all four wheels via the usual eight-speed ZF automatic, which is tuned Alpina-style and works with the signature Comfort+ setting.
Despite its obvious heft, 0-100km/h arrives in just 4.2 seconds. Just 10.7 seconds later, you’ll have doubled the speed for a 0-200km/h figure of 14.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 290km/h.
Alpina’s work on the engine included tuning the two 54mm twin-scroll turbochargers while adding two additional water coolers, a bigger transmission oil cooler and a set of their own intercooler setup.
Behind the engine, Alpina fits a stainless steel exhaust with a set of flaps to either drop the V8 burble or turn it up.
Fuel consumption – 13.9L/100km (WLTP)
The big beast is a drinker. This figure, though, is going to be far closer to reality than the figures we’ll see on the XB7’s windscreens in Australia.
The figure checks out, too, as the sleeker and lighter M550i xDrive went through 11.3L/100km in our hands.
With air suspension on both axles, the XB7’s ride height can drop by up to 40mm. That probably helps a bit with high-speed fuel economy. When you hit Sport mode at any speed, the height drops 20mm. If you’re in Comfort or Comfort+, it will drop 20mm at 160km/h and a further 20mm north of 250km/h.
Probably best not to check that claim on public roads in Australia.
As you might expect, the XB7 has adaptive suspension with electromechanical anti-roll bars to reduce body roll.
Huge 21-inch wheels come as standard and are, naturally, in the Alpina multi-spoke style. Shod with ALP-coded Pirelli P-Zero tyres, they’re 285/45s all-round.
You can spec an absolutely massive set of hoops – 23-inch forged alloys with 20 spokes. Along with the gangster look, the wheels shed 13kg off the bulk of the XB7, despite running 285/35s at the front and huge 325/30s at the back.
The XB7 features an electronic LSD between the rear wheels for a bit of fast-moving shenanigans. Alpina is keen for you to know it has a locking torque figure of up to 2000Nm.
The rear wheels also have steering, with up to 2.3 degrees of pivot. All-wheel steering is very handy for such a big unit.
Alpina also fits its own dome-bulkhead struts and reinforced torsion struts to stiffen the shell.
Hauling this thing to a stop are four-piston Brembo calipers gripping 395mm front discs and 398mm at the back. You can also specify lightweight drilled discs.
How much is the Alpina XB7 and when can I have one?
First of all, it is coming to Australia. It won’t be here until 2021, though, which is a bit of a drag, but hey, it’s not like we’re going anywhere.
This one is an obvious one for Alpina – the X7 is already a cracker, but with the extra comfort, Alpina-exclusivity and the whole vibe of Alpina rarely has anything but a positive effect on Bavaria’s finest.
The price will no doubt be north of $200,000 but still well below Bentley’s vulgar Bentayga.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.