It’s a known fact that BMW will never produce M versions of their flagship models such as the 7 series and X7, even the BMW M boss has stated in the past that performance models are nimble and sized small to be able to drive and enjoy, not huge and carrying too much weight. So Alpina is offering the B7 which is based on the 7 series and their newest model based on the X7 and it’s called the XB7. This is focused on providing maximum sportiness and comfort that you might not get on the model it is based on, more especially the X7 M50i.
Basically, what Alpina has done here is tweaked the standard V8 engine, set up the suspension for sporty driving yet not compromising comfort and improving the interior design and quality. Don’t get me wrong, the X7 is already a brilliant SUV and some may say one of the best Full-Size SUV on the market, note that I said “one of the best” before you start quarrelling about other models such as the Mercedes Benz GLS. But the XB7 is something we never asked for yet it makes sense that it exists because if you are a bimmer fan who loves the X7 and you want a unique SUV, well the answer is from Alpina.
The XB7 is no slouch when we get to the performance game because the figures match it to a sportscar even though it weighs just over 2 500 kg. The rapid acceleration of 0-97 km/h in 4.0 seconds is possible thanks to the tuned 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 used in BMW M50i models but in the XB7 it produces 612 hp (456 kW) and 800 Nm of torque. The speed has been increased to 290 km/h and that is where Alpina slaps the limiter. The 8-speed ZF automatic transmission has been tweaked to handle all the torque from that powerful engine.
Straight away when you get your first glance of it, you will notice that it’s not a normal X7 as the Alpina name is on the deeper frontend bumper with chrome bits all over the front. It is riding on 21-inch Alpina Dynamic wheels as standard and you can opt for 23-inch forged-alloy wheels in a 20-spoke design finished in Anthracite and wrapped in Pirelli tyres, honestly, they look sick. What is an Alpina model without the signature stainless steel sports quad exhaust pipes? Not an Alpina. Overall, this looks the business and generates all the presence of a luxurious SUV.
Like all Alpina models, the XB7 comes with four driving modes: comfort, comfort plus, sport and sport plus. It’s rare to find a comfort plus mode in any production vehicle and what it does in the XB7 is soften the suspension and provides a smooth gliding ride. The power is delivered to all four wheels using the xDrive system coupled with active rear-wheel steering which allow the wheels to turn at a 2.3º angles left and right.
Step inside the XB7 and you are met with quilted plush seats in Merino leather and that’s for all 6 or 7 seats, depending on how many seats you configure, arranged in a three-row seating setup. Like in the normal X7, the 6 seat option enables the second row to be turned into a presidential seating area with reclining and extra under-thigh support seats. The instrument panel is covered in leather, there is Alcantara headlining, soft close doors, and talking about all of these materials reminds me of the Cullinan but that is one SUV that’s in a different league of luxury.
You get a three-part panoramic glass sunroof with Sky lounge LED function that changes patterns in 15 000 different ways, imagine that. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment screen have been set up with Alpina specific features and that is only the way you view certain things like the driving modes.
There are so many driving safety features included on the XB7 like Lane Departure Warning, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Collision Warning, and Traffic Jam Assist amongst the many features that come as standard also.
The XB7 is intended for the US market, therefore it will be built at BMW’s Spartanburg plant located in South Carolina. Orders can be placed in May 2020 and deliveries will be made in September 2020. This won’t be coming to SA because we don’t deserve nice things but anyways, the XB7 should impress in all departments such as speed, comfort and looks.
Source: BMW Alpina XB7 U.S. Press Information