High-performance manufacturer Alpina announced they will offer the BMW Alpina XB7 for sale in the United States, with the first deliveries set for September. The BMW Alpina XB7 will be Alpina’s first “Sports Activity Vehicle” (BMW-speak for SUV) available to U.S. consumers. The XB7 is based upon BMW’s X7 model line.
Starting at $141,300 (excluding a $995 destination fee), performance-minded consumers with money to spend will be curious about what the XB7 brings to the table. Let’s take a look.
The BMW Alpina XB7 will merge a boisterous 4.4 liter bi-turbocharged V8 with unique interior and exterior stylings. Alpina aims to further enhance the XB7’s overall appeal by equipping it with three-row seating, a performance-tuned suspension, and an aerodynamic profile.
What’s Under The Hood?
As mentioned above, the BMW Alpina XB7 is motivated by a bi-turbo 4.4-liter V8. The engine renders 612 horsepower (5,500 to 6,600 rpm) and offers a maximum torque output of 590 lb-ft. that ranges across a 2,000 to 5,000 rpm threshold. The XB7 posts a quarter-mile time of 12.6 seconds and can lay down a zero to 60 mph pull in a mere four seconds. When equipped with the standard 21-inch wheels and performance tires, the XB7 achieves a maximum speed of 180 mph.
Many of these noteworthy performance characteristics can be attributed to the twin-scroll turbochargers (2.1-inch turbines), which minimize spool time and convert exhaust gas pressures into boost. This, in turn, leads to rapid throttle response and maximum torque yields, even at low engine speeds, according to Alpina. External water coolers, a dedicated transmission cooler, and Alpina’s proprietary intercoolers keep the 4.4 liter V8 running optimally, even under high demand.
The BMW Alpina XB7 also comes with a custom exhaust that is equal parts form and function. The system’s non-restrictive nature reduces back-pressure to aid in performance, while the active exhaust flaps allow a driver to customize the sound output. These flaps correspond to variable settings, including a comfort setting, whereby the sound output is minimized. By contrast, a sport configuration offers a more significant, robust tone.
Transmission & Drivetrain Configuration
The BMW Alpina XB7 relies upon a ZF 8HP76 eight-speed Sport Automatic Transmission to transfer the engine’s power to the pavement. Alpina says this transmission was specifically engineered to meet the high torque demands of the XB7. It can be manipulated manually through steering wheel-mounted shift buttons.
The 8HP76 transmission retains its viability under prolonged periods of high demand by using an aluminum transmission oil sump located in the underbody.
The XB7’s variable performance modes also have a bearing on transmission shift points. When in SPORT and SPORT+ modes, dynamic shift points cater to high demand operation. In contrast, COMFORT and COMFORT+ mode allow for lighter cruising.
The BMW Alpina XB7 features an electronically-variable, active limited-slip differential with a locking torque of up to 1,475 lb-ft. The degree of lock is monitored in real-time, based upon several variables that include, but are not limited to, wheel speed, friction coefficients, and the steering angle. As a result, Alpina says the design minimizes slip-related torque loss and increases traction.
Sport Derived Suspension
The BMW Alpina XB7 comes standard with a two-axle air ride suspension, which features an Alpina-specific damper and kinematic setup. This system enables a total of 1.6 inches of available height adjustment, which corresponds with the drive modes. For example, at speeds below 19 mph, the XB7’s ride height can increase to circumvent clearance issues and to handle more challenging slopes.
However, much of this system’s practicality lies in its ability to realign its center of gravity as necessary. When SPORT mode is selected, for example, or at speeds above 100 mph, the XB7’s ride height is lowered by 0.8 of an inch. In comparison, the selection of SPORT+ mode or travel above 155 mph will result in an additional decrease in ride height of 0.8 of an inch.
Body rigidity comes by way of Alpina’s proprietary dome-bulkhead strut and reinforced torsion struts. Additionally, the XB7’s stability is maintained in instances of hard cornering by the Active Roll Stabilization system’s electromechanical anti-roll bars, as well as stiffer rear axle bushings.
Innovative AWD & Active Steering Capabilities
The BMW Alpina XB7 features a variable all-wheel drive system that distributes torque as needed between the vehicle’s front and rear axles. This design is based upon BMW’s xDrive system and is intended to maximize traction under an array of circumstances.
Also featured on the XB7 is BMW’s Integral Active Steering technology. The on-board Active Kinematics Control System allows the rear wheels to turn up to 2.3 degrees in either direction. At low speeds, the vehicle’s rear axle steers independently, improving overall handling. At higher speeds, both axles work simultaneously in a bid to increase stability.
Drivers can choose from three steering modes: COMFORT, SPORT, and SPORT+.
21-inch wheels are standard with either performance (summer) or all-season run-flat tires. 23-inch wheels are optional. The summer tires offered in conjunction with the 21-inch wheels were engineered in collaboration with Pirelli, and purpose-built for the XB7.
Four-piston Brembo brake calipers and 15.5 x 1.4-inch diameter discs are used on the XB7’s front axle. Floating calipers and 15.7 x 1.1-inch diameter discs are used in the rear. All brake calipers are emblazoned with the Alpina logo in white.
Exterior Styling Points
Alpina has specifically designed the XB7 to reflect luxury and class, wherever and however possible. This begins with the XB7’s exterior styling cues and trim, which also have performance undertones. For example, the more aerodynamic front bumper has large air intakes, while the rear bumper includes exhaust ports for each tailpipe and small diffusor fins.
Interior Treatments & Amenities
Moving inside, the XB7 emphasizes spacious accommodations for both passengers and cargo. The second of the XB7’s three rows can be ordered as a bench seat, or two individual captain’s seats with available armrests. Luggage compartment space ranges from 48.6 to 90.4 cubic feet, depending upon the chosen seating arrangement. Additionally, a cargo-area mounted switch will drop the vehicle’s height by up to two inches when loading items.
The interior offers high-end Merino Leather, multi-contour seats (heated), soft-close doors, Alcantara headliner, and a leather instrument panel. A three-part panoramic sunroof comes standard for an open-air feel. The XB7 can also be ordered with a nifty optional Panorama Sky Lounge LED Roof, which will illuminate over 15,000 individual graphic patterns, including the replication of a starlit sky.
Additional amenities include a blue illuminated gear switch, illuminated Alpina door sills, and a custom Alpina sports steering wheel in Lavalina leather, accented with blue/green stitchwork. The 12.3-inch digital instrument display offers a range of customizable views along with voice and gesture controls.
BMW Alpina XB7: Safety & Security
BMW’s Driving Assistant Professional is standard on the Alpina XB7. This package uses camera images and ultrasonic radar to detect and avoid imminent threats on the road. Included are blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, rear collision warning, frontal collision warning, and adaptive cruise control, among others.
Parking Assistant Professional is also standard. This system recognizes open parking spots and, at a driver’s command, handles acceleration, braking, and maneuvering to guide the XB7 into position, with the aid of ultrasonic sensors.
The BMW Alpina XB7’s list of features, functions, and amenities is undoubtedly a lengthy one. Those who prefer to commute in luxury, with a little extra performance will likely find the XB7 greatly appeals to them. Though the price tag is substantial ($142,295 starting MSRP), there seems to be no shortage of style and functionality to justify such a figure.
Alpina has a rather significant history of turning already storied BMW models into masterpieces. And I would dare say they have once again replicated this feat with the XB7.
Josh Boyd is an ASE Certified technician with over a decade of experience in automotive repair. When not under the hood, he can be found in the woods or on the water, pursuing his other passions of hunting and fishing.