2020 BMW Alpina B7 first drive review: Big, bad, Bavarian ‘bahn-burner

    180 miles per hour does not really feel that quick in an enormous luxurious sedan on an unrestricted part of German autobahn. But when the slow-moving Volkswagen Passat decides to merge into your lane when it clearly should not, 180 mph appears like warp velocity as you are standing on the brakes to keep away from imminent catastrophe.Thankfully, the 2020 BMW Alpina B7 is a sedan able to not solely comfortably attaining loopy cruising speeds, however bringing them to a halt and not using a trace of drama. And what have you learnt, it is a hoot off the freeway, as nicely.
    Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this refreshed B7, let’s speak about Alpina and its relationship with BMW. In Germany, Alpina is an independently owned and operated automaker, nevertheless it works solely with BMW. The firm tunes the whole lot from the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series sedans to the X3 and X4
    SUVs, and sells them with Alpina-specific VINs. It’s even received a pleasant facet hustle within the high-end wine distribution enterprise. (If you are ever in Buchloe, go try the wine cellar.)Here within the US, Alpina sells its automobiles by means of BMW’s community, and along with the B7, just lately provided the 6 Series Gran Coupe-based B6 sedan. The Alpina B7 will get all the fancy new accoutrements of the up to date 2020 7 Series sedan, and with the 6 Series Gran Coupe not within the image, the German tuning home is already wanting on the 8 Series coupe for its subsequent US providing.BMW’s new 7 Series has been broadly criticized for its 2020 mannequin 12 months redesign — particularly, that massive ol’ grille. I really suppose these enlarged kidneys look their finest right here on the B7, properly mixing in with the 7’s slimmer headlamps, redesigned decrease fascia and Alpina-spec decrease lip. Around again, you will discover a small decklid spoiler, quad-tip exhausts and a brand new diffuser.BMW will promote you a B7 in a variety of completely different colours, however you would be loony to not order yours in Alpina-exclusive shades of blue or inexperienced — each of which, by the best way, are no-cost choices. Thankfully, even when you do go off the menu and order a standard-issue BMW coloration, each B7 rolls on Alpina’s supercool 20-spoke wheels, out there in 20- and 21-inch sizes.
    Step inside and the B7 appears like some other totally loaded 7 Series, which means it borders on being downright opulent. Nappa leather-based is normal, and you may have it quilted for a further $500. Merino leather-based kicks all of it up a notch (and withdraws $4,000 out of your checking account), and when you’re actually going for that sugar daddy way of life, be sure you spec the $5,750 rear government lounge seating bundle, for the reclining seat with footrest, lounge middle console, plush rear buckets and particular person leisure techniques. A barely much less fancy model of this pack may be had within the $3,900 luxurious rear seating possibility, which does not provide two particular person thrones, however nonetheless ups the back-seat passenger consolation recreation fairly a bit. Oddly, you will need to order one in every of these rear-seat packages in order for you the heated steering wheel and entrance armrests, too.B7-specific inside touches are restricted to a placard on the middle console Alpina’s button-style fingertip gear selectors on the steering wheel, which the corporate has all the time fitted instead of typical paddles (and fairly frankly, I hate utilizing them). Otherwise, the B7 is as comfy and quiet as some other top-shelf 7 Series, with comfortable, supportive seats, fantastically crafted supplies and greater than sufficient room for even the tallest, widest passengers.Cabin tech carries over from the opposite 2020 7 Series fashions, too, which means the B7 will get BMW’s iDrive 7 multimedia interface is housed on a 10.2-inch touchscreen. Navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, wi-fi smartphone charging, Apple CarPlay compatibility and people foolish gesture controls are all a part of the bundle, and the 7’s digital instrument cluster will get an Alpina-style reskin, with a blue-and-green coloration scheme and completely different speedometer and tachometer fonts. Opt for one of many aforementioned premium rear-seating choices and your riders in again may have a 7-inch iDrive command pill at their disposal, to allow them to override your alternative of music, choose their very own ambient lighting colours or change your navigation route to incorporate a cease at Taco Bell as a result of, hey, all of us crave a Crunchwrap every so often.
    Thankfully, Alpina does not nickel-and-dime you on driver-assistance expertise; the 7 Series’ entire equipment and caboodle is normal. Every B7 comes with adaptive LED lighting, BMW’s adaptive cruise management with Adaptive Driving Assistant, parking help, a head-up show, surround-view digicam, lane-keeping help and so forth.Alpina says it tries to create merchandise that fill area of interest gaps in BMW’s portfolio. In different phrases, since BMW does not make a full-fledged M7, Alpina builds the B7. And contemplating how good the B7 is, BMW actually does not want an M7. (I’d most likely choose the look of the Alpina, anyway.)Power comes from the identical 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 that you will discover within the BMW 750i, however with a further 77 horsepower and 37 pound-feet of torque, for a grand complete of 600 hp and 590 lb-ft. That places the B7’s output simply shy of the V12-powered M760i (600 hp, 627 lb-ft), although curiously, at 3.5 seconds, the Alpina is one-tenth of a second faster within the 0-60 mile-per-hour sprint.But the B7 is way over only a boosted 7 Series. This automobile feels prefer it’s completely unstoppable, whether or not gobbling up lengthy stretches of German autobahn or whereas winding alongside backroads by means of Bavaria’s lush forests.
    Alpina touched all of the efficiency {hardware} that underpins the 7 Series; the B7’s rear-axle steering, air suspension, dynamic dampers and all-wheel-drive system have been retuned to account for the stiffer chassis, new wheel/tire setup and extra highly effective engine. Bigger braking {hardware} is fitted, too, with four-piston, mounted calipers up entrance, clamping down on 15.5-inch discs. At the rear, floating calipers work with 15.6-inch discs. Alpina deliberately makes use of metal bakes as an alternative of dearer carbon-ceramic stoppers — firm representatives inform me it does not make that massive of a distinction. And after repeated laborious stops at triple-digit speeds, I can verify that brake fade is hardly a difficulty.The B7 reveals plenty of athleticism. Along ribbons of clean German pavement, the Alpina is unquestionably sharper than an equal 750i, and does not really feel as cumbersome because the brutish M760i. The steering has an exquisite weight and directness to its motion, which helps with total agility. Of course, it is a automobile that is 17 ft lengthy and 6 ft huge and weighs 4,855 kilos, so it isn’t precisely what I’d name nimble. It’ll take a nook with much less physique roll than a Mercedes-AMG S63, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a handful in tight hairpins. That stated, get this factor out on lazy, winding roads or open expanses of freeway, and it completely goes like hell. You can actually really feel the immense energy beneath your proper foot, the eight-speed automated transmission easily switching between gears as wanted, with superquick shifts in its extra aggressive Sport and Sport+ modes. I discover one of the simplest ways to drive this automobile is to make use of its Adaptive setting, which adjusts the powertrain and chassis traits to your demeanor. Comfort mode is a little bit too floaty for my tastes, and digging into the 2 Sport applications feels a little bit out of character for what’s, on the finish of the day, an enormous luxurious barge.
    Alpina says the B7 will do 205 mph flat-out, and whereas I solely (solely!) reached 180 mph on my unrestricted run, it is apparent this automobile has much more to provide. Where some luxurious sedans can really feel a bit unhinged on the high finish of their efficiency register, the Alpina virtually feels reserved by comparability. The indisputable fact that this automobile so effortlessly cruises at practically 200 mph is a very wonderful feat. No automobile I’ve examined in latest reminiscence covers nice distances with such nice velocity as simply and unflappably because the Alpina B7.The 2020 BMW Alpina B7 begins at $142,800, not together with $995 for vacation spot. And if I’m sincere, it is form of a discount — comparatively talking, natch. Yes, it is a full $40,150 dearer than a base 750i xDrive, nevertheless it comes with much more normal equipment, to not point out a boatload of energy. On the opposite hand, the Alpina B7 is $6,750 lower than a Mercedes-AMG S63, or extra to the purpose, $14,900 lower than BMW’s personal M760i. I suppose I get the attract of getting a V12 engine beneath your hood, however park the B7 subsequent to an M760i and inform me you would not choose the Alpina each time.Really, my solely points with the Alpina B7 are that I do not earn a wage giant sufficient to afford one, and that I haven’t got a delimited stretch of street wherever close to my dwelling. But when you can, and when you do, the B7 is a hell of a automobile. Just bear in mind: You completely need it in blue.
    Editors’ be aware: Travel prices associated to this function have been coated by the producer. This is frequent within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers as a way to present scored editorial evaluations, all scored car evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial crew are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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