2013 BMW Alpina B7
2013 BMW Alpina B7
The BMW Alpina B7 is fairly well-liked within the halls of C/D headquarters. Basically a BMW 7-series with more power, more interior dressing, and even better handling, the Alpina-fettled 7 boasts an intoxicating mix of grace and athleticism. And now that the 7-series has been updated for 2013, so has the B7. Before you ask, yes, Alpina managed to extract even more power from BMW’s twin-turbocharged V-8, and, yes, it still rides on gorgeous 21-inch wheels with Alpina’s signature 20-spoke design.
Alpina, for those not in the know, is more or less a semi-independent extension of BMW that churns out tuned versions of that company’s wares—cars like the B3, B5, and B6. The B7 is the only Alpina product offered in the States. It’s based on the 750i / 750Li and is therefore available in short- and long-wheelbase form with either rear- or all-wheel drive. It’s been said more than once that Alpina’s B7 sedan is what an M-badged 7-series would be, given the car’s extensive upgrades; that comparison may become more direct since we’ve learned BMW is interested in building an M7. For now, though, the B7 remains the fastest, most exclusive iteration of the 7 out there.
Just like the 2013 7-series lineup, the 2013 B7 gets slightly massaged front-end styling, a new eight-speed automatic transmission in place of last year’s six-cog unit, and some engine tweaks. The B7’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 gets BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve-lift system, which helps boost output by 40 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque over last year’s B7. The new totals are 540 hp and 538 lb-ft. (The regular 7’s V-8 received the same Valvetronic upgrade and gained 45 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque for totals of 445 hp and 480 lb-ft.)
The big difference in power between the B7 and the 750i comes from bigger turbos, bigger intercoolers, oil coolers for the transmission and engine, high-performance pistons, and beefed-up cylinder heads. In addition to this go-faster gear, the 2013 B7 also inherits the same engine stop-start system that the regular 7 gets.
According to Alpina, the 2013 B7 now can hit a drag-limited terminal velocity of 194 mph with rear-wheel drive and 193 for all-wheel-drive models; both figures are up from 175 mph. The company predicts the run from zero to 60 mph will now take between 4.3 and 4.4 seconds. We ran both rear- and all-wheel-drive 2011 B7 models to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds in our testing, so Alpina’s performance estimates likely are conservative.
The refreshed B7 will make its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this August, and will go on sale at roughly the same time. Pricing for the 2013 B7 increases by $5000 for each model, but there is one new (notable) standard feature as well as some new options. Ceramic-coated knobs—previously optional—are now included, while full-LED headlights and a Bang & Olufsen audio system are available. Plus, there’s the 2013 B7’s 40 additional hp. Pricing starts at $128,495 for the short-wheelbase, rear-drive B7, and the long-wheelbase version costs $132,395. Adding xDrive all-wheel drive to either adds $3000