In June this year, Alpina’s boss Andreas Bovensiepen told us a performance version of the BMW X7 “would be great for the U.S." During our tour at the company’s facility in Buchloe, Germany, we spotted an X7 prototype that hinted the company is indeed working on a more powerful and sportier variant of Bavaria’s flagship SUV. Now, a new batch of spy shots shows Alpina is at the Nurburgring to test the upcoming XB7/XD7.

The trial car is slightly camouflaged and rides on Alpina’s signature 20-inch multi-spoke wheels. At this point, we can’t tell whether this is a diesel- or petrol-powered prototype but we are leaning towards the former judging by the exhaust pipes layout at the back. In fact, the German company is most likely working on two different versions of the SUV. And this makes a lot of sense - here's why.

Gallery: Alpina XB7 spy photos

Here in Europe, customers of large, powerful sport utility vehicles still prefer diesel power and BMW’s 3.0-litre inline-six diesel offers 394 bhp and 560 pound-feet of torque in its standard form. A power boost of about 50 bhp could make the Alpina XD7 the world’s most powerful production diesel SUV.

At the other side of the big pond, Alpina will most likely bring a V8 version of the X7. A modified 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from BMW could deliver in excess of 600 bhp, which should be enough to shave off a few tenths of a second from the large SUV’s 0-62 miles per hour sprint time.

Look for Alpina’s version of the X7 sometime in 2020. Before that, the niche automaker will kick off sales of the B7 (7 Series-based) super saloon later this year.

Photos: Automedia