While BMW has decided against making an X7 M, you can count on Alpina to dial the fullsize luxury SUV up a notch. Much like the B7 saloon serves as a substitute for the M7, the new XB7 is the missing piece of the puzzle, slotting above the X7 M50i in the luxobarge’s hierarchy. In typical Alpina fashion, the visual changes over the standard model are subtle and come to enhance the vehicle’s already powerful presence.
Starting at the front, the reworked bumper carries the traditional Alpina lettering and boasts larger air intakes to provide optimal cooling for the upgraded twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8. The rear end features a discreetly modified bumper with an upgraded exhaust system adapted from the B7 with dual tips flanking the vertical fins. Rounding off the visual changes the amped-up X7 has gone through are the standard 21-inch wheels wrapped in 285/45 R21 tyres both at the front and rear.
Gallery: 2021 BMW Alpina XB7
At an additional cost, buyers can opt for a larger 23-inch set with the timeless 20-spoke design finished in Anthracite. The forged wheels shave off 28 pounds (12.7 kilograms) per set and come with Pirelli performance tyres tailored to the XB7, with 285/35 ZR23 rubber at the front and 325/30 ZR23 at the back. The new shoes are complemented by Brembo brakes and a revised air suspension adjustable in height depending on the vehicle’s speed and the selected driving mode.
Underneath the bonnet, the eight-cylinder engine has been massaged to deliver 612 bhp (456 kilowatts) and 590 pound-feet (800 Newton-metres) of torque. It represents a bump in output over the X7 M50i of 89 bhp and 37 lb-ft (50 Nm). That’s enough to send the large SUV to 60 mph (96 km/h) in only four seconds, provided it has the standard 21-inch wheels. Flat out, it’ll do an electronically capped 180 mph (290 km/h) or 130 mph (209 km/h) if the vehicle is equipped with all-season tyres.
Alpina went to the trouble of testing the XB7 in the quarter mile, ending up with an impressive time of 12.6 seconds. These performance numbers are not too shabby for a vehicle that weighs a whopping 5,860 pounds (2,658 kilograms). The immense power is channelled to the standard xDrive system through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that had to be beefed up to handle the extra torque. Rear-wheel steering also comes standard to improve handling and lower the turning radius.
Offered as standard with three-row seating, the Alpina XB7 will be available with a choice between six and seven seats. Even before ticking any of the boxes on the options list, the brawny SUV will have standard goodies varying from soft-close doors to an Alcantara headliner, along with a three-part panoramic sunroof and plenty of Alcantara and leather. The fancy headliner à la Rolls-Royce with built-in LEDs to mimic a starlit sky through more than 15,000 graphic patterns is going to cost you extra.
The BMW XB7 will be available in the UK starting at £134,300. Alpina is opening the order books this month and will kick off deliveries in September.