While the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 may represent the pinnacle of luxury and comfort in a full-size SUV, the all-new 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 announced today is taking power and performance to rare heights.
Of course, you know the Alpina brand for its work on BMW cars like the 3 Series (Alpina B3) and 7 Series (Alpina B7), the latter already on sale in Canada, but now we get its first-ever take on an SUV from the Bavarian automaker, namely the award-winning X7.
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The piece de resistance is naturally found under the hood in the form of a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine that produces as much as 612 horsepower from 5,500-6,600 rpm and 590 pound-feet of torque from just 2,000 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm.
Mated to an optimized eight-speed sport automatic transmission and active limited-slip rear differential, the BMW Alpina XB7 rockets from 0-100 km/h in a mere 4.2 seconds. Top track speed is rated at 290 km/h.
These numbers are the result of modifications to the turbochargers and cooling system, among other things. A new sport exhaust system in stainless steel, specially developed by Alpina, delivers a unique sound that drivers can adjust via electronically controlled active flaps.
On the road, the BMW ALPINA XB7 promises exceptional agility for a vehicle of this size and weight. There’s a sport air suspension that can lower the ride height by 20 millimetres in Sport mode (or from 160 km/h) and another 20 millimetres in Sport+ mode (or beyond 250 km/h). A specific dome-bulkhead strut and reinforced torsion struts increase body rigidity, the all-wheel drive system’s active torque distribution has been specially adapted to maximize traction and neutral driving dynamics in all conditions, while four-wheel active steering is said to offer direct steering response with exceptional feedback.
The standard 23-inch forged-alloy wheels in the iconic 20-spoke design are finished in Anthracite and wrapped in performance summer tires explicitly developed by Pirelli for this vehicle. They partly hide Brembo callipers painted in Alpina Blue (with four-piston units up front) and massive discs measuring close to 400 millimetres.
Beyond the wheels, design tweaks to the Alpina XB7 are relatively subtle. The front bumper with large air intakes and free-floating ALPINA lettering is aerodynamically optimized, while the rear bumper adds style and beautifully integrates the two twin tailpipes.
Inside, whether in six- or seven-passenger configuration, there are unique details such as custom lighting, the iDrive Controller in crystal glass with laser-etched ALPINA logo and the sport steering wheel in Lavalina leather with Blue/Green stitching. The 12.3-inch digital instrument display also has a specific Alpina design.
Manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 starts at $165,900 in Canada (the base X7 retails from $94,000). Orders open later this month with the first deliveries scheduled for September.