Car of the Year 2011: No. 10 BMW Alpina B7

  • Robert Ross and Paul Meyers

Higher Ground
While BMW cognoscenti worship at the Alpina altar, the luxury-sedan rank and file remain oblivious to Wunderautos wrought by BMW’s partner—which is as it should be, because there are not enough B7s to go around. The engineers and craftsmen at Alpina have taken everything good about the BMW 750 and made it better. It has the expected comfort and luxury of a BMW flagship and the sportiness of the marque’s M cars. The B7 is visually distinguished by Alpina’s trademark turbine-design wheels and front and rear fascias that are unique to this model. For those who want to flaunt their discernment further, the B7 comes in Alpina Blue Metallic, a color available on no other BMW in America. —Robert Ross

 

Lofty Expectations
The B7 may have been a victim of misunderstanding by our Car of the Year judges. As the event’s only "aftermarket product"—a term that requires quotation marks because Alpina is an actual manufacturer—the B7 faced unduly high expectations from several drivers. While it can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds (the same time that it takes the BMW M3 to reach that speed), the B7 was designed to be sportier than the base model, not to be a sports car. In that sense, it is similar to the BMW X6 M, which, by the way, placed last in the 2010 Car of the Year contest. —Paul Meyers

SPECIFICATIONS
Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sedan (optional all-wheel drive) Engine 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 Transmission 6-speed automated manual Power 500 hp at 5,500 rpm Torque 516 ft lbs at 3,000 rpm Curb weight 4,564 pounds Zero to 60 4.5 seconds Top speed 174 mph Base price $122,875 BMW, www.bmwusa.com

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