The 3-series has its M3, the 5-series has its M5, and even the X5 and X6 models have their own fearsome M-spec variants. But what about the 7-series? In the BMW range, the M badge signifies the top rung of the price and performance ladder, but the marque’s grandest sedan has heretofore gone M-less—well, sort of. Introduced as a limited-production model during 2007 and 2008, the Alpina B7—a hot-rodded 7-series created by German speed shop and longtime BMW ally Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen—brought M-spec levels of performance to Bavaria’s flagship sedan. The model returns for the 2011 model year and, based on the dynamic new fifth-generation 7-series, does so in high style and with a plethora of cutting-edge technologies.
Beyond the signature metallic-blue paint job (it’s optional; the full palette of 17 7-series colors is available, too) the Alpina B7 is visually distinct from its more straitlaced 7-series stablemates with 20-spoke, 21-inch alloy wheels, quad exhaust tips, and revised front and rear ends that improve high-speed stability and reduce lift by a significant 30 percent up front and 15 percent in back. Luminous blue doorsills welcome passengers into a lavishly appointed interior, with a supple Alcantara headliner and yards of hand-stitched Lavalina leather covering the dashboard, door panels, center console, heated and cooled front seats, and heated rear seats.
Naturally, there’s fresh power to match this newfound panache. The two Alpina B7 models—a standard-wheelbase version and a 5.5-inches-longer extended-wheelbase version—employ a thoroughly revised version of the 7-series’ 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V-8. Driving the rear wheels, the Alpina engine produces 500 horsepower and 516 foot-pounds of torque, sufficient to deliver the big sedan to 60 mph in a very M-pressive 4.5 seconds.
Deliveries of the Alpina B7 are set to commence in spring 2011, with the standard-length model commanding $122,875 and the extended version running $126,775—a price premium of $40,000 over the standard 750i and 750Li. (bmwusa.com)