Google the teeny town of Buchloe in Germany’s Bavaria region and you’ll get slim pickings for search results. Population 13,000. The Gasthof Eichel is the only B&B in town. And for fine dining you’re pretty much limited to the Hong Kong Garten (we heard the crispy duck with sauerkraut is divine). Don’t believe us? Head to TripAdvisor and hit the ‘Things To Do In Buchloe’ tab and it actually comes up blank.
But to automobile lovers with a passion for BMW, a trip to Buchloe is the equivalent of a pilgrimage to Mecca. For there on Alpenstrasse just out of town, is the headquarters of Alpina Burkhard Bovensiepen GmbH—Alpina, for short.
For the past 50 years, this small, family-owned business has been cranking out some of the most-coveted performance BMWs ever built. Its latest creation is the exquisite $142,800 BMW Alpina B7 we’ve been piloting. Here is a 600 hp intercontinental ballistic missile of a four-door supercar that’s the fastest production BMW that money can buy. How fast? Flat out it can top 205 mph.
And this is not a one-off offering from some independent custom shop. While the B7 has been developed by Alpina, BMW builds it and then covers it with a full BMW warranty. And the car, at least in the US, here in is sold exclusively through BMW dealers.
What the B7 offers is the most exclusive, most bespoke, most exquisite new BMW out there. Fewer than 400 Alpinas are sold in the US a year, making them rarer than any Bentley.
The car is based closely on BMW’s latest flagship 7 Series. Yes, the one with the super-sized kidney grille. Alpina takes the stretched 750i model and performs its Merlin-like wizardry on pretty much every mechanical component; honing and uprating, enhancing and upgrading.
The stock 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 gets improved output of 600 hp and 590 ft lbs of torque. The eight-speed automatic is optimized for the new engine’s muscular low-end torque. The turbos blow harder, the new exhaust breathes deeper and the all-wheel-drive system directs more power to the rear for more agile handling.
It also gets the discreet yet head-turning Alpina aesthetic. That set of trademark, thin-spoke 20-inch Alpina alloys, the deeper front spoiler, flared side sills, rear lip spoiler and new lower diffuser accommodating a quartet of tailpipes—changes designed to keep the B7 stuck to the asphalt at 205 mph.
Inside, it’s BMW quality and craftsmanship are taken up a notch. The buttery Nappa leather gets special stitching, there’s unique reddish Myrtle veneer on the dash and doors, a gorgeous thick-rim Alpina wheel to grip and lots of subtle Alpina badges and illuminated tread plates.
But the B7 is all about the driving. And here is the justification of investing another $40,150 to step way-up from the 750i. In truth, there’s simply no comparison. The comparison should be with the mighty V-12-engined 760i, at $157,700. But the Alpina B7 is much more the Ultimate Driving Machine than the 760i will ever be.
What you have with the Alpina is a sledgehammer wrapped in velvet. A car so turbine smooth, so serene and refined even when approaching top speed. Yet it’s a car that is so quick and responsive to the throttle that its thrust can, at times, feel downright scary.
Click the stopwatch and the B7 can lunge off the line and hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. And the acceleration is even impressive when you pull out to pass and summon-up all 600 horses. All this with a car that tips the scales at 4,800 pounds and looks like a stretched limo.
The B7’s true character, however, comes to the fore when you face that twisty back road. The poise and balance of the handling, the precision of the steering, the suppleness of the ride. Just wonderful.
Of course, the B7 isn’t for everyone. A flagship V-12 760i xDrive is a formidable alternative. A stock 750i won’t disappoint either. But if you love the pure joy of driving a technical masterpiece and are looking to stand out from the crowd, this bullet from Buchloe is hard to resist.