2017 BMW Alpina B7 Review: Big Sedans Aren’t Supposed to Perform Like This – The Drive
In contrast, the streets of Brooklyn and the twisties of upstate New York could barely contain the B7, though I broke the shackles whenever possible. Stealth and subtlety are Alpina hallmarks, and many European buyers prefer to remove the Alpina’s badges and metallic brightwork to fly even further below the radar. But to me there’s no need to disguise this big Bavarian. For all its power and luxury, this isn’t some overwrought Schwarzenegger, flexing its oiled biceps and leering at the maid. Instead, the Alpina exudes class, breeding and grown-up manners. And it drives like a midsize sport sedan—a more comfortable M5 if you will—trapped in the 204-inch, 4,800-pound body of a 7 Series.
Alpina adds a touch of welcome heft to the 7 Series’s steering, negotiated through a hand-finished, blue-and-green stitched steering wheel covered with Lavalina leather. The xDrive AWD system is modified for better agility, including a stronger rear bias in the DTC mode of dynamic stability control. The B7’s body hunkers down by 0.8 inches when speeds climb beyond 140 mph, and drivers can manually select that performance yoga pose—the Downward Deutsche?—via the Sport Plus setting.
Even on its lovely, 21-inch Alpina Classic wheels (20s are standard), the Alpina butters the road virtually as well as a Mercedes S-Class, especially in its Comfort setting. Things get a mite choppy in Sport Plus mode on battered pavement, but there’s rarely a need to tense the BMW’s muscles in such coarse fashion. And even versus Mercedes’s own full-size hot rod, the 577-horsepower Mercedes-AMG S63, the Alpina is faster throughout its surreal powerband, and gobbles corners with more gusto. Throttle response is thrillingly immediate: At 2,000 rpm, there’s already 494 pound-feet of torque, with the peak of 590 arriving at 3,000 rpm and holding steady to 5,000 rpm. (The M760i’s V-12 hits peak torque even sooner, at 1,500 rpm).