NEW YORK—There are a number of new supersedans on display at BMW’s stand at the New York International Auto Show this year. For the performance-oriented driver, there are two to choose from, both with mighty 600hp (447kW) engines. One has been tweaked by BMW’s M Division; the other is from Alpina, a factory-linked tuning house that has been making fast-but-subtle versions of BMWs for 50 years now. And if your tastes are more “save the planet” than “how fast can I lap the Nürburgring,” then good news—there’s also a hybrid available.
First up is the M760i. BMW’s M Division has been applying motorsports know-how to the company’s smaller cars for quite a while now, going back to the M1 supercar of the 1970s. This is the first time the company has applied those skills to the flagship 7 Series, though. Under the hood is a twin-turbo 6.6L V12, which produces 610hp (448kW) and 590lb-ft (800Nm). Coupled with the M760i’s all-wheel drive, the dash to 62mph (100km/h) takes just 3.7 seconds (the car is electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph [250km/h]).
In part, that’s possible because the current 7 Series benefits from extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber in the chassis, BMW having developed quite a bit of experience with lightweighting thanks to its i3 and i8 hybrids.
But it’s not the only fast 7 Series; there’s also the Alpina B7. Alpina is a small family-run business that has been tuning up BMW’s cars for discerning customers for many decades now. The B7 starts life on the regular BMW production line before being sent to Alpina’s workshop in Buchloe, Germany, where it’s rather heavily reworked. The B7 is powered by a 600hp (447kW), 590lb-ft (800Nm) twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8, also capable of 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. Unlike the M760i, the B7’s top speed is not restricted, topping out at 192mph (310km/h).
The B7 also gets a host of Alpina styling tweaks, both exterior (including the trademark turbine wheels which route the tire valves into the center of the wheel hub for a more elegant look) and interior (think lashings of hand-stitched leather and suede, as well as custom Alpina dials on the car’s TFT dash).
Then there’s the 740e plug-in hybrid. This car was first announced at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, but this is the first time we’ve seen the eco-friendly 7 Series here in the US. Out go the massive gas-guzzling engines, replaced by a 258hp (190kW) turbocharged 2L four-cylinder and a 113hp (83kW) electric motor, fed by a 9.2kWh lithium-ion battery (similar to the X5 hybrid we drove last month). When fully charged, the 740e’s battery is good for 25 miles (40km) if you have the rear-wheel drive car; opt for all-wheel drive and that drops by a couple of miles.
BMW has also added some new connectivity options to the 7 Series range, including more Android applications, as you’ll see in the video above. iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Pandora are all supported now, and there is wireless integration, so you don’t need to fumble with your phone when you get into the car. However, BMW is staying away from integrating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay into its iDrive infotainment system for the time being.
The 7 Series evidently impressed the assembled media at the auto show, as it won the World Luxury Car of the Year award on Thursday.
Listing image by Jonathan Gitlin