BMW introduces Alpina B7 xDrive

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E1---BMW-Alpina20160329608hp, twin-turbo V8 equals 0-100kph in 3.6 seconds

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BMW of North America announced this month that the all-new B7 super saloon by BMW tuning specialist Alpina will be available in the United Stares market starting September this year.

Like previous iterations, the B7 is based on the new BMW 7 Series sedan, but substantial modifications to the drivetrain, chassis and suspension make it a completely distinct model under German transport law. Most substantial is the 4.4-liter, twin-cam, 32-valve, direct-injection BMW V8 producing 608 horsepower and 800 Newton-meters of torque. The company said in a statement the super car-like output was accomplished with two specially developed, twin-scroll turbochargers producing 20 psi of boost, a 10.0:1 compression ratio, special Mahle pistons and NGK spark plugs, a stainless-steel sports exhaust system with active exhaust valves and a high-performance air intake, intercooler and cooling system.

The powerplant is mated to a modified ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox with Alpina’s Switch-Tronic sequential-shift mode and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The transmission’s Sport mode features a launch-control function that helps propel the B7 from naught to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.6 seconds and onto a top speed of 310 kph, putting it resolutely in super car territory.

High-performance air suspension, rear-wheel steering
Keeping the B7 xDrive planted on the road at those speeds is an air-suspension set-up augmented with BMW’s Dynamic Damper Control and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview, while the Active Roll Stabilization minimizes body roll during cornering. In addition, the suspension automatically lowers by 20 millimeters at speeds above 225 kph (although this can be done manually in Sport+ mode) and can be raised 20 millimeters at up to 32 kph for added ground clearance.

The B7 xDrive also has Integral Active Steering, which the company said works by combining a variable-ratio electric steering system at the front axle with active steering on the rear axle, such that the rear wheels can turn a maximum of three degrees opposite to the front wheels at low speeds for increased agility, while steering with the front wheels at higher speeds for maximum high-speed directional stability.

Subdued savagery
All these alterations hide under a nondescript body, which is a trademark of all Alpinas. The few giveaways include a subtle, ground-effect body kit that the company said reduces lift on the front and rear axles to almost zero for maximum driving stability at all speeds. Meanwhile, the large kidney front grill features an integrated air-flap control system that adapts to the B7 xDrive’s cooling needs and further reduces the level of aerodynamic drag when closed.

More noticeable are the trademark 20-inch, 20-spoke Alpina Classic alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Optional are 21-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels that company said reduces the car’s overall weight by 2.5 kilograms per wheel. Whichever wheel is chosen, a high-performance braking system comprised of 394 millimeters front and 368 millimeters rear discs with blue four-piston calipers are there to scrub off the immense speeds that this two-ton behemoth can achieve.

Sumptuous interior
Stepping inside, the B7 xDrive stays true to its limousine roots with a high-end Nappa leather interior with Timeless Piano lacquer or classic Myrtle Luxury Wood trim. Standard equipment includes comfort seats, a leather-covered instrument panel, ceramic inserts on selected control elements and soft-closing doors. Adding that Alpina touch, the company said, is the sports steering wheel wrapped in Lavalina leather with blue and green stitching. In addition, Alpina B7 model inscriptions, an individual production plaque and illuminated door sills are other exclusive interior features.

The B7 also comes standard with a full-color head-up display, a rear view camera and the latest version BMW’s infotainment system. Meanwhile, the full-color, LED digital instrument panel changes depending on driving mode: comfort offers a classic look featuring round instruments with blue background and red needles, while Sport changes to a more dynamic design with blue and green drag indicators and a focus on primary information, such as the centrally positioned permanent digital speed read-out.

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