Good news if you’re a German stockbrocker or a resident of Aspen with a Valentine One on deck: The Alpina XB7 is back. While many fast three-row SUVs exist, the outgoing Alpina XB7 was the best one because it had breathtaking pace, sublime ride quality, and superb craftsmanship all in a package that’s less likely to go catastrophically wrong than a Range Rover. Let’s see how Alpina promises to make its chalet express even better.
Alpina’s kindly provided a dyno graph for the new XB7, so let’s take a look. The new SUV makes 630 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque, exactly the same torque figure as the old car but 18 more horsepower. The new twin-turbo S68 engine is really an evolution of the old N63 twin-turbo V8, so similar output is to be expected. More importantly, torque peaks 100 rpm earlier at 1,900 rpm and plateaus through 5,400 rpm, while a horsepower plateau kicks in from 5,500 rpm all the way to redline. Talk about an endless tsunami of thrust.
This flat powerband translates to some really terrific numbers out on the asphalt. Zero-to-60 mph is expected to flash by in a scant 3.9 seconds, while the standing quarter mile is expected to pass by in just 12.4 seconds. Top speed is a formidable 180 mph so long as the option box for the 21-inch wheels is ticked. Compared to the standard BMW variant of the S68 V8, the Alpina model gets special intercoolers, special cooling hoses, a different engine cooler, a special transmission cooler, and a unique external oil cooler. It’s a thorough revamp in areas key to reliability, exactly the sort of thoughtful revisions you’d expect from Alpina.
Under the skin, there’s a lot to suggest that Alpina tried to make the XB7 a handler. Four-wheel steering is on tap, as are electromechanical anti-roll bars, stiffer rear axle bushings, and reinforced torsion struts. Balancing out all of this g-force gadgetry is a special set of dampers that promise ride quality smoother than double cream. This is an Alpina, after all. If you like your performance SUVs to ride like the dampers are filled with concrete, get an X5 M Competition or something.
Mind you, although Alpina focuses on making incredibly comfortable fast road cars, its engineers have given the XB7’s suspension a special set of tricks. Drop the XB7 into Sport Mode or break the 100 mph barrier, and the suspension drops by eight tenths of an inch. Shoot past 155 mph or put the XB7 into Sport+ Mode, and ride height drops by a full 1.6 inches to absolutely dump this massive SUV on its nuts. The stance of the old one was tremendous in full attack mode, so let’s hope the revised model continues this tradition.
On the inside, the new Alpina XB7 adopts BMW’s latest iDrive 8 infotainment system, along with all manner of wonderful luxury gizmos. You can get gadgets like an illuminated panoramic roof and five-zone climate control, both of which should complement illuminated glass controls and special trims perfectly. High-quality seat leathers and soft headrest pillows return, perfect for high-speed autobahn naps in the rear seat. Oh, and as with most Alpina models, the steering wheel of the new XB7 is specially-upholstered in incredibly soft Lavalina leather. Lovely.
The new Alpina XB7 starts at $145,995 including a $995 freight charge, which actually makes it a bit of a bargain. Let me explain. The Mercedes-AMG GLS63 is cheaper, but the current crop of GLE and GLS AMG models ride terribly, so they’re non-starters. The new seven-seat Range Rover Autobiography starts at $161,075, a lot more money than the Alpina. If you want to go American, the Cadillac Escalade V starts at $151,490 while being slower than the Alpina. While 682 supercharged horsepower does sound hilarious, the diesel Escalade is absolutely brilliant and likely the Escalade to go for.
Unsurprisingly, I adored the outgoing Alpina XB7. Quieter than a library, softer than cheesecake, and quicker than time itself, it represented everything a performance SUV should be. While the front end on the new XB7 is appalling, everything else seems quite brilliant, from the power tweaks to the interior appointments. Hopefully Alpina was able to retain the silky ride quality that really set the old XB7 apart from the pack.
All photos courtesy of BMW
Unpopular Opinion incoming (or maybe not, who knows these days):
The Squinty McSquintface facelift on the X7 looks better than the OG face.
Thank you for your attention.
I actually like this new front end. It breaks up the visual height in a more interesting way than the design on the original X7
“Spool Bus” – genius
I’m still laughing.
The lovable idiots at Throttle House do a good job of making the Alpina seem fun. As a bonus you get to see James drink a slurp of cheese burger milk shake.
For when you’re really in a hurry to get that latte after yoga.
I can’t afford to pretend to be interested in this car, but what I will say is I absolutely love calling it a spool bus. Made me laugh out loud at the coffee shop I’m pretending to do work in.
2022 me: no, gross go away
2055 me: oh my god I must have the ’22 XB7 on bring a hover-trailer with no reserve
To be fair, a Porsche 917 would let my entire family enjoy 180MPH.
But this? This is just stupid. This is just a car for showing off that you can spend stupid amounts of money on a stupid car. It doesn’t tow. It doesn’t haul. The 3-row setup is as bad as a Jeep Commander’s. It certainly can’t go offroad. Every pothole is a 50/50 shot at a $4000 repair. It is a vehicle that literally only exists for assholes to say “oh yeah? Well I have an Alpina.”
It can tow nearly 6000 lbs. Cargo space is similarly decent. The third row is fine for kids like every other 3 row crossover. And I don’t know why this needs to be the exception to the rule of most crossovers not being off-road capable. I can’t really imagine anyone who can afford this worrying about wheel repair bills.
As long as rich people exist, they’ll buy expensive cars to drive their kids to school. Those cars will have unnecessary horsepower.
A Porsche 917 might even cost less to run and maintain on a per mile basis if you use it as a daily.
If I had the money for that truck AND and extended warranty, I’d hit it. It’s so ludicrous that it would be a hoot.
And do not kid yourself: That warranty will come in VERY handy.
Is anyone who can afford it keeping it beyond the initial warranty period?
Are these actually sold and warrantied through BMW dealers? Because I guess I don’t understand the appeal of sending my brand new $100,000 SUV to a tuner, no matter how well regarded.
AMG is built and sold in house. Maybe Alpina is too but they always struck me as more of a Lingenfelter or Callaway type.
BMW owns Alpina now, and yes, they sell them through BMW dealers. Alpina has always been close enough to BMW that warranty coverage was not an issue. This isn’t Dinan(who is also fine).
Indeed, it’ll be sold through American BMW dealerships and come with a warranty backed by BMW.
I am the type that believes a high speed, SUV, and smooth ride is a deadly combination. That smooth is concealing gravitational forces that are conspiring to put your SUV Wheels up. And as we know that’s just for Jeeps.
And is it my imagination or are those kidneys coming down in size?
The reasonable side of me: this is gross as hell. It’s a wasteful, needlessly huge vehicle that’s pandering to the ridiculous hedonistic needs of a 1% class that’s destroying society with its selfishness and antisocial tendencies.
The 12 year old in me: LOL V8 go brrrrrrr!
….What I’m getting at is I hate that these sorts of vehicles exist but if someone were to hand me the keys to one I’d enjoy the absolute hell out of it. And honestly, we all probably would. Going 180 with a (Clarkson American Voice) V8 MOTOR in posh solitude with 6 of our closest friends would be hilarious and fun.
I don’t think I’d find much joy in this vehicle. as much as I love speed. It would be like driving a stuck pig wrapped in bubble padding. A flying stuck pig, if you get it up to a high enough speed and lose control, but it won’t be flying for long before it crashes.
And I imagine the cost of upkeep is likely no improvement over Land Rover’s offerings.
The only new BMWs that interest me in the slightest are the 118d, i3, and i8. If I were to seriously consider any BMW at all, it would probably be an early 2000s M Coupe, aka “Clown Shoe”.
Love the clown shoe. Id like to get my hands on a B58 sooner or later as my last ICE treat, so to speak. It’ll probably be a certified X3 M40i in 3-4 years. The wife is fine with me driving whatever I want so long as it seats 4 adults and has a hatch. Thus, regrettably, the performance small SUV segment is mighty appealing.
Problem is that 60k or so is just more than we should reasonably spend. I gave some serious thought to custom ordering an M240i earlier this year but it would be hard to make a coupe work for our needs and with kids on the horizon. For right now the Kona N remains a perfect and affordable solution…but once the new X3 M40is are around certified in the mid to high 40s I may head in that direction.
That the technology to do things like this exists is pretty cool. That said, I would never buy this.