Home » We Asked A NASCAR Driver To Slide The Alpina XB7 In The Snow For Science And LOLs

We Asked A NASCAR Driver To Slide The Alpina XB7 In The Snow For Science And LOLs

Alpina Xb7 Parker Kligerman Ts2
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Whenever I attend a fancy black-tie wedding, I always think of the scene from Downton Abbey when the Dowager Countess, evaluating the lavishness of their dinner setting, says “Nothing succeeds like excess,” an abbreviated quote from Oscar Wilde.

This has always struck me as a fitting description for Alpina vehicles. They are BMWs with everything turned to 11. This is clearly evident in the latest example, the 2024 Alpina XB7. It’s a $150,000, 631 horsepower, 6,000 lb, 7-seat SUV that will go 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. Basically, like an elephant in a black tie that runs as fast as a cheetah.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Funny enough, in researching the XB7, I discovered that Alpina says the inspiration for their brand came from another Oscar Wilde quote: “I’m a man of simple tastes. I’m always satisfied with the best.” Which makes sense if your definition of the best is simply having the most.

Alpina Side Beauty

If there’s no such thing to you as too much dessert, booze, or good times, you should probably be on the Alpina team. Their creations have always been beautifully unhinged.

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These lights turn red when you select “go fast” mode.

So, when Matt Hardigree called me up and said, “I’ve got an XB7, I hear there is snow in Lime Rock Park (LRP), can we go drift around with it up there?” I leaped into action – which is to say, I sent an email. As a minority owner in LRP (I own the equivalent of a blade of grass), I have a bit of pull and LRP was gracious enough to let us use the FCP Euro Autocross course to answer some important questions about this latest Alpina. We also used the proceedings to make a crude video on my YouTube channel, which you can view right here:

I didn’t drive the Alpina on the street, but I quickly gathered some findings on the autocross course. Let’s start with the Alpina’s speed: it’s what the hell-is-this-thing fast. The sheer rate at which it moves its hefty mass is absolutely wild. Even in slushy conditions, all four tires grab into the earth beneath more like claws than tires.

Alpina Rear Q Speed

To cope with this immense speed, the Alpina engineers tuned the suspension for greater agility. They tuned it well, as I often forgot the XB7’s curb weight puts it more in line with an oil tanker than a sports car.

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The Alpina badge on the steering wheel is a fun touch.

Although the heft is apparent when you pitch the big SUV into a slide (which I did, many many times), The Alpina’s setup is incredibly impressive in terms of tackling a racetrack aiming for a fast lap time. Looking at the specs, I was expecting huge power but with a sluggish, floppy, driving-aids-taking-over feel. But I was so wrong …

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I dig the BMW Fortress of Solitude-style gear selector.

On the outside, Alpina has applied its signature wheel design and other little tweaks here and there, including new badging, Alpina-style air intakes in front, a modified light design, and four oval tailpipes. The interior is where the biggest change is from a normal X7, with Switch-Tronic shifting buttons on the steering wheel replacing the standard model’s paddle shifters.

Alpina Rear Q

I must note this is Alpina’s thing, because they’re more for bombing down the Autobahn and for less tight and twisty autocross tracks. However, shifting via two small, easy-to-miss buttons is well … not good. I know this is the case because no car has ever lined up on the F1 grid with tiny shifting buttons that require incredible precision to hit correctly. No, they have paddles that are so easy a seal could shift them with its flippers.

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Pretty good seats.

Nonetheless, it does add to the Alpina feel of “This is how we do it.” As a fiercely independent individual, I can appreciate this.

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So here comes the most crucial question: Why do these cars even exist and, more importantly, who buys them? Who has ever looked at a top-of-the-line BMW 7 series and thought, “You know, I wish there was just more.”

Alpina Wheel
The wheels are the part of the car that most look like they were made by a former typewriter company.

More power, more wheels, more, more, more. Turns out there has been a whole market of these people. And I even know one. After I posted a picture of this car, I got a text from a friend. His family was in hedge funds, as was his wife’s family, and they both work in finance. He said, “What did you think of the XB7? I’m thinking of getting one.”

I thought he was joking. He wasn’t.

As you will see in the video, I truly enjoyed my short time in the Alpina XB7 and was impressed by its ability to do something no one will ever ask of it. Most of all, it’s excessive beyond belief. I don’t entirely get it, but that’s why it succeeds, and why I loved it.

Matt’s Take

Alpina ActionWhen someone says they have access to a race track in winter, the best move is to find a car on winter tires as fast as possible. In this case, I had an XB7 coming and, in the midst of a snow drought, it mercifully snowed a little up at LRP.

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It made for the fun we had above, which included racing Paker’s girlfriend’s Alfa Romeo Stelvio for some reason? I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m always down with racing just about everything.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

While Parker and I both drove this around the autocross course (Parker much more deftly than I could), I got to drive it on the street.

I already think the regular BMW X7 is the best luxury three-row SUV you can buy in just about any trim. Obviously, the Alpina is the top of the mountain, but an X7 M60i is totally fine for full mortals, as is the xDrive40i.

You can’t go wrong with any of them, but if $150k isn’t a lot of money for you you can’t do better than the Alpina. I’m not sure there’s a more expensive SUV I’d rather have, including the Benteyga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

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It’s as fast as any big SUV should ever be, covering the gallop to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds. It’s as solidly built as a bank truck, as confidence-inspiring as a sawed-off shotgun, and Midcentury Modern boutique hotel nice on the inside. It’s also a lot stealthier than a Roller, albeit that works better if you grab it in Alpine White or Black Sapphire Metallic.

Alpine Xb7 Interior

My week with it was spent shuffling groceries and kiddos, including a trip to the aquarium with my daughter’s friend in tow. Everyone was comfortable and no one complained.

Perhaps it’s out of discontent with my current ride, or out of a newfound respect for BMW now that I’m a BMW owner, but there’s basically nothing it doesn’t do well. It even has the little fold-down half gate you get in the Rolls-Royce, albeit without the cool seats.

I know $150,000 is a lot of money, but I can’t think of anything else new off the top of my head that does as much, as expertly or stylishly, and seats seven. That’s value, even if it’s only for a tiny percentage of the population.

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Goblin
Goblin
1 month ago

So they to are using the hideous Lansay video game-like cheezy gauge cluster ?
Does it have an option for round gauges at least, or are we stuck with retina-burning ugliness that can’t be unseen ?

Is Travis
Is Travis
1 month ago

I’m going to drive an Alpina one day, it is a bucket list car. I might have to buy one to do it.

Is Travis
Is Travis
1 month ago

They’re the best kind of special.

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

When I was a child I went to Ringling Brothers Circus and saw an elephant balancing on a ball. It was remarkable, even then, but I didn’t want to take the elephant home with me.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chronometric
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Okay first thanks author of video of getting rid of the cowlick, I kept expecting an Alfalfa sprout to show up. Second the console is beautiful but worthless. I defy you to fit two Big Gulps in those tiny little cup holders. Third why do you use experienced drivers to test tractionof a vehicle? Put a half drunk redneck in it and tell him to go all out. I love how this is being tested on a well plowed race track. I have no access to roads this well maintained during winter on major highways.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I mean this in the nicest way possible, please start using Grammerly, Language Tool, something similar. 😉

Your posts give me a headache sometimes, in a hilarious way.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Sorry dad was an English major. I now believe punctuation is irrelevant. I mean if the sentence is a question shouldn’t the question mark be at the beginning of the sentence? I intend to totally change the grammatical structure of the English language. I mean the British have it messed up let’s make it make sense.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I’m getting very strong French vibes…

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Yeah your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberry. Lol

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Don’t listen to getstoney. In fact, I suggest using less punctuation. Let it flow. It’s like art.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Amen brother!

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 month ago

When compared to buying that $1M custom Icon Suburban, this is a freaking steal! But for the me and the rest of us pleebs who frequent this place, I might have to wait a few years, or decades, to look in to owning one of these.

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