2021 BMW ALPINA B7
2021 BMW Alpina B7 Review
- Smooth yet ridiculously quick acceleration
- Prestige and exclusivity from low volume and overall distinctiveness
- Opulent and spacious back seats
- Unintuitive gesture controls
- Rear seats don't fold down
- No significant changes for 2021
- Based on the sixth 7 Series generation introduced for 2016
Is a regular 7 Series not quite exciting or exclusive enough for you? Well, consider checking out the 2021 BMW Alpina B7. Developed by independent manufacturer Alpina, the B7 is a high-performance 7 Series available at your local BMW dealer. It slots between the 750i and the M760i in terms of price, using the engine from the former and boosting it to power levels similar to the latter. Though it's fair to say BMW's classic "Ultimate Driving Machine" ad tagline doesn't fit every vehicle the brand makes anymore, the description is quite apt for the Alpina B7.
The B7's upgrades aren't limited to just engine enhancements. The B7 also features a sport exhaust system, an increased top speed thanks to the use of specialized non-run-flat tires, and Alpina-specific tuning for the transmission, suspension and all-wheel-drive system. It also features two unique paint schemes not offered on any other BMW. Upgrades to the interior are minor but include a steering wheel wrapped in Alpina's signature Lavalina leather.
Perhaps even more important than the overall performance of the Alpina B7 is its exclusivity. Other than price, there are no barriers to entry in this class — if you want a Mercedes-Benz AMG S-Class or Audi S8, you simply go to the dealer and buy one. Alpina produces fewer than 2,000 cars annually, and most are variants of less expensive BMW models destined for other countries. The U.S. allocation is fairly small, making the B7 a rare sight indeed. We think the Alpina B7's asking price is worth the level of performance, comfort and exclusivity afforded by this illustrious sedan.
The BMW Alpina B7 is a peculiar car that nevertheless exceeds whatever your expectations might be. It's an effortless cruiser that's immensely powerful and surprisingly agile. Convoluted and gimmicky technology features mar an otherwise excellent and unique high-speed extreme luxury car.
How does the ALPINA B7 drive?
You'd expect a lot from 600 horsepower, but this sedan still manages to overdeliver. The 0-60 mph sprint takes just 3.6 seconds, which is frankly phenomenal for a car this size. When you aren't mashing the throttle, the B7 impresses with restrained throttle calibration and nearly imperceptible shifts.
But the B7 isn't just a speed demon. The powerful brakes bring this super-sled to a stop from 60 mph in a sports car-like 105 feet. Handling is sublime for a car with this much mass, thanks in part to the trick adaptive dampers. The steering is well tuned and nicely balanced overall, but turning the dial to Sport+ adds a silly amount of steering resistance.
How comfortable is the ALPINA B7?
The B7 delivers comfort in spades, starting with seats that set a benchmark for the class. They feature extensive seat adjustments with multiple massage settings and pillow-like headrests. The overall perception of luxury continues with the remarkably smooth — but not overly soft — suspension calibration. Even in the sportiest setting, the ride is acceptably firm and not harsh in the slightest. There's minimal wind, road and tire noise, and the engine only produces its sonorous growl when you stomp on the gas pedal.
The only quibble we have is with the climate system. It's undoubtedly powerful and comprehensive — the B7 even features heated armrests — but the level of customization can be daunting.
How’s the interior?
The fundamentals of the B7's interior — as well as those of the underlying BMW 7 Series — are stellar. As is typical of this class, the B7's sheer size affords tons of interior space front and back. Only an occupant in the middle seat will feel the pinch in headroom due to the elevated seat position.
The B7 is easy to get in and out of, especially since the air suspension can raise the height to allow a more graceful entry or exit. It's fairly easy to see out of, and a bevy of cameras and sensors cover the blind spots that exist. And while you can get familiar with the bulk of the interior controls, the reliance on touch-sensitive switches and abundance of adjustments can be a source of frequent frustration.
How’s the tech?
BMW's taken the kitchen-sink approach when it comes to tech, adding everything plus more. The driving aids are well executed and take the frustration out of the stop-and-go grind. An excellent camera system shows every angle you'd want for parking. The voice control system understands and responds to commands with surprising ease and quickness, making it a breeze to navigate through the sometimes confusing menu structure. The B7 doesn't support Android Auto yet — the functionality is coming in the near future — but iPhone users can enjoy wireless Apple CarPlay right now.
The overall package has a solid foundation but is hampered by gimmicks. The gesture controls give false positives, and the oversized, overly complicated key fob adds little benefit and many inconveniences, such as requiring charging.
How’s the storage?
A large vehicle offers advantages when it comes to space to put stuff, and the B7 makes full use of its size. The 18.2-cubic-foot trunk is massive, surpassing the capacity of most other large luxury sedans. As with others in this class, the rear seats don't fold, but a center pass-through will allow you to carry long items. The interior has plenty of storage for small items, including large door pockets and small bins and cubbies for rear passengers.
The leather is so nice that you might not want to install a car seat, but if you must, accessing the anchors might present a challenge. They are hidden behind zippers that are pretty but difficult to open and place a buckle through.
How economical is the ALPINA B7?
The EPA rates the B7 at 20 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway), which is average for a high-output luxury sedan. In our testing we found these numbers to be fairly realistic, though your ability to match them largely depends on how frequently you dip into the B7's prodigious power.
Is the ALPINA B7 a good value?
Value is relative within the context of powerful German super luxury sedans, but we'll give it our best shot. At first glance, the B7's interior is exceptionally crafted and detailed, but our tester had a few warts that detracted from the highfalutin appearance.
The headrests sound hollow and cheap when you tap them, and the underside of the steering wheel squeaks if you press it with your thumbs. During our test, the left rear door occasionally refused to open from the inside even with the child lock disabled. Despite these minor flaws, the B7's performance, uniqueness and sheer luxury make the approximate $140,000 MSRP seem reasonable.
Ridiculous acceleration and admirable handling make the B7 fun, sure, but it's the smoothness and sheer luxury that make it so addicting. That plus the cool factor of the Alpina badge and the exclusivity from the vehicle's limited availability mean driving the B7 always feels special.
Which ALPINA B7 does Edmunds recommend?
BMW ALPINA B7 models
The 2021 BMW Alpina B7 is a high-performance variant of the BMW 7 Series large luxury sedan. Under its hood is a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 producing a massive 600 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The B7 comes in a single well-equipped trim, with a small number of features packages and stand-alone options.
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Our experts’ favorite ALPINA B7 safety features:
- Active Protection
- Reacts to imminent accidents by pre-tensioning seat belts, closing windows and activating post-accident braking.
- Parking Assistant Plus
- Steers the vehicle into a parallel parking spot without relying on driver input.
- Surround View w/ 3D View
- Provides a bird's-eye view of the B7 to make parking this big sedan easier.
BMW Alpina B7 vs. the competition
2021 BMW Alpina B7
2020 BMW 7 Series
BMW Alpina B7 vs. BMW 7 Series
To create the B7, Alpina starts with a BMW 7 Series, beefs up the V8 engine, and adds unique interior styling bits. So if you don't need the Alpina's extra performance, you can buy one of several BMW models and save yourself some serious coin. That said, if you're considering the range-topping M760i, know that the Alpina B7 offers similar power for less money.
BMW Alpina B7 vs. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
One of the world's preeminent luxury sedans is in store for a massive overhaul for 2021. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is fully redesigned, complete with new features that will likely set the bar for high-end tech accoutrements. It receives the biggest upgrade inside, complete with a low-mounted touchscreen and extensive use of ambient lighting. Look for models with AMG badging to compete directly against the Alpina.
BMW Alpina B7 vs. Maserati Quattroporte
Powered by a Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo V8, the Maserati Quattroporte is one of the most illustrious sport sedans on the market. While the GTS model has more than enough power to scoot along, the Trofeo is the one to get if you're looking for maximum performance. However, the Quattroporte Trofeo packs less power and torque than the Alpina, and its estimated 0-60 mph time is a full second slower.
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Is the BMW ALPINA B7 a good car?
What's new in the 2021 BMW ALPINA B7?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 BMW ALPINA B7:
- No significant changes for 2021
- Based on the sixth 7 Series generation introduced for 2016
Is the BMW ALPINA B7 reliable?
Is the 2021 BMW ALPINA B7 a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2021 BMW ALPINA B7?
The least-expensive 2021 BMW ALPINA B7 is the 2021 BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $143,200.
Other versions include:
- xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $143,200