2021 BMW ALPINA XB7
- Starting at $142,295
- September 2020
What to expect
- Alpina-modified version of BMW's X7 SUV
- Ultra-plush interior with high-end materials and construction
- Significant horsepower increase over the standard X7
- Retuned suspension and powertrain components for better on-road performance
- Based on the first X7 generation introduced for 2019
What is the Alpina XB7?
Alpina, the tuning company that's highly integrated with BMW, has come out with its first SUV for the States: 2021 BMW Alpina XB7. The XB7 is based on BMW's three-row SUV, the X7. As with other Alpina models, it features improved interior materials, subtle exterior styling changes and an upgraded powertrain.
For decades, Alpina has been taking BMW's vehicles to the next level of luxury and performance. The XB7 will join Alpina's other model, the 7 Series-based B7. It'll cost significantly more than a regular X7 — more than $40,000 on top of the starting price of an X7 M50i — but it also comes with features that would otherwise be optional on the regular X7. Of course, there's the exclusivity that comes from owning an Alpina-modified BMW too.
What's under the Alpina XB7's hood?
Much like the X7 that it's based on, the XB7 gets a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. It's paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. While the X7's M50i trim makes 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque with this setup, the XB7 cranks up the knob to generate 612 hp and 590 lb-ft.
Alpina says that increase in horsepower translates to a half-second shaved off the X7's 0-60 mph time, from 4.5 seconds down to 4.0 seconds flat. There's a higher top speed too: 180 mph when the XB7 is fitted with its standard high-performance wheels and tires. Not bad when you consider that it's a three-row SUV that weighs nearly three tons.
As with the X7, the XB7 uses a sophisticated air suspension setup to keep you grounded. Tuned by Alpina, the suspension can raise or lower the vehicle's ride height by up to 1.6 inches, depending on preferences or driving conditions. Below 19 mph, for example, you can raise the suspension up for a bit of extra clearance. Or if you're on the autobahn, the XB7's suspension will lower the car by 0.8 inch at speeds more than 100 mph or the full 1.6 inches at 155 mph and beyond.
Brembo brakes, standard rear-wheel steering (which helps make the X7 feel more nimble when turning) and optional 23-inch wheels are part of the XB7's repertoire.
How's the Alpina XB7's interior?
The standard X7 has a well-built interior with high-quality materials all around you. The seats, armrests, dashboard, steering wheel and even the headliner have the kind of luxurious quality you expect from BMW. From that jumping-off point, Alpina makes things even more impressive. From the natural wood interior panels to the crystal glass iDrive controller, there's no doubt where the extra upfront cost has gone. The XB7 adds extra cabin illumination, specialized leather for the steering wheel, and laser-etched Alpina logos.
For space, the X7 — and, by extension, the XB7 — has plenty of legroom for the first two rows. A comfortable driving position should be easy to find for most drivers thanks to the range of seat and steering-column adjustability. The third row is a bit cramped, though, and you'll probably only want to stick the kids back there. Adults will have more space in rival SUVs such as the Lincoln Navigator or the Mercedes GLS.
How's the Alpina XB7's tech?
A crisp-looking 12.3-inch touchscreen display is the highlight of BMW's infotainment interface. BMW offers a system of gesture-controlled commands so you can simply wave your hands to change the audio track, turn up the volume or otherwise control the system. It works, but it's a bit gimmicky for our tastes. And unfortunately, the layout of the buttons in the cabin, along with the corresponding on-screen menus, is difficult to learn.
BMW's advanced cruise control system, however, is one of the best on the market, and it's included as standard equipment on the XB7. Part of the Professional Driving Assistant package, the adaptive cruise control system expertly controls your speed in busy traffic, using a driver-focused camera to verify that you're paying attention to the road.
If you're looking for an opulent and distinctive three-row luxury SUV, the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 is not likely to disappoint. It adds nearly 100 hp to an already blisteringly fast three-row SUV along with several style and material updates that will definitely help it stand out in the Whole Foods parking lot.