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New models - BMW - Alpina B7

Alpina B7 Bi-Turbo checks in

Alpine heir: Alpina’s B7 Bi-Turbo took an already accomplished BMW 750Li as a start point and pushed luxury and performance to another level.

BMW 7 Series-based Alpina B7 joins B3 and B4 pioneers from $369,720 BOCs

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BMW logo22 Feb 2017

By DANIEL GARDNER

BMW’S range of Alpina ultra-luxury, performance-pumped vehicles has gained another model with the 7 Series-based B7 Bi-Turbo now available Down Under from $369,720 before on-road costs, representing a $55,000 premium over the model it is based on.

The new super sedan follows the initial 3 Series and 4 Series-based B3 and B4 models that launched the brand in Australia in November last year, and the line-up is not done yet with the 5 Series-derived B5 most likely to arrive next.

Like the B3 and B4, the B7 Bi-Turbo starts with a donor model from the ‘regular’ BMW range – in this case the ($314,500) 750Li – and adds a number of bespoke treatments to increase comfort and performance and is finished in the company’s classic aesthetics.

With enhanced levels of opulence and some added punch under the loud pedal, the newest addition to the Australian large luxury sedan market goes head to head with high-end versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi’s A8 and the Jaguar XJ with a competitive package.

On the outside, B7s can be distinguished from the less exclusive 750i with Alpina’s trademark snowplough front bumper, railway line pinstripes along its flanks, monstrous 21-inch forged alloy wheels with 20 spokes and unapologetic quad stainless exhausts housed in a redesigned rear valance.

Conspicuous chrome boot badging and a choice of unique Alpina Blue or Alpina Green metallic paint completes the exterior look.

When entering the B7 cabin owners are greeted by illuminated Alpina tread plates, floor-to-ceiling leather, piano black lacquer or Myrtle dash with subtle Alpina crest and a digital instrument cluster that has been reprogrammed with Alpina-specific graphics.

Selecting the comfort drive mode turns the digital dials blue with red needles, Sport mode prompts the gauges to turn Alpina blue and green, while Eco Pro mode has its own unique design.

The B7’s unique steering wheel is upholstered in Lavalina leather – the same grade of hide used by Rolls-Royce – with the company’s trademark blue and green stitching.

Each B7 has its individual build number displayed on the official Alpina plaque which is displayed on the transmission tunnel.

In addition to the bespoke Alpina comfort features and standard 750Li equipment, the B7 also offers a performance boost over the standard car with a comprehensive tune up.

At its core, Alpina’s engineers have fettled the 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8 to liberate an extra 117kW and another 150Nm for a final output of 447kW and 800Nm.

The significant boost in grunt has knocked half a second from the zero to 100km/h acceleration with the B7 capable of hitting the benchmark in just 4.2 seconds and can carry on to a top speed of 330km/h.

At speeds beyond 230km/h the B7’s air suspension lowers itself by 20mm for improved aerodynamics and stability. A full adjustment range of 40mm is possible according to the Driving Dynamics Control setting.

It also features a five-link rear suspension setup and double-joint front axle, with Dynamic Damper Control and self-levelling suspension as standard. The Executive Drive Pro system uses active anti-roll bars to maintain a constant roll angle in corners while a new Adaptive mode is now available in the Drive Experience Control settings. Dampers are electro-hydraulic.

The increased engine output has been achieved through a reworked induction and engine management system which permits a boost pressure of 1.4 bar (relative).

Special Mahle pistons and NGK spark plugs have been fitted to cope with the extra cylinder pressures and temperature.

Owners can fully appreciate the tuning work when the drive mode is flicked to the more sporty settings, which controls active exhaust valves for a “sonorous” and louder note.

Despite the extra performance, combined fuel consumption is rated at 9.6 litres per 100km compared with the 8.3L/100km figure of the unmodified 7 Series equivalent.

Power makes its way to the rear wheels via a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission which has been customised with Alpina Switch-Tronic for “relaxed, luxurious cruising at low engine rpm even when travelling at speed” as well as “improved driving performance” when in Sport mode.

Braking is handled by four-piston callipers and 395mm discs on the front axle and 370mm rotors and floating callipers at the back end, which are coloured bright blue in all corners.

Customers wanting the ultimate Alpina driving experience can option their B7 with the Drexler Motorsport limited-slip differential for improved traction, torque distribution and ease of control on the limit.

Carry over driver assistance equipment from the off-the-shelf 750Li includes full-colour head-up display, reversing camera, BMW navigation, autonomous braking, active lane-keep, adaptive cruise control and rear-wheel steering for increased stability at speed and smaller turning circle at lower speeds.

With its extended Li wheelbase, rear B7 passengers are offered increased comfort with electrically adjustable seats and massage functions, a rear seat entertainment package which gives each aft occupant a 10-inch screen and access to the various services through a removable tablet housed in the central armrest.

A Sky Lounge panoramic sunroof is also standard fare with electric sun blind, tilt and slide opening and a LED lighting installation that creates the effect of a starry sky at night.

Under its skin, the B7 Bi-Turbo hides BMW’s Carbon Core technology, which uses carbon-fibre in sections of the body as well as aluminium and steel to save up to 130kg of weight and a total unladen mass of 2110kg.

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