Back to refiner details. Open the hood of a table-sized clamshell, look at the engine compartment and youll see that there are some very clever touches. The new intake ducts on the B7 now take a shortcut directly from the bumper to the block, and to achieve this, Alpina has threaded them through – that is, through the struts – clamps. This is the art where you least expect to find it. You will also notice that there is a pipe that connects the intercoolers. It is not specific to Alpine, but it reduces the severity of the air pulses between each bank of cylinders, which in turn reduces the turbo-lag and sharpens the throttle response.
To help slavery with low torque flooding in the rev range, Alpina also reinforces the planetary gears of the ZF eight-speed torque converter (with locking clutch), and the cooling system is improved, especially with additional radiators. The advantage of reinforcing the gearbox is that Alpina does not need to reduce torque during upshifts, so the car is more stable during acceleration when exiting the curve. Since we are in it, in Sport mode, the changes have also accelerated.
The looks? Highly subjective. Aesthetically the car is not as incognito as we have become accustomed since Alpina, and to some extent it is deliberate; to some extent it is enforced. the owners suggested that the previous model was too modest a touch for something so special – and expensive – but then BMW substantially improved the Instagram game of the donor car.
Theres not much Alpina can do about the clumsy jaw of the new 7 series, but even without it, the new car – available only in the form of a long wheel – sends attention as little more on the road. At the rear it has a modest spoiler with an equally subtle diffuser, but theres no doubt its a four-tube spoiler, or an inclined chin spoiler, or deko stripes, or the color of our test car, the Alpina Blue. Park next to that S63 AMG and youll wonder where the Benz has disappeared, which seems ridiculous, but, in the metal, the B7 has a monumental presence.
Of course, the attractiveness and performance at the curb edge are only part of the deal: in reality, this optimized version of the recently renovated BMW 7 Series has more to do with the chassis. The B7 uses the same height-adjustable air springs as the G11 7 series, and the tuning is largely inherited from the previous B7. However, it is now programmed to lower 15mm more than the BMW 750i donor car when set to Sport Plus mode or when driving over 140mph.
Alpina says that the shock absorbers have been recalibrated, not only for the highest level of driving comfort but also for a level of control alien to most cars of this type, and the active stabilizer bars have been readjusted to reduce body roll to the absolute minimum without affecting driving quality. The front axle is said to have unwavering stability – a hallmark of all Alpina cars – and the B7 is capable of making lane changes at curvature speed on the motorway without sweating a bit.
The grounding of this 2175kg car is a set of 20-inch forged wheels made of high-strength aluminium and wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, although 21-inch items are an option, if not entirely suitable for British roads, as Alpina itself admits. Either way, its design highlights the B7out as something unusual even a hundred paces away.