If you’re one to enjoy the larger and more luxurious things in life yet still want to go fast, the BMW Alpina B7 is for you. As we reported when the refreshed B7 was released, the Alpina is enhanced for the 2013 model year; some more horsepower and a new eight speed transmission. So what does it feel like to drive this 4600lb machine quickly?
The short answer is that it feels like a lot of fun. At risk of sounding cliche, the Alpina shrinks around you, almost wrapping you in wealth, exuberance, and speed. Upon start-up, you pull the ceramic gearknob into the drive position, then slot it over into manual, and start using the extremely small paddle shifters. Put the chassis, suspension, and traction control in the Sport+ mode, and you can propel yourself to a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds. The car lunges forward immediately with little to no wheel slip, and allows for cornering speeds that are almost beyond reproach in sportscars.
With the quick-shifting eight speed transmission in DS, or Drive Sport mode, you can forgo the paddle shifters and the gearing will allow for optimum shifting and driving performance without you being bothered of doing anything other than steering and mashing your foot to the floor. The selectable sport automatic transmission, or option code 2TB allows for the maximum customization of the transmission, suspension, steering and chassis feel. In Sport and Sport+ modes, the car shifts quicker and allows the driver maximum throttle input and steering feedback. Comfort and Comfort+ dull everything down and allow the B7 to turn into a luxury liner getting you from A to B. For my driving style, Sport was the optimum feel, because the dynamic traction control kept me in line and civil on the public roads around Greenwich CT.
Sure the Alpina is fast, but it is also comfortable. Being a luxury limo is what the BMW 7 Series is all about, and the Alpina does that same task beautifully. Twenty way power adjustable front seats, burl wood, hand stitched steering wheel and a plaque on the ceiling allow for the ultimate in luxury. Full amenities available in the back seats are just an option select away, and lets face it, most B7’s will have their lives spent in ways that aren’t ones of racetrack hopping, so comfort is a priority. Rest assured, the sport automatic transmission allows for a comfort setting which makes the suspension supple and allows for that high quality ride.
All-in-all the Alpina B7 is a specific car for a specific buyer. BMW even claims that on their website, stating that it is a journey to a better dream. I’m not so sure about that, but I am sure that my short drive wasn’t nearly long enough.