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BMW models, news & reviews
By Ben Whitworth
09 June 2009 11:00
It sells fewer cars in one year (1304 in 2008) than BMW sells in a week, but despite its diminutive output, Alpina has an exceptionally high degree of recognition. Built on a reputation for peerless engineering, exceptional build quality and some pretty dodgy decals, the Bavarian firm has a knack for taking good cars and making them so much better, and in doing so creating a legion of fiercely loyal fans. Its latest offering is the B7 – a vast high-speed limousine based on the new 7-series. It’s big, bold and exclusive. The last word in automotive willy-waving for CEOs in a hurry.
It’s much more than that, I can assure you. It would be relatively easy for a common-or-garden tuner to slap on a bit of a body kit, bigger wheels, get the magic screwdriver and turn up the turbo boost and call it a four-door supercar. But Alpina is all about serious engineering – every aspect of its cars has an engineering basis. They don’t do frippery and whimsy in Buchloe.
Take the B7’s stunning 21-spoke finned wheels – their air valves are secreted in the central hub rather than on the rim to ensure supreme high-speed stability. Then there's the 4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 powerplant – the all-alloy unit is fitted with bespoke blowers and air-water-water-air intercoolers, high-performance cylinders and a trio of electronic control units. Result? A hefty 507bhp at 5500rpm and 517lb ft of torque at 3000rpm.
It’s more than that – it’s blindingly quick. The blown V8 delivers shattering acceleration – the B7 is as quick as an Aston Martin Vantage to 60mph – and headbutts its 174mph electronic limiter with a callous disregard for physics. Acceleration in any gear and any speed is so instant and so effortless speed that it immediately calls for a recalibration of your speed-distance-time triangle. Crisp throttle response, a six-speed Switchtronic transmission that flicks smoothly and quickly through the cogs and a lovely creamy soundtrack make ripping through the gears irresistibly addictive. Especially when it satisfyingly reduces tail-sniffing Porsche 911s into lumbering specs in your rear-view mirror.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our BMW Alpina B7 first drive
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BMW Alpina B7 (2009) CAR review
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RE: BMW Alpina B7 (2009) CAR review
Yes quite right. The last of the E38's were vfery handsome. I'd still love one and they are so cheap now. Then they seemed to lose the plot once they got bangled. The new one reminds me of a Lexus, and I HATE Lexus. It doesn't like stately or handsome or hot. It looks Japanese. That's not a bad thing if it's a Japanese car, but if you're a premium Euro maker, surely they put this in front of a focus group. Maybe they were drunk? Either way, it's not going to win any new fans. Perhaps they just don't care. The only real rivals are BMW and Mercedes. When the new Jag XJ is released, it will give BMW a shock in the full sized deptartment. I never got used to the current 7 and the only thing that made it even slightly bearable were several large Scotches.
15 June 2009 10:50
Great car, but what a shame the new Seven is so ugly. The old one looked shocking at launch and improved over time (I'll gloss over the facelift which - while inept - was minor enough not to matter too much). The new one is the exact opposite - I loathe it more with each view. It's bad enough to make me question the integrity of the "Bangle revolution", as I believe it is called.
15 June 2009 10:02
Quite right TMS. Taxes are collected then funds allocated for works etc. It would be nice if x bilion was collect from motorists then spent on motorists, but that's not how it works. To think it is is rather simplistic. The money collected from sick people isn't enough to service the public health system as with many other government services. Methinks someone has an advanced case of paranoia, as usual. As for the car, its nice, but I still can't figure out why anyone would bother blowing a limo. No matter what you do to it, its always going to be a big cumbersome hulk of a thing. Now a 3 series...... hmmmmmmmmm yummy. And for the record, personal transport does indeed cause congestion. It has everywhere else in the world, why would the UK be any different. Which is why the congestion tax is a great idea. Make the mugs who insist on clogging the inner city pay for the privilege. At the end of the day, if you don't like the price of motoring, don't motor. There is a happy medium though, which is don't use a car in the city. Besides if you live in the city there is no where to park...
12 June 2009 15:05
TMS - the relevant issue here regards public transport is why do motorists have to subsidise train users and bus users. They should pay their own bloody way in life and stop bumming off motorists. This leads on to the second issue your raise of personal transport "tends to cause congestion". Motorists pay £8bn per annum in taxes and fraudulent fuel duties. Approx £1bn is invested in roads, £1bn in buses and £1bn in trains (the other £5bn disappears in the tax fiddling cheating Chancellors pocket). If the £2bn poured into trains and buses were spent modernising the road network we'd have an amazing road system bang up to date, fit for purpose and capable of meeting the capacity needs of road users (roads are no different to the memory or cache of a computer, pipes of the water or wires of the telecoms infrastructure. We are congested because of lack of modernising and growth in capaciity to meet demand. Motorists money is being diverted from the most popular, efficient and sustainable method (cars) and poured into bankrupt, inefficient corrupt past-their-sell-by-date systems (trains and buses). Public transport is yet another bankrupt socialist Govt system/idea propped up by theiving and diverting money private citizens pockets. Motorists DO NOT owe students and OAP's a living or should have to shell out, prop up or subsidise their transport. Get your own and stop riding off car users backs
11 June 2009 20:21
Apologies, just realised my syntax was misleading. What I meant to say is that personal transport tends to cause excessive congestion in large towns and cities.
11 June 2009 14:20
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