2007 Alpina B7 – Wheels.ca

3 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Alpina B7 – Wheels.ca
Alpina B

2007 Alpina B7

If you remember the movie The Transporter, you may remember the opening car chase, which featured a souped-up BMW 7 Series on a run through the south of France.

MONTREAL–If you remember the movie The Transporter . you may remember the opening car chase, which featured a souped-up BMW 7 Series on a run through the south of France.

The transporter character was kind of a mysterious guy, always moving dangerous cargo around for shady men who paid him large quantities of money.

I forget most of the details; it wasn#039;t that good a movie. What stuck in my mind, though, was that car and the way it roared and danced around the streets. I thought about it a lot on my own transporting mission, driving a souped-up and blinged-out 7 last weekend.

Except that the cargo in this case wasn#039;t in the car#039;s cavernous trunk. The cargo was the car: an Alpina B7 – $152,000 and 1,960 kg of BMW, supercharged and buffed by Alpina, a German tuning shop that specializes in high-performance versions of BMWs. This B7 was one of only 50 that will enter Canada in the next year.

My destination was BMW#039;s display at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal; the deadline was, given my early-morning start, an easy-to-achieve 5 o#039;clock in the afternoon, especially given its huge 500-hp output.

Or at least I thought. Every time I stopped for gas (often), the B7 was swarmed with enthusiasts, also headed in the direction of the Grand Prix. They revelled in the numerous details that elevate the Alpina beyond being a mere fast, expensive sedan into the realm of limited-production fantasy.

Take, for instance, the signature Alpina wheels, which are 21 inches in diameter front and rear. With an aggressively staggered setup, they fill out the arches in a way even BMW#039;s biggest optional setup can#039;t.

But it#039;s only upon closer inspection that you notice the absence of a valve stem along the edge of the rim: it#039;s actually hidden in the centre of the wheel beneath a swing-away Alpina logo, for better balance and to improve high-speed aerodynamics.

With a top speed of more than 300 km/h if you remove the speed limiter, aerodynamics are actually a big deal in this car. The tea-tray rear spoiler is functional, as is the deep front air dam, the sill extensions and the thicker rear bumper.

Other cosmetic upgrades include blacked-out trim, huge chrome tailpipes (the exhausts on a regular 7 are hidden under the bumper), Alpina badging on the front bumper and the availability of an exclusive medium blue paint scheme. Sadly, the gold striping, which used to be the tuner#039;s signature in the past, is no more – and doesn#039;t seem to be on the options list.

Inside, changes are more subtle. You can order wood colours not available on standard 7 Series sedans and the Alpina#039;s instrument cluster is blue like the paint. The only other noticeable difference is a sporty three-spoke steering wheel lifted out of a 5 Series.

Alpina B

The wheel houses Alpina#039;s Switchtronic control system for the car#039;s six-speed automatic. Touch the switch on the right spoke (it#039;s actually embedded into the leather) for instant upshifts and the left for downshifts. Use the diamond button to cycle through manual, automatic and sport modes.

Regardless of which mode you use, thrust from the supercharged 4.4-litre V8 is immediate and thrilling. While there#039;s very little noise – all you hear is distant thunder – hard acceleration feels like you#039;re being launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier, the 516 lb.-ft. of torque being delivered to the rear wheels in one seamless rush.

The character of the power delivery is very different from BMW#039;s M products, which favour high revs and lots of mechanical gnashing; the smoothness of the engine and the automatic#039;s seamless shifts fit the 7 Series#039; more luxurious mission better, while still giving the feel of driving something highly tuned.

Thanks to those monster tires and BMW#039;s Dynamic Drive, the B7 handles like a much smaller car than it is; the faster you go, the smaller it feels, zipping around corners like a sports car without much of a penalty to the ride. You sense a bit more of what#039;s going on at the road, but it still smothers freeway klicks like a regular 7.

Even on larger wheels, the B7 rides better than the jittery Audi S8 and the 7#039;s supercharged engine is quieter and smoother than the snarly, high-revving 6.3-litre V8 fitted to the similarly-priced Mercedes S63 AMG.

Where the Mercedes holds an edge, thanks to its long wheelbase (the B7 comes as a short-wheelbase model only) is in overall comfort; the Alpina#039;s rich interior fittings can#039;t disguise a cabin that#039;s quite a bit smaller than the Benz in all dimensions.

Of course, buyers of the B7 will probably appreciate how it feels a bit more intimate, with all controls (including BMW#039;s much-criticized iDrive) close at hand.

They will also appreciate its exclusivity: with 50 units coming into the country, it#039;ll be a far less common sight on the road than the S63 (100 units expected to be sold in a year) and the special bits inside and out really give it a high-end hot rod feel that neither the Audi or Mercedes can match.

Alpina B
Alpina B

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