Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: February 14, 2019
PALM SPRINGS, California - Following the recent unveiling of the facelifted 2020 BMW 7 Series, Alpina has launched their spin on the flagship sedan, the B7, now in its third-generation in Canada (sixth generation worldwide). Alpina may not be a household name but they have sold more than 3000 of these exclusive (and expensive) limousine rockets in North America since 2006.
For 2020, the Alpina B7 receives BMW’s latest generation 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, but they have tinkered it in-house to deliver 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. While those output figures are exactly the same as the outgoing model, Alpina has upgraded the software, turbochargers, and intercoolers so that the engine can now produce its peak torque 1,000 rpm lower on the powerband, right from 2,000 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm. That should result in quicker throttle response and better acceleration numbers. They have also revised the cooling system to ensure the V8 doesn’t overheat under these intense loads. Alpina states that the B7 can now run from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, one-tenths of a second quicker than before.
The 8-speed ZF automatic transmission also receives software tuning for improved comfort, efficiency, and quicker shift times. They have further beefed up the internals to handle the larger spread of torque, and proudly tell us that there is no torque reduction necessary during upshifts. The brakes have been slightly modified, now utilizing brake-by-wire technology, meaning the brake pedal isn’t connected to the actual brakes. We are curious to see how this holds up, as our experience with brake-by-wire technology hasn’t always been positive (ie. Cadillac XT4, Infiniti Q60), and we have yet to experience a vehicle that performs smooth, linear stops with it equipped.
Not that the outgoing B7 didn’t sound good (you can listen to our Exhaust Notes video of that here), in fact it was quite an auditory riot. The new B7 however receives a revised stainless steel exhaust system that reduces backpressure and weight. There are still quad tailpipes and a switchable exhaust but Alpina says it will be slightly louder than before.
A two-axle air suspension remains standard equipment, along with rear-axle steering and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview, a feature that uses data from the GPS, cameras, and your driving style to anticipate chassis control and damping for better ride comfort and safety. If it drives anything like the outgoing B7 (our review of that here), it is going to be one smooth operator.
Aesthetically, the B7 is a headturner especially in this exclusive Alpina Green Metallic paint shown in our photographs. And while BMWs of late have suffered from internet memes on its larger-than-life kidney grills, I can gladly report that it appears much better in person. Along with Alpina’s signature 21-inch wheels, new front spoiler, and rear apron design, the B7 assumes a low, sporty, and aggressive stance that will surely stand out in traffic. Under the hood is also a new engine cover with clever aluminum inserts.
The interior carries over largely unchanged, though the digital instrument cluster from the new 7 Series makes an appearance. We still miss their analog dials but these are the times we live in. Even the new Rolls-Royce models have succumbed to the digital ages.
Pricing for the 2020 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive Sedan has yet to be announced but we have been told it will be competitively priced against the other 7 Series trims, most likely slotting below the V-12 powered M760Li and above the 750i. Expect it to go on sale at the end of 2019.