ALPINA’s new supersaloon is now available in the UK with a final specification that pushes top speed to an astonishing 205 mph, up from the 193 mph predicted at the Geneva launch.
With an ALPINA-optimised 4.4 litre V8 delivering 608 hp (up from 600 for the show car) and 800 Nm, the new B7 Bi-Turbo joins the exclusive group of cars with effortless 200 mph performance.
“Not long ago, only the most focussed £million hypercars could touch 200 mph. Where road conditions allow, owners of the new B7 Bi-Turbo can cruise long distances at that legendary speed. with friends and family in considerable comfort,” says ALPINA GB brand manager Gary Lott. “Remarkably, ALPINA has achieved this alongside superb ride quality and refinement at lower speeds, and all for just £115,000.”
To help achieve this impressive combination of performance, comfort and driving dynamics, ALPINA’s 70-strong engineering team has received exceptional access to BMW design data and technical facilities as part of a relationship that reaches back to 1964, when BMW endorsed the quality of ALPINA products by awarding the full factory guarantee to BMW vehicles fitted with the new ALPINA dual carburettor system.
At the heart of the new B7 Bi-Turbo is a heavily-revised, direct injection V8 breathing through two specially-developed, twin-scroll turbochargers located between the cylinder banks, operating in parallel to deliver up to 1.2 bar with minimum inertia. Particular attention has been paid to airflow optimisation, with a new wide-bore intake system providing shorter intake paths and optimised radii to allow near-instant throttle response. Pistons and spark plugs are uprated to ALPINA specifications.
A new indirect intercooler system (air/water/air) further improves both power and responsiveness, with a main intercooler feeding the two large-volume, close-coupled intercoolers. Together with additional radiators, the system ensures the thermodynamic stability of the V8 Bi-Turbo engine at all times, even under the highest sustained loads and most aggressive ambient air temperatures.
“Managing heat is critical to ensuring consistent responses, low emissions and long-term durability,” Lott explains. “ALPINAs are designed to be driven very fast over long distances. These are practical supercars to enjoy every day.”
The eight-speed automatic transmission also receives additional cooling, alongside a host of modifications that include strengthened gear clusters and a larger torque converter. ALPINA’s work with transmission supplier ZF is another reason for the exceptional acceleration of the new B7 Bi-Turbo. The result of extensive analysis to ensure durability at high mileages, its immense strength means that the torque reduction commonly applied during upshifts is not required.
The transmission can be controlled manually using the ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC buttons on the back of the sports steering wheel, which is hand-finished in Lavalina leather with blue and green signature stitching to provide a luxurious feel while retaining the firm rim preferred by skilled drivers.
The ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo is an evolution of the latest BMW 7-Series, which provides a state-of-the-art, high-technology development platform. To reduce weight, for example, the 7-Series BMW’s A-, B- and C-pillars, the transmission tunnel and the windscreen header are all made from carbon fibre composite.
B7 Bi-Turbos destined for the UK will be Long Wheelbase cars with air suspension (allowing ride height to be automatically reduced by 20 mm in ALPINA Sport+ Mode), Active Roll Stabilisation (with new light weight, high-speed electro mechanical actuation), and ALPINA-tuned active rear steering, which turns the rear wheels a maximum of three degrees the opposite way to the front wheels at low speeds and the same way at higher speeds. At the front, there is a new calibration for the variable ratio electric steering and increased wheel camber to provide a more direct turn-in when cornering.
ALPINA’s chassis electronics specialists have also developed their own calibrations for the Dynamic Traction Control system to ensure that the characteristics of the engine and transmission can be fully exploited for maximum driver enjoyment. At the touch of a button, this remarkable vehicle sharpens to provide the agility and lateral dynamics normally associated with a more focussed sportscar, while in Comfort Mode it retains the ride quality of a luxury saloon.
“One of the reasons why ALPINA’s are often described as having a ‘magical’ blend of ride quality, handling and feel is that there is just one specification of each model, which means everything from the tyres to the electronics can be optimised to work in perfect harmony,” explains Lott.
To keep both sprung and unsprung mass down, further enhancing driving dynamics and ride comfort on the UK’s uniquely demanding roads, the UK-specification ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo will be available only with Rear Wheel Drive. In this specification, the new ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo will accelerate to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds.
Wheels are 20” ALPINA Classic 20 spoke in a new design made from high-strength, forged aluminium with visible wheel bolts and no centre hub covers. 21” wheels are optional. Aerodynamics have been optimised in BMW’s wind tunnel and are enhanced by unique ALPINA front and rear spoilers that also increase airflow through the uprated cooling system. The bespoke look is further enhanced by a four-outlet, light weight stainless steel ALPINA sports exhaust system that has been tuned to reduce back pressure as well as providing a choice of two driver-selectable, bass-focussed sounds.
Luxurious, hand-crafted interiors
Inside, the new B7 Bi-Turbo can be specified with an almost limitless range of options and leather trims, individually-crafted in ALPINA’s saddlery. Standard equipment on UK-market cars includes high-end Nappa leather, a leather-covered instrument panel, ceramic applications on selected control elements, soft close doors, a full-colour Head-Up Display and a rear view camera. Door sills are enhanced by ALPINA Blue illumination of the B7 model inscriptions coordinating with interior ALPINA Blue mood lighting. The unique ALPINA styling of the exterior can be enriched by ALPINA’s iconic Deco-Set along the sides and on the front spoiler, while the interior of each car is finished with a unique, numbered production plaque on the centre console.
Very small numbers of this astonishing supersaloon will be available in the UK, with prices starting at £115,000. Like all new ALPINAs, the new B7 Bi-Turbo will be supplied with a three year / 120,000 mile BMW-endorsed warranty.
Half a century of bespoke cars
ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen KG was established on the 1st of January 1965 in Kaufbeuren. Two years later it adopted the now-famous badge featuring a twin-choke downdraught carburettor and a crankshaft on a shield; a proud symbol of the company’s dedication to superb engineering.
Although today the company is focussed largely on road cars, its ethos has been formed by decades of racing success with a driver roster that includes Derek Bell, James Hunt, Jacky Ickx, Niki Lauda, Brian Muir and Hans Stuck. Throughout this time, the close relationship with BMW was developing, with factory support for road car development and collaboration in motorsport that included commissioning ALPINA to develop the light weight race car that became the now-legendary BMW 3.0 CSL.
Today, ALPINA is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance luxury automobiles, selling on every continent yet still in numbers small enough to allow each car to be bespoke. Production reached 1,700 in 2014 – a new record – and there are currently no plans for significant volume growth beyond this.
“ALPINA is a company that creates subtly stylish, very high performance cars that can be tailored to each customer’s personal requirements, yet offer the long-term comfort and durability required for daily use,” comments CEO Andreas Bovensiepen, son of the company’s founder Burkard Bovensiepen. “We have a unique philosophy and a commitment to engineering excellence that we intend to maintain and build on across the next 50 years.”