What Is It?
Both the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive and the 2017 Alpina B7 xDrive are super-sedans that produce 600 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque — they just do it in different ways. And although the word awesome is used too often these days, these cars are awesome; perhaps awe-inspiring might be more apt.
They’re both based on the new generation of BMW 7 Series large luxury sedan, which is a fabulous thing even before the go-faster guys open up their toolboxes. Let’s start with the factory version first.
We’re all familiar with the M3, M5 and such, but the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive represents the first time that BMW’s high-performance M division has turned its attention to a 7 Series. Not only is the engine a 6.6-liter V12, it’s also been joined by two turbochargers. Both peak output numbers happen at relatively low engine speeds: 600 hp comes at 5,500 revolutions per minute, and 590 lb-ft chimes in at just 1,500 rpm.
This tells us that the power delivery is elastic as well as generous. This engine does not need to be revved hard in order to squeeze all the energy from it. All it takes is a nudge of the accelerator pedal, and things get moving pretty quickly. You can go from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, which is approaching phenomenal in a car this size.
Naturally, the car is as civilized as it is muscular. The active air suspension has a comfort mode, and the power hits the road through an intelligent all-wheel-drive system (as denoted by the xDrive part of the name) that distributes torque to the wheels best able to use it at the time. And there’s also a rear-wheel steering feature for extra agility. There are cutting-edge safety systems and a gesture-controlled infotainment setup. Think of it as a Lear jet with four wheels; now think the same thing of the B7.
Alpina is an independent German tuning house that specializes in BMW cars. It’s been around for more than 50 years, and its reputation is stellar. If you were a high-up board member at BMW, you’d probably buy an Alpina — that’s how good they are.
This new 2017 B7 xDrive is not the first 7 Series that Alpina has developed. They made a remarkable version of the previous generation. Instead of going with a new V12, they retained the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 in the standard 7, but gave it a boost of strength. This engine has its own character. It’s more energetic and attains its full hp at 5,750 rpm, with maximum torque kicking in at 3,000 rpm. But it’s a fraction faster than the M760i: It can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and its top speed is 193 mph. The BMW could no doubt hit that same speed, but it’s limited electronically to 155 mph.
Alpina also looks at virtually everything else on the car, such as the transmission, brakes, suspension and steering, to see how they can improve these features. The company’s well-known wheel design includes concealed air valves. If there was one screw that they could make better, Alpina would do so. The B7 even comes with a handcrafted interior.
To be announced. About $140,000 could be a feasible starting point.
When Can You Get It?
Early 2017 for the M760i; September 2016 for the Alpina B7. The good thing is that the B7 will be available from BMW dealers, so it will come with a full warranty.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
To experience either car goes beyond mere thrills; it means being in the midst of engineering greatness.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Mercedes-AMG S63 — AMG used to be an independent tuner, but it has since come into the Benz fold. With 577 hp and 664 lb-ft, this sedan is nothing short of astonishing.
2016 Audi S8 — The sportiest version of Audi’s A8 flagship sedan packs 605 hp and 517 lb-ft of torque. Excess has never been so beautiful.
2016 Porsche Panamera Turbo S — The Turbo S is the most potent Panamera. It’s not tuned beyond stock, but 550 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque is still an awful lot of power. Or should that be awe-ful?
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat — We’re not being totally serious here, but this model does have four doors and a crazy 707 hp.
Used Bentley Flying Spur — The Flying Spur is majestic and magnificent. Go for the 12-cylinder engine, and let 616 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque whisk you away from mundane concerns.