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Video | Here’s Everything that’s Broken with My Cheap Alpina B7

Way back in 2007, a much younger, fitter, less indebted Hoovie was just being introduced to the BMW brand. As a salesman at the local Chevrolet, Cadillac, and BMW dealership during this time, the coolest new car to be offered during my tenure was the Alpina B7. I remember when we got the first one in, because I had no idea that Alpina even existed before that moment, and I spent countless hours drooling over this $115,000 luxury sedan until it eventually sold. Thirteen years later, I’ll admit that I’ve let myself go a little bit — but my goodness, how the mighty have fallen with my newly purchased, $3,500 B7.

BMW has never given their in-house tuning department permission to make the M7, so the closest we’ve ever gotten to a high-performance flagship sedan from BMW has always come from Alpina, an independent tuning company that has worked closely with BMW for over 50 years. Since Alpina models directly competed with M-models, BMW dealers in the US never formally sold Alpina models other than the ultra-low production Alpina Z8 until this B7. Spying this generation of B7 is fairly rare as well, as it’s reported that only 800 of this generation were sold in the United States during its 2-year production.

The B7 is much more than a pretty face, as the stylized body kit, 21-in BBS wheels and special badging were just window dressing for all the performance improvements. In addition to receiving all the M-Sport suspension components, bigger brakes were borrowed from the V12 760 model, and the 4.4-liter V8 was hand-built with beefier internals to handle forced induction. The supercharger netted 500 horsepower, nearly matching the Corvette Z06 of the time, and this giant sedan could outrun a Porsche 911 Carrera S in the quarter mile. My favorite part, though, is the luxury experience of the 7 Series wasn’t compromised in any way to achieve this impressive performance.

So with the great performance, looks and low production numbers, you would think this B7 would be a hot emerging collectible — but it’s not. These cars have depreciated right along with every other 7-series to cheap used car levels, and my very cheap $3500 Alpina is doing a great job of showing why. Sadly, Alpina used the same valve seals that plagued BMW V8’s with failures, causing oil to get in the combustion chamber and transforming formerly 6-figure sedans into worthless smoke machines, among other things. Because I’m an idiot, I bought this B7 without even asking Johnny, my BMW mechanic, everything that’s wrong with it or how much it’s all going to cost to fix. My friend initially bought it for himself but quickly bailed when he realized how far gone it was. So this Alpina is my torch to bear now, or to describe it more aptly, my dumpster fire to bear.

Since it’s pretty easy to find a nice Alpina B7 with around 100,000 miles for $15-$20,000, this 170,000-mile example I purchased is probably worth around $10,000 all sorted on its best day. After Johnny’s inspection, he found about $5,000 worth of things wrong with it, including the parts and labor to tear down the engine and replace the valve seals. The good news is most of the oil leaks will be fixed for free during the teardown, and other than a few minor items, the car looked to be in great shape. So maybe it won’t be too awful to restore, but I said that about the last broken BMW I bought, and the one before that, and the one before that… Find a BMW Alpina B7 for sale

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  1. Rims alone were nearly worth it.  From a parts perspective, this is still a good deal.  I know that it’s not in your nature to do this, but parting this out is absolutely the best option.  I look forward to the pain and frustration that this will undoubtedly cause.  I have to admit that I always watch your efforts / decision making with a mix of envy and schadenfreude.  Keep up the good work!

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