• 2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy

When enough isn’t enough, skip the BMW X7 and go for the Alpina XB7 instead

Earlier this year BMW brought longtime German partner and small series car manufacturer ALPINA in-house, acquiring the brand which has been tastefully modifying BMW vehicles since 1978. There are currently 3 ALPINA models with which to shop from BMW’s American lineup but this one is the biggest. Based on the 3-row X7 this is the ALPINA XB7 - the most exclusive BMW SUV money can buy.

  • 2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy
  • Year:
    2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    8-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    612 @ 5500
  • MPG(Cty):
    15
  • MPG(Hwy):
    21
  • Torque @ RPM:
    590 @ 2000
  • Energy:
    SIDI
  • Displacement:
    4395 cc
  • 0-60 time:
    4.0 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    180 mph
  • Layout:
    Front engine/4WD
  • Price:
    141300

THE ALPINA EXPERIENCE

Launched nearly 4 years ago, the X7 arrived for the 2019 model year to become the most family-friendly BMW with seating for up to 7. Priced from near $76,000 for a 6-cylinder model and from over $100,000 for an M V8 it’s a glorious SUV, or Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW parlance. But what if you want more; more power, more luxury, more exclusivity? Well, here’s the answer. The ALPINA XB7 delivers 612 horsepower, features bespoke craftsmanship and practically guarantees yours is the only one in town. Is it fast? Of course. It cuts a half-second from the M50i’s 0-to-60 mph time reducing it to 4-seconds flat; astonishing for a vehicle this size. Yet its acceleration is delivered with the same refined grace that is foundational to every ALPINA model. Elegant understatement is the name of the game with a focus on comfort.

2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy
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ALPINA tuning has been applied to the air suspension and its associated systems to better balance dynamics and ride comfort with increased body rigidity and less body roll. xDrive is adapted for more neutral handling with high levels of traction, and surefooted grip is provided by massively wide 23” Pirelli summer-use tires specific to the ALPINA (which also happen to be the most expensive rubber I can recall ever having tested at nearly $1,000 per tire) and the limited-slip differential is specifically calibrated for the XB7 to ensure slip-induced losses are minimized. The reinforced 8-speed automatic is remarkably smooth and uses ALPINA shift buttons in place of traditional steering wheel paddles for times when you’d rather shift for yourself. With 590 pound-feet of torque on tap, the 4.4-liter twin-turbo engine is instantaneous in its response and the active exhaust system goes from reserved to politely pronounced depending upon drive mode.

2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy
- image 1090723

ELEGANTLY CONFIDENT

2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy
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Beyond all, I just love the exclusivity of this model. But there’s also an amazing driving experience here backed by over 600 horsepower delivered smoothly and powerfully, underpinned with an air suspension that can even soften the ride of this massive 23” wheel and high-performance tire package. The ALPINA tuning focuses on comfort within a wide dynamic range from Comfort Plus to Sport Plus drive modes. It’s very quiet and amazingly stout.

Even with the added power, gas mileage of 17 mpg combined is the same as with the M50i model with an identical 372-mile driving range. But those are plebeian matters. The owner of this XB7 just spent $155,000 to be coddled and put upon a pedestal; saving the planet will have to wait. And as wonderful as it is to drive, being a passenger is arguably even better.

FIRST CLASS EXPERIENCE

2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy
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The craftsmanship and detail paid to the cabin are downright seductive and at night become even more spectacular with colorful, changeable ambient lighting and a Sky Lounge LED roof that emulates a starry night. The Bowers & Wilkins sound system with lit grilles, the massaging seats, the dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, the 5-zone automatic climate control, and one-touch access to the 3rd row is exactly the scene your mind conjures when hearing ALPINA SUV. But thinking ahead, we’ve already seen the refreshed 2023 X7 coming soon with its modernized IP so if I have but one criticism here it’s that the dash layout and the electronics are looking just a step outdated. So, why not wait until the end of the year at which point this ALPINA model will also get – just what it needs – even more power.

EXCLUSIVITY

2022 ALPINA XB7: The Most Exclusive BMW SUV Money Can Buy
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The Ivory White/Night Blue Merino high-end leather interior is so choice yet I’d probably pivot from the traditional, stodgy ALPINA Myrtle Wood trim and go with one of the other options such as Piano lacquer. But it’s really the after-hours light show that makes this space dazzle with a robust ambient color palette interwoven into every nook and cranny. And the special ALPINA touches like the branded plaque on the cupholders’ cover and the crystal shifter amp up the exclusivity.

The features list is, of course, rather lengthy including:

  • heated and cooled cupholders
  • heated armrests
  • an oversized, colorful head-up display
  • wireless phone projection
  • power controls for the various seating and cargo configurations including a switch to lower the body for easier loading
  • and the typical luxury car grouping of driver assistance features, which is to say all of them except hands-free driving.

In a sea of over-the-top automobiles with a seemingly endless number of luxuries, the ALPINA experience remains extremely special.

With global production of ALPINA models capped at just under 2,000 units annually, BMW says spotting one of these is only 25% as likely as seeing a Rolls-Royce. And that is precisely why I’ve got to have one.

Steven Hammes
About the author

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