If you want a sensible, affordable family hauling SUV, I have just one question for you: What are you doing here? This is the 2021 Alpina XB7, and it has no time for your sensibilities. Instead, this leans on the wacky world of powerful mega-SUVs — something the size of a battleship with enough power to spin the planet the other direction whenever you accelerate. This SUV does 0-60 in 4.0 seconds, according to BMW, and it tops out at 180 mph.
In short, it’s one of the most powerful and quickest big SUVs in the world. Now, its arrival is notable for two reasons. One is the sheer level of berserk you’ll want to be to drop $142,295 (including destination) on a 5,860 pound performance SUV, while the other is the fact that it’s not a surprising vehicle for the tuning house to create. SUVs are in vogue and Alpina already gave the world the B7 super sedan, so why not crank BMW’s flagship SUV up to eleven? Something surprising, however, is the fact that this is the BMW X7 M the Bavarian automaker has refused to build…at least so far.
A mind-bending array of numbers
In the hierarchy of BMW X7s, the Alpina XB7 is now the top dog. It still uses the same 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 we’ve come to know in the X7 xDrive50i and M50i, but it now produces 89 more horsepower and 47 more lb ft of torque (the M50i manages 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque). It’s also half a second faster to 60, despite pushing a nearly three-ton curb weight. BMW also claims the Alpina XB7 sprints through the quarter-mile in 12.6 seconds, which is less than a second slower than a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. In a three-row luxury family SUV.
With that much power and that much weight, the 2021 Alpina XB7 will be a thirsty one, though official fuel economy figures have yet to be announced. The X7 M50i, for its part, does manage 17 mpg combined, as does its less powerful xDrive50i counterpart, both housing the same 4.4-liter V-8.
Like the standard X7, the Alpina XB7 still uses an eight-speed automatic transmission. This time around, though, the tuning house has worked with ZF to beef up the 8HP76 transmission to handle the extra torque. The XB7 houses an aluminum transmission oil sump located on the underbelly of the car for more effective cooling. An electronically-variable limited slip differential on the rear axle provides 1,475 lb-ft of locking torque to provide maximum traction in cornering, keeping the fat 285-millimeter front and 325-millimeter rear tires on the ground (10 millimeters wider than the X7 M50i). Stock, the car comes with 21-inch wheels and performance all-seasons, though you can get massive 23-inch wheels on Pirelli summer tires as an option.
The 2021 Alpina XB7 also uses adaptive air suspension, allowing you to change the ride height up to 1.6 inches in either direction. At speeds above 100 mph or in Sport mode, the car will lower itself 0.8 inches. At speeds over 155 mph or in Sport+ mode, it will lower the full 1.6 inches.
Naturally, it’s still an SUV, and a luxurious one at that
As with the standard X7s, The Alpina XB7 still has a cavernous cargo area ranging from 48.6 to 90.4 cubic feet, depending on how you have the seats configured. Standard equipment includes Merino leather seats, soft-close doors, an Alcantara headliner and a leather instrument panel. A second-row bench seat comes standard for seven-passenger seating, or you can choose captain’s chairs instead. A full-color 12.3-inch digital instrument display is standard fare, as is another 12.3-inch infotainment display, while a Panorama Sky Lounge sunroof is an optional extra.
BMW offers a wide range of driver assistance packages, including the Driving Assistance Professional Package. That includes blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear collision warning, frontal collision warning with pedestrian detection and full-speed active cruise control up to 130 mph. Lane keep assist with “Active Side Collision Prevention” helps keep you from merging into adjacent traffic on highways. Finally, BMW has a Parking Assistant Professional package that comes standard in the Alpina XB7, which incorporates a button on the center console to maneuver the car into a parking space on its own.
For those who plan to tow with their $142,295 Alpina XB7, it’s rated for up to 7,500 pounds towing capacity.
Ordering opens this month
BMW says ordering books for the 2021 Alpina XB7 will open this month. Beyond that, the first deliveries are scheduled for September 2020. Unlike every other Alpina model, this car will actually be built alongside most of BMW’s other crossovers at the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. So not only can you get a powerhouse German SUV, but you can also have the satisfaction that it’s actually assembled right here in America, if that’s your thing.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates, and check out more on Alpina’s other flagship below, which we covered last year: