BMW Alpina – Fire & Brimstone. MHH International Investigates
This time they have taken a 7 Series under their wing and produced a new super-saloon with a final specification that pushes top speed to an astonishing 205mph. That’s supercar territory. With an Alpina-optimised 4.4L V8 delivering 608hp and 800Nm of splendid torques, this latest B7 Bi-Turbo delivers huge performance but matches it with a high standard of ride quality and comfort for those long-haul trips. The really good news is that this car is now available in the UK.
To help achieve this impressive combination of performance, comfort and driving dynamics, Alpina’s engineers have 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 the brand.
The beating heart of this astonishing car is a heavily-revised, direct injection V8 breathing fiercely through two specially-developed, twin-scroll turbochargers located between the cylinder banks. Particular attention has been paid to airflow optimisation, with a new wide-bore intake system providing shorter intake paths and optimised to allow near-instant throttle response. The UK version is rear-wheel drive only and in this specification, the new Bi-Turbo will accelerate to 60mph in just 4.0 seconds. It costs a lot, weights quite a lot and drinks like a fish, but then you expected that, didn’t you?
There’s more; a new indirect intercooler system further improves both power and responsiveness which together with additional radiators, 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 in other words.
The saloon features an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission also receives additional cooling, alongside a host of modifications that include strengthened gear clusters and a larger torque converter. To reduce weight some components are replaced with carbon fibre alternatives.
As well as ‘auto’, the transmission can be controlled manually using the Alpina ‘Switch-tronic’ buttons on the back of the sports steering wheel, which itself is hand-finished in Lavalina leather with blue and green signature stitching for that luxurious feel while retaining the firm rim preferred by skilled drivers (That’s us isn’t it?).
In the UK the B7 Bi-Turbos destined for the UK will be long wheelbase models riding on 20” alloys with air suspension (allowing ride height to be automatically reduced by 20mm in Sport+ Mode), coupled with ‘Active Roll Stabilisation’, 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.
The Dynamic Traction Control system enhances the dynamic chassis 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 motor sharpens up to provide the agility and lateral dynamics normally associated with a sports car. In Comfort Mode it retains the ride quality of a luxury saloon. The best of both worlds.
The interior of the new B7 Bi-Turbo can be specified with an almost limitless range of options and leather trims, individually-crafted. 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 Heads-Up Display and a rear view camera. As a final embellishment, the interior of each car is finished with a unique, numbered production plaque on the centre console.
Very small numbers of this astonishing super-saloon will be available in the UK, with prices starting at £115,000.