It’s well known that I’m a wagon lover. What’s less known is that I’m an Alpina snob, too. Today we’re going to take a look at a BMW that shared equal billing in my high-school brain with the E63 M6 and the E61 535xi; the E65 Alpina B7.
When the E65 generation Alpina B7 debuted for the 2007 model year, it was the second Alpina sold in the United States (after their kinder, gentler version of the Z8, the Alpina V8 Roadster). It filled an important niche that, at the time, BMW’s M division had not yet addressed: an exclusive high-performance sedan.
Alpina’s model lineup has always stood in stark contrast to offerings from BMW’s M division. They complement each other well, especially now that M cars are more like Bavarian muscle cars than ever before. Alpinas have always balanced their performance with bespoke luxury, and that focus has increased in recent years.
As BMW’s M cars have grown more and more brutally powerful, Alpinas have found themselves, surprisingly, the more subtle choice. We’re far removed from the days when car like the E34 Alpina B10 Biturbo, then the fastest sedan in the world, made the incredible M5 look downright pedestrian by comparison.
The E65 B7 sits nestled comfortably between these two eras of Alpina’s recent history. Powered by a supercharged N62 V8 with a custom block and a forged bottom end, the B7 was good for 500 horsepower. That’s more than enough for the sort of car that can carry you and three others in sprawling comfort, surrounded by rich wood and leather.
These cars have depreciated tremendously, with most reasonably used examples changing hands for under $20,000. In addition to the depreciation typical of cars in this class, the B7 has a somewhat unearned bad reputation due to the sins of the father—the father, in this case, being earlier iterations of the E65 7 Series.
The Alpina B7 came along late enough in the production run of the E65 7 Series that the electrical gremlins and iDrive demons had long since been exorcised. The only real trouble spot unique to the B7 is the supercharger—specifically, the pulley clutch assembly. While this was once a several-thousand-dollar repair (possibly reaching five figures), repair kits are available (with genuine parts, no less) that can reduce the cost of the repair five- or ten-fold.
With just 800 sent to North America, it may take you awhile to find the perfect Alpina. In my opinion, though, the E65 B7 is a car that is worth the wait and then some.—Cam VanDerHorst
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]