Zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds, a top speed of over 200 mph, four doors, and a curb weight that falls fewer than 150 pounds shy of the two-and-a-half-ton threshold: These are just a few of the statistics that describe the 2020 Alpina B7 xDrive, which will be the fastest sedan money can buy when it becomes available during the third quarter of this year. Don’t take our word for it, either: Road & Track and Car and Driver were among the first to bestow the crown on the new big-body Alpina.
Based upon the recently announced G11 and G12 7 Series LCI (life cycle impulse), the new Alpina B7 wears the same visual enhancements that made a stir last month when official press photos first surfaced. Some specific changes for the Alpina include a redesigned diffuser which surrounds the quad exhaust tips, more aggressive and lower-slung side skirts, and a ride height that can dropped a maximum of 1.4 inches, with the most aggressive stance achieved above 140 mph.
The changes might seem relatively small, especially when viewed in conjunction with the new front-end design, but it’s likely that they play a large in role in the refreshed model being able to achieve its new top speed of 205 mph, compared with 194 for the outgoing version. Remember, though, that it’s very difficult to move the needle at these velocities; it took over a decade for the Bugatti Chiron to improve on the initial Veyron’s top speed of 253 mph with its own ability to hit 261.
Speaking of 200-mph-capable production cars, this league contains roughly two-to- three-dozen currently available models. The space is dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and other exotics, but there are also five sedans that are capable of hitting 200. These include the Cadillac CTS-V, Jaguar XE SV Project 8, Bentley Flying Spur W12 S, Aston Martin Rapide S, and the Dodge Charger Hellcat, which was recently updated with some technology from the Demon.
The 2020 Alpina B7 slots above every one of these as far as terminal velocity is concerned, with its 205-mph manufacturer claim.
Although the output of 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque remains unchanged from the initial version, the torque band has been significantly improved. Peak horsepower from the V8, which is sometimes referred to by Alpina as the N63M30, is now available from 5,500 to 6,500 rpm as opposed to the brief 500-rpm window before, while the pavement-destroying torque plateau is now a full 1,000 rpm longer: from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm. These developments come from turbochargers with larger impellers that measure 54 mm as opposed to the previous 50, along with Alpina-specific intercoolers which are pulse-tuned to equalize pressure between the two cylinder banks. The charge-0air system is further described as maximizing efficiency and effectiveness through large-diameter ducting and intercoolers that employ indirect air-to-water-to-airflow with with a shortened path back into the combustion chambers.
The eight-speed automatic transmission by ZF has of course been upgraded to cope with the immense power output, and to provide faster shifts than before, while supporting changes are also present in the cooling system for the entire vehicle, allowing optimal performance regardless of ambient temperature conditions.
The air suspension is a rather important change; while the setup for the refreshed model boasts a less-overall active range of 1.4 inches compared with 1.6 of the previous model, it works with the lower and more aggressive aerodynamics of the car to achieve greater efficiency, likely helping the 4,855-pound sedan reach 205 mph.
For those comparing the 2020 Alpina B7 xDrive to the updated M760Li xDrive, which boasts 600 horsepower and 627 pound-feet in its most current form, the figures are pretty interesting. The V12 M Performance model hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, 0.1 slower than the Alpina B7, according to factory specifications. The B7’s 205 mph top speed also bests the M760Li’s limited 155 by a substantial margin—but the true delimited capability of the 2020 V12 flagship remains to be scene.
In addition to Alpina’s classic blue metallic paint, their hallmark Alpina Green color will also be available when the new B7 becomes available during the third quarter of this year. The interior will benefit from the latest Live Cockpit Professional setup with iDrive 7.0, enhanced acoustic refinement to mitigate road and tire noise, and optional rear Executive Lounge seating.
Before options—most of which mirror those of the updated Seven—the base MSRP of the 2020 B7 is $142,695. That’s $2,350 more than a 2019 model year, and $39,050 more than a standard 2020 BMW 750i xDrive, but $16,000 less than the M760Li V12 flagship. Overall, the price doesn’t seem like a particularly bad value proposition for a 200-mph capable sedan boasting such luxuries as massaging seats—and putting its drivers in rarified air that was up until recently inhaled by only those driving the fastest coupes and spiders.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]