Alpina has just announced the specs for the 2023 XB7, their latest luxury SUV with monstrous levels of performance. What’s new compared to the 2022 model? Quite a bit! Let’s take a look at what’s available when space and budget aren’t major constraints and Alpina can boldly go where no other manufacturer has gone before. I’d like to think of the XB7 as a starship on wheels.
As the 2023 BMW X7 received a mid-cycle refresh, the 2023 Alpina XB7 follows suit. This means new exterior styling, new interior styling, an all-new engine, and plenty of beefed-up features over the outgoing model. And we didn’t even have to blow up the old Enterprise to see the new model hit the market.
In regard to performance, the XB7 is based on the X7 M60i, which houses the new and gloriously powerful S68 engine, a 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8. That’s right, the S-code designation means it’s a “motorsport production engine,” which have historically been reserved for the M cars. BMW points out that for the S68, they’ve implemented a cross-bank exhaust manifold that evenly feeds the two twin-scroll turbochargers, making the engine highly responsive.
It’s also a mild hybrid thanks to the 48-volt electric motor that’s integrated with the eight-speed transmission. The 2023 XB7 edges out the 2022 XB7 by producing 631 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque—good enough to carry this massive SUV to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, a couple of tenths faster than the previous model year. With enough road and proper tires, the XB7 will hit 180 mph. It’s possibly fast enough to loop around the sun and travel through time—depending on your wheel and tire choice, of course.
Power is nothing without handling, and wouldn’t you know it, Alpina has that covered as well. The XB7 rides on air and depending on the chosen suspension mode or current spend, the ride height will change up to 1.6 inches. BMW explains, “At speeds below 19 mph, the ride height can be raised by 1.6 inches for challenging ramp angles or other clearance requirements. In Sport mode or above 100 mph the ride height is reduced by 0.8 inches, and by 1.6 inches in Sport+ mode or above 155 mph. The resulting lower center of gravity and subsequent changes in suspension geometry, with associated increases in negative camber, have a significant positive effect on driving dynamics.” The XB7 also has Alpina-specific suspension and chassis parts such as the dome-bulkhead struts, reinforced torsion struts, electromechanical anti-roll bars, and stiffer rear axle bushings.
To keep the Star Trek references going, there’s even a “computer” that takes commands, just like on the Enterprise. BMW states, “The latest generation of the BMW iDrive adds a new, digital dimension to the vehicle-driver interaction. The technological basis is provided by the BMW iDrive 8 Operating System in combination with intuitive control options like the outstanding voice control offered by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.”
I know, you’re probably saying, “But, Mike, that’s not impressive. I’d be more impressed if it could dock itself for repairs like the Enterprise docking at a space station after battling the Borg.” Well, it just so happens that the XB7 has a little something called the Parking Assistant Professional package, which includes Maneuver Assistant. According to BMW, “Maneuver Assistant uses GPS data and the trajectory data from steering inputs to record and store up to ten different maneuvers covering a distance of up to 200 meters each. When the XB7 arrives at a memorized GPS point, such as the entrance to a narrow driveway with tight curves, the system will be able to carry out all the tasks required to complete the maneuver, controlling the accelerator, brakes, and steering as well as changing gear to move forward or backward.”
If I owned this car, I would use Maneuver Assistant EVERY time I pulled onto my street and order the XB7 to park in my garage. My kids would grow to loathe all of the Star Trek quotes when the Captain hands over controls to someone on his crew. The Bridge is yours. Make it so. Second star to the right and straight on till morning. I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
The interior includes a number of custom touches from Alpina. There’s a Dilithium crystal iDrive controller (actually it’s just glass), an illuminated gear selector, an Alpina production plaque, illuminated Alpina door sills, and a unique hand-finished Alpina Sport Steering Wheel. Three interior trim options are available: Myrtle Luxury Wood , Piano lacquer, and Natural Walnut Anthracite.
Would you believe you can have all of this luxury and performance for the cost of a new 330i base model? If so, I’ve got a bridge for sale and thought you might be interested. The XB7 starts at $145,000 (plus $995 destination and handling). Orders can be placed starting this month with the first deliveries scheduled for early 2023. —Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of BMW and Alpina.]