Every B7 comes with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which Alpina has programmed for slightly more rear bias; it sends up to 90 percent to the rear wheels when dynamic traction control is active. Also standard are the two-axle air suspension, which lowers the car 0.8 inch in the Sport Plus mode; the active roll bars that fight body lean; the electronic dampers with Alpina-programmed settings that range from very comfortable to very sporty; and the Integral Active Steering, which features up to 3 degrees of rear steering angle to help virtually shorten or lengthen the wheelbase.
On top of that, Alpina fits a set of either 20- or 21-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, with contact patches of 255 millimeters up front and 295 millimeters out back. These wrap around forged alloy wheels that save up to 8.8 pounds per corner versus cast wheels. The brakes use 15.5-inch front rotors with 4-piston fixed calipers and 14.5-inch rear rotors with 2-piston floating calipers.
For better aerodynamics, the B7 gets unique front and rear spoilers to reduce lift on the front and rear axles without adding downforce, which increases drag. BMW’s standard active grille shutters are programmed to work with the needs of the Alpina cooling system. Two unique colors are offered, Alpina Blue Metallic and Alpina Green Metallic. Buyers can also opt for the full palette of BMW colors.
Changes to the cockpit start with a new leather wrap for the steering wheel, featuring Lavalina leather that Alpina boasts is the finest available and is the same leather that Rolls-Royce uses. The digital instrument cluster is also unique to Alpina, featuring different graphics depending on the drive mode. In Comfort and Comfort Plus, it has blue gauge faces with red needles. In Sport or Sport Plus modes, the gauges have black faces, blue outlines, and green needles. Other interior changes include plush carpeted floormats with the Alpina insignia, an Alpina production plaque on the center console, door panel kickplates that say Alpina, and blue illumination for the door sills.
Alpina offers two unique trim treatments, Alpina Piano lacquer with the brand’s logo or Alpina Myrtle wood, plus all of the regular BMW options. The Myrtle wood and Tartufo Merino leather in the Alpina Blue test car I drove made for a simply stunning combination.
My drive started with a 90-mile loop of the Monterey Peninsula that included open two-lane highways and twisty canyon roads. It took only a few seconds behind the wheel to realize that this is an even better car to drive than the fantastic 750i. The suspension balances controlled responses with buttery smooth ride quality. Alpina puts more importance on ride comfort than you’d get in an M car, and that makes it a top-notch highway cruiser. In fact, the programming is so comfort-oriented that I stuck mostly with the Sport setting for an additional bit of body control.