With the 536-horsepower twin-turbo V-12 BMW 760i already in the lineup, a dedicated performance model might seem superfluous. But what the 2011 BMW Alpina B7 Sedan lacks in power--which isn't much--it more than makes up in hard-driving capability.

Power for the 2011 version of the sedan comes from a 500-horsepower version of BMW's direct-injection, twin-turbo 4.4-liter all-aluminum V-8 engine. With 516 pound-feet of torque, the brawny sedan accelerates to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. A dual-pipe stainless steel exhaust system livens the sound of the V-8 engine, but doesn't intrude on the stately cockpit.

Rear-wheel drive is still the order of the day for the 2011 B7, with power sent out back with a six-speed Alpina SWITCH-TRONIC sport automatic transmission. The Switch-Tronic gearbox allows paddle-shifted manual mode with gearshifts taking "a few hundred milliseconds." The transmission and oil coolers are separated from the main cooling system to improve performance.

Exterior design of the B7 is still largely standard 7-series, though it does get unique front and rear spoilers to aid stability and performance at higher speeds. BMW claims they reduce lift at the front by 30 percent and at the rear by 15 percent. All standard 7-Series exterior colors are available, plus the signature Alpina Blue metallic choice.

Twenty-one-inch wheels are standard, shod with 245/35 front and 245/35 rear Michelin PS2 tires. The suspension system is uniquely tuned to the B7, with 15 mm lower front ride height and 10 mm lower rear. Stiffer yet well-controlled springs and Dynamic Damping Control with Active Roll Stabilization help keep the big body under control during hard maneuvers.

Inside, the 2011 Alpina B7 gets ALPINA illuminated blue door sill trim, a hand-stitched Lavalina leather steering wheel, and a "black-panel" LCD instrument cluster with Alpina logos. Other interior features include Myrtle Burl wood trim and optional Alpina Piano Lacquer trim. Alpina emblems in the upper seatbacks and inlaid in the wood trim make sure it's occupants are made tastefully aware this isn't an ordinary 7-Series, as do the Alpina plaque mounted on the inner roof panel and the signature in engine bay.

Pricing and on-sale information will come when the 2011 BMW Alpina  B7 makes its North American debut at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show.