How often do you get to drive the fastest sedan in the world? Not too often would be the correct answer, so it comes as no surprise that when BMW of North America and ALPINA extended an invite to visit Buchloe and drive the new B7, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. The little German village is the home of ALPINA and it’s a short distance from Munich, yet, despite my countless trips to Germany, I haven’t managed to visit their headquarters and factory.
But ALPINA is not your typical automaker, nor typical is the factory. Imagine their home as a neat and luxurious place where everyone knows each other, and where you see more SINGER sewing machines than in a clothing factory. It’s a place where some of the most exquisite BMW models are being refined for some of the most pretentious customers in the world.
The owner of an ALPINA B7 is slightly different than the 7 Series one. According to the ALPINA CEO, Andreas Bovensiepen, it’s not unusual for the B7 owners to have a chauffeur and ride mostly in the back seat. But, if you’re into driving and enjoying some of the fastest cars in the world, ALPINA has you covered as well because the new B7 is the fastest sedan on the market with a top speed of 205 mph or roughly 330 km/h. At that top speed, you will see most of the cars in your rearview mirror.
For the facelift BMW 7 Series, ALPINA has thoroughly revised the B7. Especially in the engine compartment, the engineers spent considerable effort to enhance the already amazing 4.4 liter V8 biturbo. The new B7 features larger diameter propellers in its turbos, for better torque down low, tweaked engine management and newer intercoolers.
The car can now rely on 600 HP and 590 lb-ft of torque (800 Nm) from as low as 2,000 RPM instead of the previous 3,000 RPM. The power upgrade shows in the acceleration numbers as well as it will do 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill 0.1 seconds faster than the outgoing car, at 3.5 seconds.
The B7 features a twin-axle air-suspension system, active integral steering and an active anti-roll mitigation system, all of which are seen on the standard car in various guises, too. There is a new ALPINA Sport+ mode as well, combining a bespoke calibration and a 15mm drop in overall suspension ride height. All these upgrades are meant to improve upon the previous excellent driving dynamics and make you forget that you’re rolling in a 4,800 lbs car.
My test drive kicks off with a short run on the German Autobahn, the Candyland for any American visiting Europe. An unlimited speed stretch of road will soon allow me to test the B7’s top speed, but not before I kick the car into Sport Plus to fully enjoy its sportiness and engine sound. A few minutes later and after sampling its large brakes, I find myself building up speed and courage as I approach a long straight. The refined ZF 8-speed transmission is as superb as ever, the shifting is extremely smooth and precise, and I’m throughly enjoying the ALPINA-designed shifting buttons behind the steering wheel.