2021 BMW Alpina XB7 breaks cover with 612HP V8 engine

The 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 is Alpina's first-ever SUV – or SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) as BMW likes to call it – for the North American market. Hot on the heels of the all-new BMW X7, we're expecting nothing less than bonkers performance and physics-defying handling in Alpina's newest creation. As it turns out, it seems we're right on the money.

We're no strangers to the BMW X7. Executive editor Chris Davies got behind the wheel of BMW's newest full-size SUV a couple of months before the COVID-19 lockdown. "The 4.4-liter V8 in the X7 XDrive50i strikes the right balance of performance and comfort," said Davies. "The BMW X7 makes some big promises, but for the most part it delivers on them." However, Alpina XB7 is a different kind of animal.

It starts with a tuned 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8 motor with 612 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which is essentially the same power unit in the Alpina B7 luxury sedan. With this much power, the Alpina XB7 has no problems rushing to 60 mph in 4.0-seconds – just half a second slower than the B7 sedan.

According to Alpina, the XB7 completes the quarter-mile run in 12.6-seconds when equipped with standard 21-inch wheels and performance tires. And when you think about it, it has more power than the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 S and BMW's mad X5M, which happens to be two of the most powerful SUVs on sale today.

The engine is bolted to a ZF 8-speed sport automatic transmission with wheel-mounted shift buttons courtesy of Alpina's Switch-Tronic system. Power is routed to all four wheels courtesy of xDrive, but the XB7 features an electronic active limited-slip differential on the rear axle to improve traction during high-speed cornering maneuvers.

The system automatically feeds more torque to the wheel with the most grip by consistently analyzing wheel speed, steering angle, throttle position, and many other factors. The XB7 also benefits from all-wheel active steering which pivots the rear wheels either left or right to further improve handling and low-speed maneuverability.

The newest Alpina XB7 is equipped with standard air suspension. The system allows you to raise or lower the suspension depending on road conditions. It lowers the ride height by 0.8-inch if you drive past 100 mph or by selecting Sport mode. But in Sport+ mode or at speeds beyond 155 mph, the air suspension further lowers the vehicle by another 0.8-inches.

Standard on the XB7 are 21-inch wheels with either run-flat or performance tires while optional 23-inch forged alloy wheels are optional. Additionally, Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers and 15.5 x 1.4" front discs and floating calipers with 15.7 x 1.1" rear discs are standard as well.

On the safety front, the Alpina XB7 is equipped with a full suite of driver assistance systems including blind spot detection, lane departure warning, active cruise control, front and rear collision warning, and lane-keeping assistance with active side collision protection among many others.

Style-wise, the BMW Alpina XB7 has a new front bumper with larger air intakes and a new rear bumper with two twin tailpipes from the Alpina sport exhaust system. Luxury interior touches include heated seats wrapped in soft Merino leather, an Alcantara headliner, a leather-wrapped instrument panel, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with Alpina sport displays, and a panoramic sky lounge roof with LED lighting graphics.

Base prices for the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 will start at $141,300 (excluding $995 destination charges). If you like what you're seeing, BMW and Alpina are currently accepting orders with the first deliveries arriving by September 2020.