Friday, January 2, 2009

BMW Alpina B7

Seven Series on Steroids'

The Alpina B7 is for hardcore car enthusiasts who think the capable BMW7 Series Sedan isn't fast or exclusive enough. The Alpina B7 takes the 7 Series Sedans' basic characteristics and amplifies them. But be ready to open your wallet and pony up well over six figures for one of the rarest cars on the road.

Besides the exclusivity factor, the main difference is under the hood. Alpina fits BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 engine with a supercharger to boost power and pairs it with a six-speed automatic transmission. That combination produces 500 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque for a 4.8-second sprint to 60 miles per hour. Not bad for a car that weighs more than two tons.

Alpina is based in Buchloe, Germany, and is well known among industry insiders. It has been modifying luxury cars for decades and the quality of its work is high enough to be endorsed by major automakers like BMW.

An example of the companies engineering prowess and impeccable craftsmanship can be seen in the steering-wheel-mounted buttons it adds to the B7 that allow drivers to shift gears manually.

To sharpen handling, Alpina adds huge 21-inch wheels with Z-rated performance tires and firms up the suspension, which includes BMW's Active Roll Stabilization system to help keep the car from leaning through hard turns.

A modest rear spoiler aerodynamically improves stability, handling and performance at high speeds, and aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers further distinguish the B7 from the standard 7 Series. As is typical of Alpina conversions, the overall effect is subtle; only devoted car enthusiasts are likely to know the difference just looking at the car.

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