6

The Alpina B7 is the marque’s attempt at beating AMG at its own game. It is effectively a BMW 7-series with the dials twisted around to 11.

There’s no mistaking the B7 for a bog-standard 7-series, though: 21-inch alloys, aerodynamic bumper with functional cooling vents and twin double tailpipes are all standard, and Alpina’s icon stripes are available, too. The bespoke cabin is equally well appointed, with illuminated door sill trims and liberal use of leather.

Standard equipment is predictably comprehensive, including four-zone climate control, cruise control, electric memory seats, a glass sunroof, parking sensors, self-levelling air suspension at the rear, sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity and so on.

It’s the bits you can’t see that make the B7 so appealing. This is the first opportunity Alpina has had to turn up the wick on BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. But it’s more than just upping the boost and fitting a lairy exhaust; the modifications even extend to using different pistons.

Other, more common changes include an ECU remap and a range of extra coolers for the engine, turbo, hydraulics and transmission, which are necessary given the boost in power to 532bhp and 533lb ft of torque.

The result is a car that’s eye-wateringly quick, with a 4.6sec 0-62mph and a potential top speed of 194mph. It feels every bit as fast as the S 63 AMG. Good job then that Alpina has uprated the brakes, replacing the standard stoppers with the ones BMW fits to its armour-plated models.

Alpina makes much of its ride/handling balance, so ditching the runflat tyres is a good place to start. The B7 is deft of foot, but it still feels like a big car; not chuckable like an M5.

The Alpina B7 remains a rare sight on British roads, not least because of its asking price, which is more than any 7 Series, the 760Li aside.

The car exists because the American and Middle Eastern markets love the idea of a supercar-fast limo – standard and long-wheelbase models are both offered – but its hard to recommend simply because the UK isn’t big enough or empty enough to enjoy its massive performance.

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