The 2023 BMW Alpina XB7 Is a 180-MPH Hybrid SUV

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW
  • Performance giant Alpina joins forces with BMW to create a high-performance version of the 2023 X7 SUV, dubbed the BMW Alpina XB7.

  • Mild-hybrid technology joins a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 to create 630 hp while delivering a quarter-mile run of 12.4 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph.

  • Alpina-specific chassis upgrades and an exclusive woodgrain interior don't come cheap, with a price tag of $145,995 set for the xDrive-equipped luxury model.

Alpina will go down in history as one of the greats, filing in alongside privateering performance car manufacturers like RUF and Prodrive. From building typewriters to tuning track-ready BMW saloon cars, Alpina's history is rich with manufacturing prowess, and most of its cars stand alone in spite of the BMW-produced shells. BMW is tapping into this legacy and will team up with Alpina to produce a new variants of the latest X7 SUV. With an updated hybrid engine design and classic Alpina tuning, the 2023 BMW Alpina XB7 is set to be an SUV of uncompromising performance, at the price of $145,995.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

Using the new 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 S68 powerplant, BMW has applied a mild-hybrid technology in an effort to improve efficiency and further smooth power delivery. The result of this old-school forced-induction tuning and new-school electrification is 630 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. These momentous figures launch the 5936-pound SUV to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, eventually making its way to a top speed of 180 mph. Alpina has put its special touches on the engine management system and cooling system, specifically updating the intercooler and coolant delivery systems.

All that power is fed through BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system and 8-speed automatic transmission. A 48-volt starter-generator is integrated into the transmission, a feature BMW says helps reduce shift times and accelerate power delivery. Drivers can choose to manually shift through the gears using steering-wheel-mounted buttons in addition to tuning the transmission's responsiveness using the car's drive modes. An electronically variable limited-slip differential is mounted at the rear axle and adjusts second by second depending on wheel speed, friction coefficients, and steering angle.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

Dynamics are of the utmost importance—this is an Alpina after all—and the suspension tuning has been set accordingly. In line with other luxury competitors, air suspension is in use on the XB7 with Alpina model-specific dampers, with an adjustable ride-height differential of 1.6 inches. Slow-speed obstacles require the suspension to sit high while high-speed driving automatically lowers the car, sitting 0.8 inches lower over 100 mph and 1.6 inches lower in SPORT+ mode or above 155 mph. Dome-bulkhead struts and reinforced torsion struts adorn the XB7 in an effort to increase body rigidity while electronically adjusting anti-roll bars and stiffened rear axle bushings to reduce body roll.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

Rear-wheel steering has become increasingly popular on high-end performance cars, and for good reason. Not only does it aid in slow speed agility—a challenge for big SUVs like the XB7—but it helps reduce steering effort during spirited driving. The XB7's rear wheels pivot up to 2.3° left or right. This complements the two different wheel sets offered: a pair of 21-inch rims with all-season tires or 23-inch forged-alloy 20-spoke jobs with model-developed performance summer tires measuring 285/35 at the front and 325/35 rear. Brembo provides four-piston calipers and 15-inch disc braking hardware on all four corners.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

Because the X7 is already a flagship model for BMW, the XB7 comes fully loaded with a host of technology. The iDrive 8 operating system is standard along with BMW's Active Driving Assistant Plus, which features active cruise control, forward collision warning, and an autonomous parking assistant. True to previous Alpinas, the company's emblem can be found in place of the BMW roundel on the steering wheel in addition to Alpina-specific Piano lacquer or Natural Walnut Anthracite woodgrain interiors.

Orders for the $145,995 SUV will open shortly, and the company expects its first deliveries to occur in the early months of 2023. While the joining of BMW and Alpina isn't uncommon, a 7-seat performance SUV by Alpina is certainly a departure from the company's history. Even so, the vehicle is true to Alpina's roots, maximizing performance in a tasteful but expensive package. Competing with electrified models like Tesla Model X Plaid and segment classics like the Range Rover, leaning on Alpina heritage could pay off for BMW in the long run.