9 thoughts on the 2023 Alpina XB7 ultra-luxurious, ultra-powerful SUV

9 thoughts on the 2023 Alpina XB7 ultra-luxurious, ultra-powerful SUV

It’s only been a couple of years since we first got behind the wheel of the Alpina XB7, but the ultra-luxurious and performance-conscious SUV is already refreshed alongside the rest of the X7 lineup. There are a bunch of new styling elements, more power (duh) and some solid tech improvements. Now, I’m not saying that you should go out and toss the old XB7 in the garbage, but the changes are enough to give it a second look and see how the Alpina variant fits into the three-row performance SUV segment these days.

So, here are 9 thoughts on the Alpina XB7.

1. It makes sure you know it’s an Alpina

There’s no mistaking the XB7 for a regular X7 when it’s charging nose-first at you. The giant “ALPINA” spelled out in the lower bumper area makes sure of it. This area, and all the bumper bits around it, is one of the zones that Alpina fussed with for the refresh. Admittedly, there’s a lot going on down there with the splitter, various intake openings and massive sensor/radar array. Ultimately, it makes the XB7 look far more aggressive and outwardly sporty than it did before. That’s probably fine if you’re a fan of BMW’s recent styling ventures, because it’s all right up a similar alley.


Outside of that pointy nose, the signature-style forged Alpina wheels (23 inches in diameter for this application) look the business, and I just love the round-tipped quad exhaust in back – it’s a big improvement over the more squared-off tips on the X7 M60i.

2. That ride height in Sport Plus is hilariously low

Stick the XB7 into Sport Plus mode; wait for the air suspension to fully settle (1.6 inches lower than the standard ride height), then go look at what you’ve created. It looks like the hulking mass that is this three-row SUV is practically dragging on the ground. The wheel gap is more akin to a Porsche 911 at this ride height setting than an SUV, and it’s comical in a great way. Combined with the XB7’s enormous 325-section-width rears and 285-section-width fronts, this SUV has the appearance of a family-hauler turned track rat. You’ll have onlookers at cars and coffee asking if you really slammed an X7, and hilariously, you’ll need to raise the suspension back up for challenging driveways.

3. … and the corresponding ride and handling is another low point

Unfortunately, that ultra-low ride height only seems to be a boon for aesthetics, because suspension travel feels like it disappears when fully lowered, resulting in a flinty ride for such a big vehicle. That Sport Plus mode also puts the Alpina-specific dampers in their stiffest setting, and the change in suspension geometry results in greater negative camber than the standard ride height.

You’d expect this and all the other Alpina enhancements – stiffer bushings, reinforced torsion struts and unique dome-bulkhead struts – would all have a positive impact on handling performance. However, the XB7 is no match for the X7 M60i. It genuinely feels like an aftermarket tuner has gone to work on the suspension versus the M60i, but the end result is a stiffer and less predictable chassis that never quite feels sure of itself. An intrusive stability control system hops in when you feel like it shouldn’t, and overall, the XB7 just isn’t as put together as the all-BMW efforts of the X7. I had significantly more fun driving the M60i variant in anger last spring, so think of the XB7 as more luxury, less sport.

4. But the acceleration and power sure is fantastic

That said, the 630 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque don’t disappoint. Doled out to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and Alpina-tuned limited-slip differential (in the rear), the XB7 is an alarmingly quick SUV. While it’s tough to tell if the extra 18 horses from last year are really doing much, we can appreciate the extra power’s presence nonetheless. The 0-60 claim of 3.9 seconds feels plenty accurate, and the 180-mph top speed outruns any other X7 version.

Listening to the XB7 is lovely, too, as it breathes through a sport exhaust system made for the model. The sound is classy, which means you’ll know it’s coming, but it’s not going to set off any car alarms in the parking lot. If you prefer a sillier-sounding family hauler, both Cadillac and Dodge have you covered.