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First Look: 2011 Alpina B7

Marketing performance, exclusivity -- and BMW.

by on Nov.02, 2010

Alpina intends to be the "other" BMW performance brand with the new B7.

Sure, mileage matters, but there’s still a significant market for performance.  Just ask BMW, which can barely meet demand for its expanding line-up of M cars and crossovers.  If there’s a gap to fill, don’t worry.  That’s where Alpina, BMW’s “other” performance arm would like to step in.

Based in Buchloe, a small suburb of Munich, an hour from BMW headquarters, Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH doesn’t so much compete with the better known M, as to compliment the brand, explains its president, Andreas Bovensiepen.

“M is about raw power,” he suggests, ignoring a cold drizzle as he shows off Alpina’s latest product, a version of the BMW 7-Series.  “Alpina is about delivering a mix of performance, luxury and comfort.”

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That’s not to say performance takes the proverbial back seat.  The Alpina B7 Bi-Turbo makes some impressive numbers with its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, 500 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.

Unlike the M cars, Alpina opts for a customized automatic gearbox, and unlike its competitors, the customizer uses buttons on the steering wheel, rather than paddle shifters, to let a driver run through the gears manually.  In manual mode, those shifts occur in a Formula One-class 190 milliseconds.

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BMW’s “Other” Performance Brand

Alpina aims to balance performance and comfort.

by on May.12, 2010

A heavily modified 7-Series sedan, the 2010 BMW Alpina B7 makes 500 hp and launches from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds.

With models like the M3 and X6M, BMW has turned “M” into one of the favorite letters in the alphabet for those who crave the European interpretation of performance.  But for those who prefer a more sophisticated blend of muscles and manners, the Bavarian maker is offering an alternative.

Think of the BMW Alpina B7 as the perfect car for James Bond, suggests Andreas Bovensiepen, whose father created the brand nearly 50 years ago.

“Most of the time, you just enjoy the B7 for its luxury and comfort,” says Bovensiepen, a former race car driver who now runs Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH.  “But when you need it, there’s plenty of power.”

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To be more precise, 500 horsepower and 516 pound feet of torque can launch the 4652-pound B7 from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds and propel it to an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.

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