A few weeks back, we got our first look at the updated 2020 BMW 7 Series, including the controversial new take on the classic BMW grille. At the time, BMW gave us some brief info on some of the models, from the 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid to the V12-powered 760i xDrive, with a few powertrain variants snuggled in between. At the time, there was no mention of a new 2020 Alpina B7, a high-performance variant of BMW's flagship sedan. Well, we didn't have to wait very long.
BMW and Alpina have an odd relationship. While not owned by BMW, many Alpina models — including the new B7 — are designed and built along the same assembly line as standard BMW models. Even more odd is that the B7 appears to compete directly with in-house models like the BMW M760i, even down to pricing. The 2020 B7 starts at $142,695 while the M760i starts slightly higher at $160,395.
While the latter makes do with four more cylinders, both sedans make 600 horsepower and hit 60 mph in times that would make most sports cars blush (3.5 seconds for the B7 and 3.6 for the M760i). Though the M760i makes more torque (627 pound-feet versus 590), the extra weight from the V12 likely slows the car down. The B7's 205 mph trumps the M760i, a car electronically limited to 155 mph. All that said, the cars do drive differently and seemed to be aimed at separate customers. Check out our reviews of the outgoing 2018 B7 and 2018 M760i right here.
The B7 is powered by a modified version of BMW's 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. Power is sent to all-four wheels through a ZF-designed 8-speed automatic transmission. Shift times have been improved, and the extra traction helps lower that 0 to 60 mph figure. The engine packs some upgrades over the 2019 model, including a slightly larger turbo impeller and revised intercoolers. Power and torque remain unchanged from the outgoing model, but the torque band has been widened. Peak torque is now available at 2,000 rpm, 1,000 rpm lower than before.
The B7 rides on air suspension and is combined with BMW's Dynamic Damper Control and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview to improve ride quality. Active Roll Stabilization helps mitigate body roll. The air suspension allows the ride height to be adjusted by 1.4 inches, lowering at high speeds to improve stability and raising at speeds below 20 mph to improve ground clearance. The non-runflat Michelin tires (255/40 ZR20 at the front and 295/35 ZR20 at the rear) should improve ride quality, too. The B7, of course, is fitted with Alpina Classic wheels. The front brakes carry over from the 2019 model, though the rear rotors are slightly larger than before. The B7's weighs 4,855 pounds, so the brakes and tires need to reflect that portly curb weight.
Visually, the 2020 B7 isn't that far removed from the current model. It does wear the standard 7 Series new grille and a new front bumper improves airflow over the car, reducing lift and improving high-speed stability. The iconic Alpina blue and green paint colors are still available and exclusive to the B7. The interior, too, is familiar 7 Series, though Alpina badges do replace most of the BMW roundels. It packs all the same tech as the updated 2020 model, including BMW iDrive, a heads-up display, a digital instrument cluster and a whole suite of driver assistance systems.