Alpina, the independent German automaker that specialses in developing high performance vehicles based on BMW models, has has entered the full-size SUV segment for the first time with the new BMW Alpina XB7. Based on BMW’s flagship X7 SUV, the XB7 joins the B7 saloon in Alpina’s US market lineup.

The XB7 is powered by Munich’s familiar 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, with output increased to 612 horsepower and 800Nm of torque. That constitutes a substantial increase in output compared to the stock engine’s 523 horsepower and 750Nm of torque in the M50i. Alpina quotes performance figures of 4.0 seconds from 0-60mph (0-97kph) 12.6 seconds to a quarter mile, and a top speed of 290kph.

Photo: Supplied

The same eight-speed automatic gearbox in the X7 does transmission duties, but upgrades have been made to cope with the extra torque, and to execute shifts quicker. A limited-slip differential at the rear axle helps aid handling dynamics by improving traction.

The air-suspension system of the X7 has also been worked on extensively by tweaking the dampers, anti-roll bars, rear bushings, and strut reinforcements for enhanced body rigidity. Based on what the driving situation demands, the suspension of the XB7 can be raised or lowered by up to 1.6 inches.

Photo: Supplied

The stainless-steel Alpina sport exhaust system apparently makes the XB7’s V8 note significantly deeper than that of the regular X7. Active exhaust system flaps allow the driver to influence the sound depending on the drive mode chosen.

The Alpina BX7 rides on specially-developed 21-inch wheels as standard with 23-inch forged-alloy wheels in a 20-spoke design and finished in Anthracite available as an option. The SUV gets four-piston fixed brake callipers from Brembo on the front axle and floating brake calipers on the rear axle. The callipers are finished in signature Alpina Blue and feature a logo of the brand.

 There are several Alpina touches given to the interior too, including blue illuminated gear selector switch, Alpina production plaque, illuminated Alpina door sills and sport steering wheel hand-finished in Lavalina leather featuring Blue/Green stitching.