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Auto review: Aerodynamic lettering? Yeah, BMW's super luxury Alpina XB7 SUV has that

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

BMW’s biggest — and arguably most luxurious — vehicle got bigger and more expensive for 2021, and the BMW Alpina XB7 took off like a cryptocurrency food truck in Venmo's parking lot.

If there was any doubt the end of the SUV boom is nowhere in sight, ask the dot-com mogul or hedge fund manager standing in line when 2020 production sold out before production began, at a base price of $141,300.

Fortunately, for myriad reasons that go far beyond SUV availability, 2021 is a new year.

As with superheroes, luxury brands’ origin stories can be the most important thing about the product. A connoisseur buys Mezcal from a particular village because of intricacies of agave strains, the family tending them and the traditions that attend production.

The same is true of top-shelf luxury vehicles. Statistical superiority is nice, but cold numbers alone don’t trump a family story.

As with every Alpina since 1965, the XB7 combines exceptional materials and design with engineering and performance upgrades — crafted under the watchful eyes of company founder Burkard Bovensiepen and his sons Andreas and Florian.

 

Assembled in BMW’s Spartanburg, S.C., assembly plant and finished on site in an Alpina workshop, the XB7 turns BMW’s X7 seven-seat SUV up to an 11: 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, 180 mph top speed, unique interior touches including warm red myrtle wood, laser-etched crystal shifter and iDrive rotary controller; and 23-inch custom forged alloy wheels and bespoke run-flat tires.

Would you like a private jet with that?

The XB7 doesn’t compete with other SUVs as much as with a marble-topped wet bar for its owner’s G5, but a few other brands also are testing the limits of SUV luxury.

At that altitude, 2021 XB7’s $141,300 base price is unremarkable, in fact $400 lower than Alpina’s B7 xDrive sedan, which qualifies as the brand’s most expensive U.S. model, at least for the moment. Other apex SUVs include the $176,900 Aston Martin DBX, $160,000 Bentley Bentayga, $144,000 Range Rover Autobiography, $218,000 Lamborghini Urus and $132,000 Mercedes GLS 63 AMG.

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