Published on July 29th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo, Bavarian Powerhouse
The BMW ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo, first introduced in 2009, has undergone a number of enhancements in 2013 to coincide with BMW‘s update of the 7 Series. Besides discreet design changes to the front and rear, it is the new and more dynamic ALPINA front spoiler, which is most noticeable. More significant though, especially for those in the driver‘s seat, are the substantial advancements with regards to the engine and transmission. More power, more performance and more efficiency!
The B7 Bi-Turbo now benefits from the newest ALPINA V8 Bi-Turbo engine generation with 540hp and 730Nm of torque. Power is transferred to the wheels via the new 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission with SWITCH-TRONIC, which in combination with the engine‘s Valvetronic intake technology is responsible for higher efficiency and lower emissions. The BMW ALPINA B7 Bi-Turbo remains the benchmark in terms of luxurious performance, chassis technology and hand-finished exclusivity.
For ALPINA, a technology driven company, standstill is a foreign word. Since the introduction of the renowned V8 Bi-Turbo power plant, the engineers from Buchloe, Germany, have been continuously working on the details of the turbo charging and intercooler system.
Consequently, the all-aluminium V8 power plant now produces 540hp (397kW) at a moderate 5200 to 6250rpm, with a maximum torque of 730Nm from 2800 to 5000rpm. Two turbo-chargers, each feeding one of the two cylinder banks, with specially developed large diameter exhaust-turbines allow this engine configuration to provide both exceptional power output and an abundance of torque over an especially broad rpm range while maintaining excellent throttle response at low rpm.
The comprehensive high-performance cooling system comprises an indirect inter-cooling system (air-to-water/water-to-air) with short intake tracts and increased inter-cooler flow. The systems excellent thermodynamic efficiency is guaranteed by a large-volume low-temperature inter-cooler radiator, two water-to-air inter-coolers placed close to the engine and additional separate motor oil and water coolers.
High-performance MAHLE pistons are designed specifically to deal with temperatures and pressures associated with up to 1.2 bar charging and the engine’s 10.0:1 nominal compression ratio. Altogether this results in an impressive specific output of 123hp (90kW) per litre and a mean total compression of 20.1 bar. Direct injection, VALVETRONIC and a new 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission with Automatic Start-Stop contribute to the new B7 Bi-Turbo’s class-leading consumption and emission figures: 9.9l/100km (28.5mpg) and 230g/km CO2 (Combined cycle, measured according to ECE Norm). The B7 Bi-Turbo delivers proof, that high levels of performance and favourable fuel economy are not necessarily a contradiction in terms.
Adapted and tested in co-operation with ZF, the new SWITCH-TRONIC 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission sets benchmarks. With ALPINA’s philosophy the guiding credo, engineers have spent thousands of development and test hours ensuring that no other performance automatic transmission comes close to providing this level of both comfort and performance.
The blend of eight speeds and plenty of torque makes for unparalleled comfortable gear changes with no noticeable interruption to the delivery of power – only the accompanying acoustics and the dynamic rev counter provide feedback as to the workings of the transmission. 730Nm of torque means the B7 Bi-Turbo excels at cruising along at speed in a high gear at minimum rpm, benefiting both consumption and comfort.
Using the Sport (S) Shift Mode a completely different character emerges: the transmission is crisp and unmistakably immediate. The innovative single-cylinder fade-out (known as ‘Einzelzylinderausblendung‘ in German) enables super quick up-shifts which take just milliseconds. Depending on the load on the transmission, the injection of fuel into a given cylinder is interrupted for a fraction of a second, creating the required reduction in torque that the automatic transmission needs for the up-shift. The advantages versus the typical method of timing retardation are noticeably quicker shifts, improved thermo-dynamic efficiency due to reduced exhaust temperatures and lower fuel consumption. Each up-shift is accompanied by a deep back-pressure burble.
The SWITCH-TRONIC buttons, for use in the Manual (M) Shift Mode, are ergonomically and unobtrusively positioned on the back of the steering wheel, and allow the driver to take complete control of the transmission. The system allows for multi-simultaneous down-shifts in milliseconds, hereby the transmission will skip several gears depending on engine loads and rpm. In this manner the 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission with ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC reveals itself as extremely multi-faceted, providing the right shift characteristic for any and all situations.
The Automatic Up-Shift function means that the transmission will up-shift into a higher gear once a certain rpm threshold has been passed in the current gear. In certain driving situations this may not be desired, for example during especially sporty driving or for example when encountering multiple tight hair-pin corners. The simultaneous selection of either Sport, Sport+ or DSC OFF Mode using the Drive Performance Control button and the selection of the M Shift Mode (transmission) will deactivate the automatic upshift function. The transmission will hold the selected gear up to maximum rpm’s (electronically limited) and will not automatically up-shift into a higher gear.
The intelligent coupling of state-of-the-art engine and transmission technologies give the B7 Bi-Turbo extraordinary performance figures: 0-100km/h in 4.6s (AWD 4.5s), and a top speed of 312km/h or 194mph (AWD 310km/h or 193mph).
Long gone are the days when a purely “hard and sporty” ride was a sought-after attribute of suspension set-ups. Neutral handling continues to be the intelligent way forward, yielding the best of what is technologically feasible.
The 21″ wheel and tyre combination enables the chassis to be sensitive to inputs and direct in its feel, yet free from the harshness of a purely sports-oriented suspension, imparting this luxury saloon with an agility usually only associated with much smaller sports saloons. This is in part also attributable to a reduced ride height of 7mm front and 5mm at the rear.
The light-weight 21″ wheels, with their new interpretation of the ALPINA CLASSIC wheel design, carry a specific MICHELIN tyre set-up: 245/35 ZR21 REINF E /A / 70 dB front and 285/30 ZR21 REINF E /A / 74 dB rear. Foregoing Run-Flat technology, conventional tyres are used to ensure a supple, comfortable finesse.
ALPINA have integrated state-of-the-art electronic suspension technologies, skilfully and subtly adjusting them to the demanding requirements of our customers. As part of the B7 Bi-Turbo standard equipment, the electronic suspension system with Variable Damper Control (electronically adjustable dampers) and Dynamic Drive (active roll stabilisation) enable the driver to select between suspension set-ups: Comfort+, Comfort and Sport. These are intentionally calibrated to provide distinctive set-ups, influencing the characteristic of the dampers, the active roll stabilisation as well as the parameters of the power steering assist, throttle response algorithms and load-reversal damping. The B7 Bi-Turbo offers unheard-of versatility, delivering on long-distance comfort just as readily as on back-road pace, always with a maximum of enjoyment and safety.
Seasoned drivers are not kept from pushing the B7 Bi-Turbo hard at the limit: the Sport+ mode automatically puts the traction control systems into Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), an extension of DSC. This allows noticeably more slip at the driven wheels and delayed intervention by the traction control system.
DESIGN & INTERIOR
At once dynamic, graceful and potent – the silhouette of the B7 Bi-Turbo is significantly influenced by the evolutionary design of the 21″ ALPINA CLASSIC wheels. A turbinelike three-dimensional curve guides each of the 20 spokes from the centre of the wheel to the rim, at which point they have a milled surface. Depending on the angle of the viewer, the rotational speed of the wheels and the light, the appearance of these classic wheels is constantly changing. Of course they continue to possess the refined tyre air valves, safely and attractively hidden away behind the lockable wheel covers.
In true “form-follows-function” fashion, the typical ALPINA front integrates the airflow requirements of the transmission and engine oil coolers, which are separated out of the main cooler module for improved performance.
The design of the front and rear spoiler follows clearly aerodynamically-oriented interests, reducing lift at the front and rear by 30% and 15% respectively. Left and right, the exhaust system’s two double tailpipes are seamlessly integrated into the rear valance and are witness to the B7 Bi-Turbo’s potency.
When taking seat in the B7 Bi-Turbo, one immediately takes note of the ALPINA door sill trims which are finely illuminated in blue. The SWITCH-TRONIC steering wheel is hand-stitched in the finest, most comfortable LAVALINA leather. In the driver’s line of sight, red pointers over a field of blue dials grace the instrument cluster, where a Black- Panel LCD screen is responsible for communicating driver-important information.
Exclusive interior luxury wood trim in the form of Myrtle Burl, a knotted burl of the Laurel only found on the Pacific Coast of the United States, provides a warm and traditional ambience. Optional ALPINA Piano Lacquer interior trim with its silver diagonal rhombs, offers a modern and just as exclusive alternative.
Discreet metal ALPINA emblems adorn the upper seatbacks of the standard leather comfort seats, as much a part of the comprehensive standard equipment as metallic paint or a navigation and communication system of the latest generation.
Even the engine bay carries a subtle signature by tidily presenting itself with a newly-designed ALPINA engine cover.