First presented in Euro-trim last fall at Frankfurt, an Ameri-spec version of the new 2011 BMW Alpina B7 sedan will make its U.S. debut in Chicago. Billed by BMW as "the most dynamic 7 Series model," it's due to appear at dealers across the country later this spring, in both standard and long-wheelbase configurations. Although Alpina remains a separate operation, the highly-regarded German tuning firm has long and deep ties with the BMW factory. And like the first-generation Alpina B7 sold here in 2007-2008, this latest exercise in understated high-performance will come with a full factory warranty.

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At its heart, the Alpina B7 packs a modified version of BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter direct-injected V8. The Alpina tweaks kick its horsepower from 400 to 500 and raise maximum torque from 450 to 516 lb.-ft., which peaks and plateaus from 3,000-4,750 rpm. Backed with a six-speed automatic that features lightning-quick, Alpina Switch-Tronic Control activated by steering-wheel shifter buttons, the B7 can blitz from 0-60 mph in a claimed 4.5 seconds. Story continues beneath the video.

Visually, the BMW Alpina B7 displays a purposeful presence the raises its profile in subtle but eminently functional ways. A more aggressively contoured front fascia adds individual intakes for the B7's engine and transmission oil coolers and a splitter that helps trim high-speed lift by 35 percent. Out back, a well-integrated decklid spoiler drops rear lift by 15 percent and complements the dual-paired exhaust outlets that are neatly integrated into the B7's diffuser. Inside, the same kind of tasteful restraint rules in the form of Alpina blue illuminated door sill trims, Alpina branded Black-Panel LCD instrument cluster and a hand-stitched Lavalina leather trim on the steering wheel.

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To ensure the B7 can take full advantage of its formidable firepower, Alpina's handling wizards revamped the already state-of-the-art adaptive suspension in the 7 Series to full enthusiast-grade settings that opens with recalibrated spring rates that add tautness and contribute to a lower ride height. The Dynamic Damping Control and Active Roll Stabilization offers three distinct modes (Comfort/Normal/Sport) plus the Sport-Plus setting that automatically kicks the Dynamic Stability Control system into Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) to permit a good deal more wheelspin before engaging the traction control. The finishing touch on this bad-boy BMW sedan is a set of 21-inch light alloy wheels. Offering the latest take on Alpina's classic 20-spoke configuration, they mount staggered-width Michelin PS2 performance tires with 245/35 rubber up front matching 285/30 skins in the rear.

Pricing for the 2011 BMW Alpina B7 will start at $122,875 for the standard-wheelbase model and $126,775 for the LWB variant. Although both will be available the full range of existing 7 Series colors, don't be surprised if most turn up wearing signature Alpina Blue.


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