For sale: one of the coolest BMWs ever made

Alpina B12 BMW 7 Series

If the new BMW M Vision NEXT concept is a bit too Hunger Games for you, we feel your pain. Fortunately, one of the coolest BMWs ever made, an Alpina B12, could be yours instead. 

The B12 is the juiciest and rarest version of the Alpina-fettled E38 7 Series, one of the best-looking luxury saloons of all time. Only 50 were made in the long-wheelbase format.

Alpina B12 BMW 7 Series

Longer and sleeker than the already great-looking E39 BMW 5 Series, the E38 was also James Bond’s car of choice in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Why an Alpina, not a BMW?

Alpina B12 BMW 7 Series

For starters, it packs a mighty 5.7-litre V12 that’s not entirely unrelated to the one in the McLaren F1 hypercar.

With more than 380hp, it’ll get to 62mph in 6.5 seconds and top out at 174mph. That’s good performance at the ripe old age of 21.

What’s the Alpina B12 like?

Alpina B12 BMW 7 Series

Presented in Alpina Blue, this B12 carries all the tropes of an Alpina BMW. The decals, the alloy wheels, the exhausts: all are classic additions from the company’s playbook.

This is number 44 of the 50 made. It spent the first few years of its life in Germany before being exported to Japan.

It’s now done 50,637 miles and is completely original and rust-free, plus it comes with a healthy book of receipts. That’s not to say a brave pill won’t be required. This is a late-90s German luxury car, after all.

B12 BMW 7 Series

It’s due an MOT in August of this year, and both the front lower suspension ball joints will need their rubber seals done. However, as far as we know, that’s all it needs.

On the inside, it’s as you’d expect: wood, black leather, lots of buttons and a tiny screen by today’s standards. It looked quite impressive back in 1998, though.

I’m sold. How much is it?

At the time of writing, this B12 is teetering on the edge of £10,000. That’s a lot of car for the same price as a fairly aged Mk6 Golf GTI.

However, it will climb from there, given the auction still has five days to go. Similar cars recently made more than £40,000 in RM’s ‘Youngtimer’ sale.

New Alpina B7 xDrive – the 600hp BMW M7 we’ll never have

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

Based on BMW’s flagship 7 Series, the B7 is the latest super saloon from performance, style and racing wizards, Alpina. It’s also the closest thing to an M7 we’re likely to see.

M-onster power

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

Under the bonnet is a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with 600hp and 590lb ft of torque. For the uninitiated, those are M5 numbers and then some.

This sumptuous luxury saloon can reach 60mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds and, if you keep the pedal pressed, sail on to a top speed of 205mph. Super saloons don’t get much swifter.

Keeping all that performance under control is an epic braking system, comprised of four-piston front calipers pinching 394mm discs. At the rear, floating calipers work with 398mm discs.

The B7 is four-wheel drive (xDrive) only, while Alpina Sport Chassis settings drop the car by 15mm.

Bahnstormer style

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

BMW has had a grilling (ha ha) from commenters about the snout of the new 7 Series. Even Alpina couldn’t entirely distract us from that chrome muzzle, but it’s a good effort. Nothing says ‘understated performance’ like those classic multi-spoke wheels, now in 20- and 21-inch sizes.

Your best clue to this car’s latent potential is found at the back. Four distinctive exhaust tips, nicely integrated into the big 7’s bumper, mark it out as Alpina-fettled. A V8 howl comes as standard.

Cabin fever

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

One area the updated 7 is absolutely an improvement over the outgoing car is inside. Subtle updates include a digital dashboard, new steering wheel and different trim options. With a dusting of Alpina magic, expect some contrast stitching to go with your Nappa leather.

As ever, the Alpina touch is as subtle as it is sexy. Under the skin, though, lies a monster that could show up most M cars. Don’t like the new grille? Just as well, given you’ll only see the back of the B7 as it blasts past.

In the USA, expect $305 change from $143,000 after your $995 destination charge. As to whether the B7 will make its way to the UK, we await confirmation…

Super saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Super saloons: 10 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Super saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doorsSports cars and supercars are all well and good, but what if you fancy taking somebody along for the ride? Better still, what if you want to do it in full ‘gangsta’ mode? You need a stupidly quick saloon, which is why we’ve assembled 10 of the fastest four-doors you can buy today.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde: 191mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

It warms the cockles of your heart to see an Alfa Romeo listed in the upper echelons of the performance saloon world. The Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde offers proper giant-killing credentials, with 510hp on tap, a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 190mph. Yep, all that from a rear-wheel-drive Alfa costing £55,000. The Giulia QV: because the Italians say ‘no grazie’ to speed limiters.

Maserati Quattroporte GTS: 190mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

You could order a Maserati Quattroporte S for £81,670 and enjoy a top speed of 177mph. But for maximum Italian underworld effect, you really need the GTS. Its 3.8-litre V8 engine delivers 530hp, enough to provide a top speed of 190mph. Yours for a smidgen over £110,000.

Bentley Flying Spur W12: 199mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

The Bentley Flying Spur V8 S (pictured) offers a hefty 521hp and 502lb ft of torque to provide a top speed of 190mph. But why settle for ‘just’ 190mph when the Flying Spur W12 can deliver 616hp and 590lb ft of torque to provide a speed knocking on the door of 200mph. It’s all thanks to that mighty 6.0-litre W12 engine.

Cadillac CTS-V: 200mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

What does $83,995 (£64,684) buy you these days? How about the fastest and most powerful Cadillac in history? The CTS-V is powered by the beating heart of a Corvette Z06 – a 6.3-litre supercharged V8 engine with 640 horses galloping forward to top the magic 200mph. Track-focused yet road-legal… where do we sign?

Aston Martin Lagonda: 200mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Although aimed at the Middle East market, the Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf is available in the UK. If a Bentley is too ‘Premier League’ and a Rolls-Royce a bit too obvious, the Lagonda could be the saloon for you. Who needs a Rapide S when you can have a £685,000 Lagonda capable of 200mph?

Aston Martin Rapide S: 203mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Because the Rapide S will outpace you, that’s why. As you sit there, gracefully crossing the desert at a leisurely 200mph, don’t be surprised to see a Rapide S edge past you on its way to 203mph…

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat: 204mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Meanwhile, edging even further ahead is the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Forget all that graceful and luxurious nonsense, this American says ‘to Hellcat’ with all that, before taking a sledgehammer approach to performance. Dodge claims it’s the most powerful, quickest and fastest sedan ever built. And with 707hp on tap and a quarter-mile time of 11.0 seconds, who are we to disagree? All this for $64,990 – the equivalent of £50,000.

Alpina B5 Biturbo: 204mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

In Alpina’s world, speed limiters and the word ‘standard’ are for other people to worry about. We could have featured a number of Alpina-enhanced BMWs, but we’ve chosen to concentrate on two. This is the 600hp Alpina B5 Biturbo, which offers a top speed of 204mph…

Alpina B7 Biturbo: 205mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Meanwhile, this is the 608hp Alpina B7 Biturbo, which offers a top speed of 205mph. But anything Alpina can do, Brabus can do… differently.

Brabus 900 Maybach 600: 217mphSuper saloons: 30 of the world’s fastest four-doors

Spend a few moments browsing the Brabus catalogue and you’ll discover all number of bonkers creations. We’ve chosen to showcase just the one: the 900 Maybach 600, complete with a terrifying top speed of 217mph. Darers go first…

This is the closest thing you can buy a to a BMW M7

This is the closest thing you can buy to a BMW M7

This is the closest thing you can buy a to a BMW M7

If a garish performance version of the luxury BMW 7 Series appeals, you’re in luck. While BMW has yet to give into pressure to make an M7, Alpina has other ideas.

The B7 super saloon will make its debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show – but these official pictures of the American version have been revealed.

The biggest difference with the American version over the European car is the four-wheel-drive system. Ours will be rear-wheel drive, adding a few tenths to the claimed 3.6-second 0-62mph time of the US-spec B7.

This is the closest thing you can buy a to a BMW M7

That makes it 0.8 seconds quicker than its predecessor, while a 193mph top speed has been mooted. This impressive performance comes from a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 producing 608hp, with 494lb ft of torque available from just 2,000rpm.

A bespoke stainless steel exhaust system is fitted with active exhaust valves that can be opened or closed by the driver by switching the Driving Dynamic Control switch between Comfort and Sport mode.

This also tweaks the air suspension which, the firm says, “retains the exceptional long-distance cruising comfort of the predecessor while at the same time significantly sharpening the agility, handling and lateral dynamics.”

This is the closest thing you can buy a to a BMW M7

For the first time, the B7 will feature rear-wheel steering, while a Sport+ mode within the suspension settings decreases ride height by 20mm and increases front camber for even more direct turning. Have no doubt, this will be the best handling 7 Series yet.

In typical Alpina fashion, the external tweaks are minimal – lightweight 21-inch alloys look the business, while exclusive blue and green paint colours finish it off.

Inside, the B7 features Nappa leather, ceramic inserts on ‘selected control elements’ and soft-close doors. A full-colour head-up display and rear-view camera are both standard on the US model, but European specifications are yet to be confirmed.

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