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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…

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo review (2014)

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo

  • The fastest diesel production car in the world
  • 350hp, 516lb ft of torque; 0-62mph 4.6 seconds AND 53.3mpg
  • Priced from £46,950 | On sale now Read more