2011 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive

Matt Tierney

If I didn't know that this wasn't a run-of-the-mill (if there is such a thing) BMW 7-series, I'd have realized it as soon as I opened the door of the Alpina B7 and saw the hard-to-miss back-lit blue Alpina B7 badging on the lower doorsill. Once inside, the cockpit of the Alpina looks much like other 7-series sedans, save for the steering wheel, which is adorned with a special badge in the center and is stitched with somewhat incongruous bright green thread.

Available in either long- or short-wheelbase forms and with rear- or all-wheel drive, the B7 is a car that, when performing normal, everyday driving tasks, behaves much like a regular 7-series. That's one of the things that makes it desirable. It's all the performance you could want with few if any sacrifices. The B7 is at its happiest when its being driven hard, but it'll never complain when all you want to do is fill up its trunk with groceries.

This is a very expensive car, and it's hard to believe that with a base price north of $125,000 you can still tack on more than $10,000 in extras. I mean, $150 for "smartphone integration"? Is it really too much to ask BMW to add some of those extras to the standard features list? Then again, I suppose that $150 is just chump change to the sorts of folks who will buy this car anyway. It may be out of reach for a vast portion of the world's population, but for the lucky few who can afford a B7, the exclusivity alone is probably worth it.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor

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