BMW Alpina B7 Turbo: Germany's most powerful car

Jörg Künstle
BMW Alpina B7 Turbo in the driving report
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From zero to 180 in 17 seconds. Respect. In the next moment, the 200 mark falls without any sign of weakness from the engine compartment of the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé. On the contrary: The six-cylinder only now seems to feel absolutely comfortable - because it pushes away like a jet jet shortly before take-off and at the same time degrades all those to pitiful victims in road traffic who, due to lack of performance, fail due to aerodynamic drag at speeds of 250.

Germany's most powerful production car runs 270 km /h

The BMW Alpina B7 Turbo rolls with a crackling engine Coupé a little later in a parking lot. A good 20 more things would have been possible. But much more impressive than the maximum speed is the manner in which the car advances into these speed regions. This has nothing to do with conventional acceleration. Visually, however, you don't trust the vehicle to perform such a feat even at second glance. This finely drawn coupé with the gently sloping notchback is much more reminiscent of a family car than a racing car. A classic Gran Turismo, nothing more and nothing less.

Not even a spoiler and a set of wide tires on the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé can hide that. After all, the slightly offset double headlights look a little grim, and the BMW kidney grille, which is placed at an angle in the airstream, can be assumed to be aggressive. But an enforcer is definitely different. The fastest production car from Germany in the mid-80s appears under a cloak and can only be recognized as such by the manufacturer's lettering - Alpina.

The company in Buchloe, Bavaria, has only been using BMW models since 1964 the blessing from Munich massively increased in performance, initially with double carburetors, later with turbocharging, as in the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé. In order for the cars to stick to the road, the Allgäu team, under the direction of Burkhard Bovensiepen, is also optimizing the chassis. The numerous renovation measures ultimately resulted in the company operating as its own manufacturer of vehicle papers since 1983.

Six-cylinder with 330 hp and 512 Nm

The BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé is one of Alpina's first completely in-house developments. From 1978 to 1982 based on the BMW 630CS, from 1984 to 1988 on that of the 635 CSi. Its 3.5 liter engine produced 286 hp ex works - too little for a man like Bovensiepen, who is known as a fan of turbo and performance. With BMW's own turbo version in the 745 i, there was no need to come up with it either - “only” 252 hp. Not a serious value for a visionary. So at Alpina you'd better build the charger and intercooler yourself, a few sizes larger than the people in Munich had dared to do. But the engineers from Buchloe don't stop there.

A sharper camshaft (300 instead of 264 degrees opening angle), along with lighter pistons and revised combustion chambers, is a matter of course in these circles if you want to do serious engine tuning. In addition, a newly developed resonance intake system is intended to conceal the low-speed acceleration typical of engines with large turbochargers in the lower speed range. In other words: the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé simply had to be fast, right from the start.

The technical key data of the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé left no doubt that the right ones in Bovensiepen's technical department Ingredients used and perfectly arranged: 330 hp. In the mid-eighties, there was no more powerful series-production vehicle here in the country - and none in the world with a similar amount of torque in this class: 512 Newton meters at a relatively modest 3,000 revolutions per minute. In addition to marine diesel engines, a few seven-liter V8s from the USA could keep up.

Rare species - only 110 copies

Driving report: Your pulse rises automatically when someone pushes the key for this car into your hand. Now just don't mess up and hit the next wall. More than a total of 110 BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé have not been built. Preserving the already heavily shrunk population has the highest priority in the scene. So, first of all, take a seat on the fabric seats with the blue-green Alpina stripes. The seating position behind the typical BMW instrument panel made of high-quality plastic - perfect. The same goes for a sense of space and all-round visibility.

The headrests in the second row of seats are an extra for an extra 263.16 marks at the time. The air conditioning of the car, which was registered for the first time in April 1986, cost a further 4,342.11 marks, and an additional 236.84 marks had to be paid for the heated side mirror. A touch of luxury and convenience blows through Germany's formerly sharpest automotive weapon. The only obvious concession to the sport: in the center console of the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé, the left of the two ventilation openings had to provide space for an additional instrument developed by Alpina. There is a display for the charge and oil pressure as well as for the oil temperature in the engine and in the rear axle drive.

The - logically - most important detail for turbo fansis hidden between the two front seats: a wheel with which the boost pressure can be regulated, the key to happiness, so to speak. The BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé has a maximum of 1.8 bar. If the road is wet, it can certainly be less. But more on that later.

For connoisseurs and experts: the turbo trap

The blue-black car slowly rolls back to life after the driver change. Without bitching and - atypical for competitive athletes - without much noise. The five gears of the sports transmission (first stage on the bottom left) can be shifted up cleanly in our driving report, and just above idling speed there is already enough power available to mark the territory in the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé on country roads. This unusually quiet and well-known smooth-running six-cylinder would certainly do well in a family station wagon. The tuning measures carried out by Alpina have not changed anything.

Gradually there is momentum in the matter because the boiler is of course fully under pressure. The driver too, by the way. If he's not careful, the fun in the next corner is over again. The reader already suspects it - the turbo trap: first nothing comes, then everything.

Well, it's not that bad with the BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupé. Nevertheless, it is advisable to step on the gas again shortly before exiting the corner. In any case, you should have saved yourself on a straight stretch of road until the loader has built up pressure again after a short delay. And even then it should have happened to good drivers that they needed a taxi to get home because the car was parked in the ditch, rear first. Still - anyone with a drop of gasoline in their blood would finally want to know. How it is when a 1.5 ton vehicle is suddenly shot into orbit as if from a catapult and then flies over the asphalt with hardly imagined lightness. The answer: there is little that can keep up.


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