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Unread 06-29-2010, 08:20 PM   #1
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First Drive: 2011 BMW Alpina B7 breaks the luxo-barge mold

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, BMW, First Drive, Luxury

2011 BMW Alpina B7 - Click above for high-res image gallery

Alpina is as familiar to German enthusiasts as Shelby, Hurst, Saleen and Yenko are to American gearheads. And like its American counterparts, Alpina has made a business out of taking the best vehicles from one marque and making them substantially better than anything rolling off the assembly line.

The relationship between BMW and Alpina started in 1962 when a German enthusiast named Burkard Bovenseipen realized his BMW 1500 had plenty of untapped potential. Bovenseipen developed a dual carburetor kit for the 1500's four-cylinder, and as the carbs flew off the shelves, he realized there was a serious market for BMW-based performance parts. Mr. B formed ALPINA Burkard Bovenseipen KG in 1964 and in the decades since, the company has become known simply as Alpina.

But while the name has changed, its mission remains the same, and its line of upgrades have grown considerably since its inception. Bovenseipen's team continues to recognize the potential in almost every new BMW product, and the small but competent company, now managed by Bovenseipen's son Andreas (his staff calls him Andy), delivers better, less compromised, higher-performance versions of BMW production cars.

In Europe, Alpina offers variants of the 3 Series, 5 Series and 6 Series, dubbed the B3, B5, and B6, respectively. However, production constraints (and some concerns about M cannibalization, we're sure) prevents sales of these hotted-up Bimmers in the States. That's a crime, because the Alpina B7 - the only Alpina available in the U.S. - is easily the best 7 Series we've driven.

Gallery: First Drive: 2011 BMW Alpina B7

Photos by Rex Roy / Copyright (C)2010 Weblogs, Inc.Continue reading First Drive: 2011 BMW Alpina B7 breaks the luxo-barge mold

First Drive: 2011 BMW Alpina B7 breaks the luxo-barge mold originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Jun 2010 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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