What you see here, looks like the BMW 7 Series, right? Well, it’s not. But it is. Ok, let me explain. This is the newly refreshed ALPINA B7 – a car based on the BMW 7 Series. Confused? Let me break it down: Alpina is a bavarian company – a manufacturer, not a tuner, that makes cars. It has worked closely with BMW – in fact its cars are essentially made on the same line, before going to the Alpina factory for finishing touches. They make their own engines, suspensions and interior appointments and wheels. But the 7 Series is the car. They have been doing this since the 1960s and before that they make typewriters – hence the gorgeous “typewriter key” wheels. ( I adore them) In fact, if you want to buy an Alpina B7, all you have to do is go to a BMW dealer that carries them – a few select US showrooms do, and lay down about 130 grand – and the car is yours. And it really works for BMW because they don’t offer a factory M model on the 7 so with the Alpina they have a more sporty vehicle to sell without all the development costs. I like them, because they are understated and subtle, and yet having seen a bunch around town, those wheels make me weak in the knees every time. Think of it as a 7 Series that is more rare, more exclusive and definitely more fun. To identify one, just look for those wheels, but don’t say to the owner, “nice BMW” – they’ll know you are no reader of the Vehiclist. Say. “Nice Alpina”, and they’ll know you are an astute and sophisticated connoisseur.