ENGINE 2993cc l6, DOHC, 24v, twin turbo
POWER 340kW @ 5500-7000rpm
TORQUE 700Nm @ 2500-4500rpm
0-100KM/H 3.8sec (claimed)
WEIGHT 1785kg • PRICE $142,900
LIKE: Wicked performance; plush ride quality; entertaining dynamics
DISLIKE: Interior isn’t special for an Alpina; subdued soundtrack
JUST A TINY bugbear, a small annoyance – sometimes that’s all it takes to frustrate. In a world where many are blessed with an abundance of choice, every factor counts. In a market proliferated with luxury performance cars, crossing I’s and dotting T’s becomes critical.
Therefore I couldn’t help but exhale a sigh of relief when first sitting behind the leather-bound
steering wheel of the Alpina B3. The aluminium shift paddles are not only lovely to operate, but it also means that the dreaded shift buttons are gone. Yes, the beautifully CNC-milled items are a $502 option, but on a car with a base price of $142,900 it seems a small price to pay. For the first time, a seemingly small Alpina detail that used to be a B3 sore point can now be deleted.
It might come across as an overreaction. However, with so much performance on tap, the added interaction the paddles provide is key. While Alpina might project a USP pertaining to luxury and comfort, both of which are attributes the B3 retains, there’s now more reason than ever to find enticing roads off the highway. Big power, colossal torque and all-wheel-drive traction are now all part of the remit. Therefore, getting the finer details right that enhance driver involvement can only be a bonus.
Rest assured, while dynamics have taken a front seat, aesthetics haven’t been forgotten. And that’s good news for those still unable to stomach one of the most controversial grilles in BMW’s history. Given Alpina’s strong ties to the Bavarian giant, the B3 starts life as an M340i and not an M3, so it sidesteps the polarising face and gains an aggressive front bar which also aids cooling. Tradition is important at Buchloe, meaning an Alpina badge within the front splitter and pinstripe detailing is offered. The iconic ‘Alpina Classic’ 20-inch forged alloys will set you back an extra $4091. They’re worth it. The rolling stock, low front apron and a rear lip spoiler create luxe, sleeper vibes. Yet it’s still one for the keen-eyed aficionados.
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