New Alpina B3 debuts and no, you still can't have it
Tuned by the speed freaks at Alpina, this 3 Series sedan hits like a sledgehammer.
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
The performance fanatics at Alpina just unveiled their latest creation at this week's Tokyo Motor Show. Following closely in the tire tracks of its last reveal, this BMW-focused manufacturing outfit introduced the new B3, essentially a
sedan with loads of go-fast goodies and luxury embellishments.
Last month, Alpina took the covers off its equally fresh-faced B3 Touring model at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. The introduction of a four-door version of this car was pretty much a given, but that doesn't diminish the coolness in any way.
Outrunning its station-wagon sibling, the B3 can blitz from a standstill to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 3.8 seconds, a tenth quicker than the Touring model. The blast to 200 kph (124 mph) takes a mere 13.4, that's half a second less than the wagon. Terminal velocity is 188 mph.
Delivering that performance is a specially tuned version of
latest and greatest inline-six-cylinder engine, the same one found between the B3 Touring's front fenders. A refresher, it displaces 3.0 liters and features a biturbo induction design. Output clocks in at an impressive 462 horsepower. Torque peaks at a whopping 516 pound-feet, which should be fully available from 3,000 rpm onward.
Alpina's sultry B3 sedan out-muscles the previous-generation BMW M3
It will be interesting to see how this output compares to the next-generation BMW M3. It's handily more than the current M340i sedan offers, which delivers 383 hp with 369 lb-ft of twist. This Alpina also outmuscles the last
BMW offered, which cranked out 425 horses with 406 lb-ft of torque.
Extracting more giddy-up from this powerplant, engineers made a few changes, though nothing too extreme. They optimized airflow through its turbine housings, reworked the intake plumbing and fitted an Alpina-specific cooling system to keep temps in check during high-speed Autobahn blasts.
A sport-tuned and driver-adjustable exhaust system ensures this car can exhale without restriction while sounding throaty at the same time. Reducing harmful emissions, a gasoline particulate filter has been fitted to meet EU requirements.
An Alpina-optimized xDrive all-wheel-drive system gets torque to the pavement without any unnecessary drama. A specially tuned eight-speed automatic transmission makes the most of available engine output while maximizing efficiency.
But there's more to a great performance car than just an overpowered engine. To that end, Alpina has fitted the B3 with a range of chassis enhancements: The suspension has been retuned and stiffer antiroll bars added; there are adjustable dampers for greater comfort or heightened responsiveness; and there's a variable steering system.
Bringing this car to a safe, secure stop are high-performance brakes. Up front, 15.6-inch rotors are fitted, clamped by four-piston, fixed calipers. The rear binders are slightly reduced in diameter and capability. All the calipers are finished in Alpina blue and emblazoned with the company's logo.
If all that isn't enough, a high-performance braking system is optional. This setup includes cross-drilled rotors and more heat-resistant pads.
Giving it a fresh look, the B3 has been dressed up with a new fascia. The front air intakes have been optimized for better cooling and the overall aerodynamics have been refined both front and rear for greater stability and reduced lift at speed. Alpina-specific wheels spanning either 19 or 20 inches are offered.
Yes, Alpina's signature blue-metallic paint is available on this car, ditto for its famous metallic-green hue. Beyond these options, a wide variety of BMW finishes and custom paint colors are on the menu.
Similar changes were made to the inside of this car. Its cabin is dressed up with hand-stitched Lavalina leather. (This work is done in-house by Alpina's own leather department, not farmed out to a supplier.) There are also special door sills as well as metallic logos on the floor mats and seat backs, all prominently adorned with the Alpina sigil. There's also a meaty-looking and heated Alpina sports steering wheel. Making sure customers feel extra special, each car is fitted with a placard featuring their vehicle's unique production number.
There's certainly much to like about the new Alpina B3 sedan, from its upgraded powertrain and subtle exterior enhancements, to the hand-stitched leather and meaty brakes. But one thing you probably won't like is availability. For European customers, the Alpina B3 order books should open next year, but if you live on the west side of the Atlantic don't get your hopes up. Just like the B3 Touring, it's unlikely this car will be sold in the US.
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