To a large extent, visually at least, you know what you’re going to get with an Alpina: multi-spoke alloy wheels with threateningly low-profile rubber and subtle, often angular body additions.
A couple of our testers thought the styling a touch fussy around the front of the latest 3 Series and others – the majority – that it was right in keeping with Alpina’s heritage. Either way, those who know about Alpina will know this is an Alpina. Ditto with those 20-inch alloys, which are covered in, perhaps crucially, rubber that isn’t of the runflat variety.
The tyres are the most outwardly apparent elements of a thorough overhaul of the 3 Series’ dynamic make-up. The suspension is, of course, based on the latest F30-series 340i with adaptive dampers, but the B3 wears bespoke Eibach springs that are 45 percent stiffer and has its own bump stops and Alpina-specific anti-roll bars (albeit sourced from BMW).
There is more negative camber, while the front subframe, with a strut brace, has been redesigned, partly to increase body rigidity and partly by necessity, because the B3 gets a twin-turbocharged, rather than single-turbo, variant of BMW’s 335i engine that headed the range at launch.
Alpina says this is because its two smaller turbochargers take less time to spool than even BMW’s twin-scroll turbo. A twin-scroll inlet for a single turbocharger negates some of the lag associated with a large turbo, which is why BMW adopted it for its N55 six-cylinder engine. With such a turbocharger, incoming exhaust gases are separated into two scrolls (the curved pipes that circumnavigate the turbo housing and direct exhaust gases towards the turbine).