From £51,3509

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

There’s little that’s particularly special about the Alpina B3’s cabin, or that lifts it very far above the baseline level of a well equipped 3 Series in terms of richness or style. That, however, isn’t a big criticism, given how much there is to like about the current 3 Series cockpit anyway. There’s space, solid material quality and the usual smart BMW business-suit ambience to enjoy.

The front sports seats offer excellent support and comfort, of the sort that makes miles on the motorway simply melt away. But there isn’t a great deal of added performance flavour of the kind you’d expect in a Mercedes-AMG or an Audi RS.

The Alpina B3 comes with an admirable amount of kit as standard

Alpina gives you adaptive suspension, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio, a quad-exhaust Akrapovic exhaust system, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, heated front sports seats, leather upholstery, and BMW's iDrive infotainment system complete with sat nav, Bluetooth and USB connectivity as standard.

It may seem slightly tight-fisted, but the company’s strategy is not to inflate list prices with what some would consider extraneous technology, knowing that you can add things such as the Harman Kardon sound system, an in-car TV or a head-up display if you want to.

And, for the most part, it’s a philosophy of which we approve, provided it keeps the basic price of the car low enough to make it look attractive next to an M division equivalent.

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You can, after all, choose from five different leather colours and four different cabin veneers in this car, and then from various stitching and finisher themes on the top.