To truly appreciate the new Alpina B3 Biturbo, it’s necessary to distinguish it carefully from BMW’s own extraordinarily gifted 3 Series line-up – hence the substantially higher list price.
It looks expensive if you don't compare it to the M3 to measure up to, especially given that a new 340i or 330d can be had for just over £40k. However, on the road, neither could be considered a match for the B3.
Extend that line of thinking out to take in the rest of the B3’s rivals and it’s a similar story. An Audi RS4 Avant is in the ballpark but is similarly deficient on torque and not nearly as comfortable.
A Mercedes-AMG C 63 finally outmuscles the B3, as does the defunct Jaguar XFR, but because one has the displacement of an oil drum and the other a supercharger, they chew huge amounts of fuel, while Alpina quotes a deeply impressive 37.2mpg combined. On our touring run we clocked 35.4mpg – some 11mpg better than the Mercedes managed over the same distance.
Underpinning that figure, and trumping everything in sight, is a remarkably low CO2 figure. Emissions may be lower down the buying criteria at this level, but delivering 177g/km means low VED costs. It also renders the B3 a palatable company car option.