From £48,0008
The diesel fist delivers its mighty punch while wrapped in an Alpina-lined silk glove
8 July 2020

What is it?

The headline stat is 538lb ft at 1750rpm. There’s also 350bhp at 4000rpm, but it’s the torque that moulds the brawny character of the new D3 S, endowing it with the sort of low- to-mid-range punch that proves performance-based diesels really do have some life left in them.

The latest hot diesel-powered Alpina is based on the already potent BMW M340d xDrive. Like the four wheel-drive donor car, it comes in saloon and Touring bodystyles – the latter of which we drove briefly on the Bilster Berg club circuit in Germany.

As is Alpina’s way, the styling changes are subtle. The D3 S gets a front bumper extension, the firm’s signature turbine wheels and a reworked rear bumper valance that houses four round chromed tailpipes. It’s not much, but it’s enough to visually differentiate it from the more aggressively styled M340d. Even at a quick glance, you know it’s an Alpina.

The same is true inside, with its reworked digital instruments, revised steering wheel, new-look trim, reupholstered front seats and a badge within the centre console that indicates this is one of just 2000 or so Alpinas assembled each year.

It’s under the bonnet, though, where the most significant changes lie. The D3 S runs an upgraded version of BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel with a 48V starter-generator. Its 350bhp and 538lb ft outputs are 15bhp and 22lb ft more than the M340d’s, mostly through the adoption of a new exhaust system.

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What's it like?

The engine sounds relatively quiet within the cabin at start-up and it’s remarkably smooth at idle. There is some diesel chatter as you move off but the sound of the reworked six-cylinder is never overly intrusive.

There is a fleeting moment of turbo lag as the D3 S fully gets into its stride, but once you’ve tapped into that huge plateau of torque, it proves wonderfully determined.

There’s great flexibility to the delivery on a light throttle, making it truly relaxed when you’re just tooling around. However, it’s the rich seam of urge as you dip further into its reserves that appeals the most. The official 0-62mph time of 4.8sec doesn’t adequately describe the extraordinary performance this car can muster in lower gears, although a top speed of 168mph is a good indication of its potential.

We’ve only driven the new Alpina on a circuit, but it’s easy to see how its torque-infused hustle would make for spectacularly effortless touring. The diesel engine doesn’t have the emotional appeal of a well-sorted petrol unit and offers little above 5000rpm. But what it lacks in its ability to rev, it more than makes up for in its muscular mid-range. You can shift up manually at 3000rpm and encounter a rabid acceleration as the full load of torque is unleashed.

The ZF-produced eight-speed automatic gearbox, featuring a beefed-up torque converter among other changes, does a great job of transferring the drive. Its operation alters from smooth and suave in Comfort mode to fittingly resolute and abrupt in Sport. Traction is never in doubt, either: a reworking of the M340d xDrive’s four-wheel drive system imbues the D3 S with an outstanding ability to place the power and torque to the road.

Dynamically, there’s also much to like here. You’re aware there is a heavy engine sitting up front but the adoption of new springs and dampers as well as revised anti-roll bars and specially developed Pirelli P Zero tyres bring greater fluidity and body control than you’ll find in the M340d.

Grip levels are always high and the new Alpina model is predictable at the limit. It remains nicely neutral during all cornering, with oversteer only really evident after a good deal of throttle provocation.

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Should I buy one?

If you’re after a performance diesel, the D3 S is well worth a look.

It doesn’t possess quite the same responsive change of direction as its B3 petrol sibling, but you get outstanding in-gear performance and excellent refinement. Its economy and range also promise to be quite exemplary, making it the perfect everyday car for just about any driving conditions. Be aware, though, that its CO2 emissions of 199g/km are 40g/km more than the M340d on the WLTP cycle.

Alpina D3 S Touring specification

Where Germany Price £55,950 On sale September Engine 6-cyl, 2993cc, turbocharged diesel Power 350bhp at 4000-4200rpm Torque 538lb ft at 1750-2750rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 2010kg Top speed 168mph 0-62mph 4.8sec Fuel economy 37.2mpg CO2 199g/km Rivals BMW M340d Touring

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Comments
13

8 July 2020
Straight up.
Yesterday we decided we'd get a dog. Today we've found the perfect car!

8 July 2020

they stopped producing diesel cars

they reintroduced V8 into GTS

8 July 2020

The proverbial elephant in the room for this car is the standard M340i. It is quicker to 62 (4.4 seconds as opposed to 4.8 seconds) and more economical (40.4mpg as opposed to 37.2mpg) and if the car is being bought as a company car the D3 is ruinously expensive. Finally there is the price, the Alpina will cost at least £7000 more even before options. It is high time BMW (and Alpina) stopped producing filthy diesels (before the ignoramus that is typos1 chimes in) EU6 diesels are still very dirty in the real world as opposed to lab tests and regardless of any laboratory test the public still sees them as filthy dirty things. The tax regime agrees and punishes diesels accordingly. The argument has been lost by diesel both financially and in the buying public's habits. 

8 July 2020
spqr wrote:

The proverbial elephant in the room for this car is the standard M340i. It is quicker to 62 (4.4 seconds as opposed to 4.8 seconds) and more economical (40.4mpg as opposed to 37.2mpg) and if the car is being bought as a company car the D3 is ruinously expensive. Finally there is the price, the Alpina will cost at least £7000 more even before options. It is high time BMW (and Alpina) stopped producing filthy diesels (before the ignoramus that is typos1 chimes in) EU6 diesels are still very dirty in the real world as opposed to lab tests and regardless of any laboratory test the public still sees them as filthy dirty things. The tax regime agrees and punishes diesels accordingly. The argument has been lost by diesel both financially and in the buying public's habits. 

 

Are Euro6 diesels really very dirty, compared to petrol? Where is your evidence for this?

8 July 2020

Personally speaking, I think the Alpina is easily worth the £7k over a 340d. It's not just about componentry but calibration. You pay for talented engineers who have driven thousands of miles and got the set up just right... that is what you pay for with a Porsche as well, which makes comparisons based on stats or an equipment count somewhat hollow. I appreciate that most buyers these days would rather have big wheels rather than adaptive dampers (can't see them, innit?) but that's just the world we live in.

8 July 2020
scrap wrote:

spqr wrote:

The proverbial elephant in the room for this car is the standard M340i. It is quicker to 62 (4.4 seconds as opposed to 4.8 seconds) and more economical (40.4mpg as opposed to 37.2mpg) and if the car is being bought as a company car the D3 is ruinously expensive. Finally there is the price, the Alpina will cost at least £7000 more even before options. It is high time BMW (and Alpina) stopped producing filthy diesels (before the ignoramus that is typos1 chimes in) EU6 diesels are still very dirty in the real world as opposed to lab tests and regardless of any laboratory test the public still sees them as filthy dirty things. The tax regime agrees and punishes diesels accordingly. The argument has been lost by diesel both financially and in the buying public's habits. 

 

Are Euro6 diesels really very dirty, compared to petrol? Where is your evidence for this?

There is none, hes taking out of his arse (which he does very well, admittedly), basically he doesnt like diesel so he ll say any old crap about them no matter whether its true or not.

 

The only valid point he does make about the D3's emissions is that theyre crap compared to the regular 340d, quite how the hell Alpina can take a 340d and give it only very slightly more power and yet up its CO2 emissions by such a huge amount whilst at the same time reducing its economy by such a large amount I dont know.

9 July 2020
typos1 wrote:

scrap wrote:

spqr wrote:

The proverbial elephant in the room for this car is the standard M340i. It is quicker to 62 (4.4 seconds as opposed to 4.8 seconds) and more economical (40.4mpg as opposed to 37.2mpg) and if the car is being bought as a company car the D3 is ruinously expensive. Finally there is the price, the Alpina will cost at least £7000 more even before options. It is high time BMW (and Alpina) stopped producing filthy diesels (before the ignoramus that is typos1 chimes in) EU6 diesels are still very dirty in the real world as opposed to lab tests and regardless of any laboratory test the public still sees them as filthy dirty things. The tax regime agrees and punishes diesels accordingly. The argument has been lost by diesel both financially and in the buying public's habits. 

 

Are Euro6 diesels really very dirty, compared to petrol? Where is your evidence for this?

There is none, hes taking out of his arse (which he does very well, admittedly), basically he doesnt like diesel so he ll say any old crap about them no matter whether its true or not.

 

The only valid point he does make about the D3's emissions is that theyre crap compared to the regular 340d, quite how the hell Alpina can take a 340d and give it only very slightly more power and yet up its CO2 emissions by such a huge amount whilst at the same time reducing its economy by such a large amount I dont know.

Evidence - read the WHO report on diesel fumes, as deadly as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas - their words not mine

8 July 2020
spqr wrote:

The proverbial elephant in the room for this car is the standard M340i. It is quicker to 62 (4.4 seconds as opposed to 4.8 seconds) and more economical (40.4mpg as opposed to 37.2mpg) and if the car is being bought as a company car the D3 is ruinously expensive. Finally there is the price, the Alpina will cost at least £7000 more even before options. It is high time BMW (and Alpina) stopped producing filthy diesels (before the ignoramus that is typos1 chimes in) EU6 diesels are still very dirty in the real world as opposed to lab tests and regardless of any laboratory test the public still sees them as filthy dirty things. The tax regime agrees and punishes diesels accordingly. The argument has been lost by diesel both financially and in the buying public's habits. 

Except the 340i isnt more economical or better for CO2, data you and autacar are using is wrong!

8 July 2020

It's weird there isntt any BMW M340d test/review online. Do you know why? People allready get their cars.

8 July 2020

I hate diesel cars! Just thought I would put it out there.

That's despite driving and owning many over the years, including a BMW 330d touring and a Jaguar XFS, which are surely two of the best. They are bus and lorry engines with poor bottom end throttle response, restricted power range and unwelcome noises, for a luxury car.

This one is not even very economical, the only reason for buying a diesel in the first place. Give me a petrol Alpina B3 touring and I may be more enthused, but not over this. 

The quad exhausts and the diffuser are an improvement over the BMW version though. 

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