I’ve never been a big fan of Alpinas. These tuned and fettled BMWs have never succeeded in convincing me that the ‘standard’ cars weren’t a better bet. Given a choice between a B3 or an M3, I’d take the M3 every time.
But then Alpina started making diesels. I loved the D3 saloon which was a pumped-up, retuned version of the 320d. And now I’ve just driven a new biturbo D3 coupe, the latest addition to our fleet, and I have to report it’s even better.
In fact, I haven’t driven such a compelling car for ages. The D3 gets the twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine BMW currently only offers in the 1-series (and, slightly confusingly, badged as the 123d), which gives it electrifying performance. Add in Alpina’s proven chassis-tuning expertise, and a relatively subtle visual makeover, and you end up with a compellingly different performance diesel, combining 211bhp and a 52mpg combined economy figure.
Apparently Munich won’t be putting this engine into the 3-series until sometime next year. In the meantime Alpina deserves to nick plenty of sales from its donor company.