Alpina D3 Touring Review
When looking for a fast but understated bahn-stormer many will instantly thing of the likes of Audi’s RS4 or RS6 Avant, Mercedes C or E63, BMW M5 Touring, or more recent Jaguar XF-R Sportbrake. But what if you want to go fast, in something special, but dont want to be simply feeding £50 notes directly into your fuel tank?
This is precisely where the wizards at ALPINA step in. Already well known for their B petrol projects, ALPINA saw a gap in the market for a performance diesel BMW and filled it rather nicely with their D range now offering a performance diesel across most of the BMW range which the likes of Mercedes and Audi do not have a response.
So¦What is a D3 Touring? Well, it starts at BMW as a 330d Touring which is then sent to ALPINA for interior upgrades, exterior aerodynamic upgrades and styling improvements and perhaps most importantly a little fettling of the 330d power plant.
Built on a rather solid foundation in the 330d, producing a factory standard 258hp taking the Touring from 0-62 in a rapid 5.6s, you know there are good things to come. Stripping out the standard turbo and replacing it with a pair of Garrats and making other enhancements increases this nicely to 350hp with a whopping 516ft lbs of torque. This means, when using launch control, the £650 stopwatch (sorry ALPINA Digital Display) you can add, will inform you that you are now going from 0-62 in a notably more rapid 4.6s.
Our more well-informed readers may highlight that the 335d x-Drive will do 0-62 in 4.9s with a power output, not far shy of the D3, at 313hp, and question why ALPINA do not use the 335d x-Drive for the D3? and they would be right to do so! Well, in we are informed ALPINA do, but not for the UK market. Homologation is blamed for this and due to the rather narrow market for ALPINA in the UK it doesnt look like this will change any time soon. Unofficial conversations indicate in around 3 years time this may change when this life-cycle comes to an end.
Clearly, ALPINA have sorted out the performance side of things whilst still returning diesel fuel economy. So, what of the handling? Well, with the all the power being fed to the wide rear wheels it is nicely under control. The optional Limited Slip Differential, also fitted to this vehicle, helps keep all this power nicely in check in all conditions. At motorway speeds it feels comfortable and refined. There is no escaping the fact the tyres are very low profile resulting in a less supple ride, however the suspension handles things nicely and is certainly doesnt feel crashy or unruly. On twisty back roads this composure is retained whilst giving the driver the necessary feedback meaning it handles rather well.
On the aesthetic and aerodynamic side of things ALPINA has done rather a good job of this too. Their iconic multi-spoke alloy wheels fill the arches nicely and the aerodynamic body styling which reduces lift by around 40% looks the part too. Overall the D3 Touring looks the part earning a knowing nod from aficionados, a curious enquiry from those that like their cars and being largely ignored by everyone else.Inside the ALPINA D3 there are a little less subtle elements with the ALPINA roundel set into the facia of the front seats, the floor mats and optional logo on the dash, the iconic dual coloured stitching on the steering wheel, and sumptuous leather throughout which oozes quality making almost every surface (such as the optional leather dash) one you want to touch.
Specification wise the ALPINA retains the BMW standard with technology options mirroring that of a standard 330d along with ALPINAs plethora of upgrades.
The D3 is inconspicuous, a wolf in sheeps clothing capable of being driven perfectly normally around town and on the motorway with no intrusion, it is comfortable and luxurious yet you know the power and performance are there on tap whenever you need it.
At a starting price of just shy of £50,000, at £10,000 more than the 330d M Sport it is based upon and around £7,500 more that than the aforementioned 335d x-Drive, the D3 is a bit of a bargain when you take into account the improved performance and handling, unique styling, luxury interior and with the prestige of the ALPINA badge. Inevitably you will customise this and it is all to easy to get carried away on the options list, but at the end of the day an ALPINA is analogous to a tailored shoe.
does much the same as an almost identically shaped off the shelf one but it feels so much better and the subtle visual differences are overseen by all those but in the know. It makes you feel good knowing that shoe was made just for you and the same applies to the ALPINA D3 Touring.
If you would like to find out more about the ALPINA range of bespoke BMWs, please contact our specialist Chris Jackson-Kew on 01223 911 761, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the enquiry form below.