ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo Review – A for ALPINA

Mention a BMW 3 Series and almost anyone can point you to the all-familiar luxury German marque sedan. Add on an M badge and perhaps car enthusiasts will wow over it.

But what if we take away that M badge, and replace it with something of a totally different level?

What if we put, say, an ALPINA badge on?

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Introduction

ALPINA’s take on this German entry sedan certainly would win over most die-hard automotive fans. Marry a continental’s luxury, an M3’s power (or more than that), and the quiet visibility of any M/AMG car, and you get the all new ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo.

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We can’t fault you if you place the ALPINA on the comparison table together with the BMW M range, but really, it would perhaps be an injustice to both brands if that comparison ever took place.

Exterior

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From the aesthetics to the heart of the B3, you’d find many features or components that strike resemblances to those in any F30 3 Series. For starters, the B3 adopts BMW’s signature LED angel eyes and adaptive bi-xenon headlamps and grille, but a second look beneath the grille may change your perception of what this “3 Series-lookalike” is.

Exuding aggressiveness yet maintaining a sense of calmness, the aerodynamic package of the B3 proves strong enough to attract the attention of those around it.

Right up front, you get BMW’s Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, visible in the form of the black radar box tucked safely within the confines of the massive ALPINA front spoiler – a clear indication that this is no ordinary F30.

If that’s not sufficient to awe, the B3 boasts 20-inch ALPINA Classic rims, a guaranteed way for the common passer-by to do a double-take on its complexity, but yet at the same time, posing a huge headache when it comes to maintaining the rims.

The side profile of the B3 looks subtle enough to pass off as any normal 3 Series, if you ignore the overwhelming 20 inch rims. But step to the rear and aggressiveness takes on a whole new meaning, with the ALPINA rear spoiler, and its stock ALPINA-Akrapovič exhaust systems.

Interior

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It is perhaps a common fact that German interiors are nothing but of top notch quality. The B3 does not disappoint, but instead, bumps this expectation to yet another higher level.

ALPINA wraps the interior of each and every single car manufactured with Lavalina leather, direct from the factory,  something which they rightfully should be proud of. From the steering wheel to the seats, you can’t miss the ALPINA badge distinguishing it from its normal F30 3 Series cousin.

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Talk about uniqueness and ALPINA delivers each car with a plaque, complete with the production serial number fixed onto the lower center console.

Adapting many of the different features available on the top-of-range 3 Series, the B3 comes fitted with a wide array of technological gadgets for your enjoyment, including Head-Up Display, electrical sunroof, electric seats with memory functions, professional navigation system, and many more.

For the sound buffs, the B3 provides sheer sound quality with its Harmon Kardon Surround Sound System. I mentioned before that I am no sound guru, but the music quality emitting from the B3 wowed me the same way the Logic 7 in the Mercedes GLA did.

The Drive

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Beyond the fanciful gadgets and aggressive outlook, the B3 houses a tweaked version of BMW’s in-line 6 engine. ALPINA took the liberty of adding an extra turbocharger, and together with other fine-tunings, produced this 2,979 cc plant, putting out 410 horses and a whopping 600 Nm of torque.

The ALPINA Bi-Turbo concept supposedly increases response rates and provides better air flow, evident in the mind blowing pick up the B3 gives. A blip on the pedal will send you straight from the lights, leaving even most top-of-range continentals behind you.

BMW’s ZF 8-Speed Sport-Automatic gearbox allows for swift and sporty gearshifts, leaving minimal jerks and putting out a more-than-reasonable consumption figure of 13.2 km/l. Not too bad for a car this range, I’d say.

Most cars nowadays come standard with steering feel control, and ALPINA takes this one step further by incorporating direct feedback to the suspension settings and power steering. The Drive Performance Control modes on the B3 (i.e. Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+) spoils you, and even allows you to individually customise the handling of your ride. I reckon most B3 owners won’t bother about the Eco Pro setting, whereas between Comfort and Sport, I’d recommend Sport for a firmer and more responsive ride.

Cornering in the B3 proves to be a piece of cake, thanks to the ALPINA crossbar sitting across the engine bay. The 8HP70 gear unit puts out 600 Nm of torque, allowing the B3 to complete its century sprint in slightly below 5 seconds.

Conclusion

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While the B3 may sound like everything the young power-lusting executive yearns for, the price tag of close to 400 grand might just put some off.

However, if you carefully study the components that make up this wonder-beast, you’d perhaps realise that it IS quite worth your money (although we dare say no car in this country is worth its cost sadly).

All-in-all, the B3 Bi-Turbo, similar to the rest in the ALPINA family, definitely stands as a heavy commitment for the average Singaporean driver. It does take one who can fully appreciate (and afford) the B3 to drive it really well, and for these select group of drivers, I’m pretty sure the B3 will deliver its maximum potential for maximum satisfaction.

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I like:

  • Aerodynamic kit, adding an aggressive punch to the underlying F30 shell
  • Mind blowing torque – acceleration will never feel the same again in such a sedan
  • Uniqueness – because really, spotting an ALPINA on Singapore roads just means you’re really lucky

I don’t like:

  • The low ground clearance at the front
  • Above all, the sky high price tag of the B3

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Photo Gallery – ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo

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