Alpina: tuned BMWs with multi-spoke alloys, distinctive body stickers and mysterious variant names. Need we know more?
Why, yes – because unlike some dubious tuned BMWs, Alpina also has a strong and very loyal following, particularly here in the UK where used models are sought after and Nottingham dealer group Sytner has, since 1985, built a strong business selling new ones.
And that’s how the very latest and tastiest Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo was delivered to me on a crisp Monday morning for a working week’s testing. Full of anticipation? Yes, as you would be when the spec sheet reads 350hp, 700Nm, 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and 53.2mpg.
If ever there were a car that could be called my sort of car, this was it.
First impressions were that Alpina has long had official TUV manufacturer status for good reason. Despite fears of aftermarket-modded cars, this is a car that’s so cohesive, it could have been shipped straight off the BMW production line itself (indeed, some in the past actually have come from the factory itself).
In mean black metallic, it looks understated yet fantastic – chiefly thanks to the wheels, but also the boot lip spoiler, proud Alpina badges and prominent quad exhausts.
Previously, I used to look on non-OE addenda such as this with slightly narrowed eyes. I’m a keep-it-stock man, always steered by what the design gods intended. But spending time up close and in context with this Alpina, I get it. I’m proud to be in a car wearing the Alpina flash on the front spoiler, Alpina boot lid badge, Alpina blue VDO dials (and 200mph speedo). The tweaks become envied and valuable – yes, I’d even welcome one in real Alpina Green with gold stripes on the side.
All this is because I’ve spent the past five days driving it, as much as possible, as hard as conditions allow. And it’s performed supremely well. Crucially, again, it’s delivered a cohesive experience that could have come from the BMW drawing board itself: nothing feels aftermarket and ill-matched, no single area jars, nothing seems underdeveloped and lacking the in-depth analysis of BMW’s brilliant engineering team.
Rather, it’s an alternative take on the brilliant F30 range, and I love it.
Why? Well, that’s getting ahead of myself – the car review is to come. But so multifaceted is this car, even that won’t cover all the bits that stand out. So, in coming days, look out for more blogs on the mighty Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo; it’s no giveaway to say I’ve already naively been figuring out how to raise £46k…