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Frankfurt show: Alpina torques up B3 Touring

Alpina trots out B3 Touring with 340kW/700Nm and all-wheel drive, beats M3 to market

12 Sep 2019

ALPINA arguably upstaged production partner BMW at this week’s Frankfurt motor show with the public debut of its understated but autobahn-scorching B3 Touring that is odds-on to follow its predecessor into Australian showrooms.


In addition to being more universally embraced by Frankfurt show-goers and observers than BMW’s polarising Concept 4, the B3 Touring also beat Munich’s much-anticipated M3 performance passenger car to the punch.


Local importer Alpina Australia quickly issued a statement saying it is “looking closely at bringing the Touring to market”. The outgoing model was priced from $160,900 plus on-road costs, going nose-to-nose with the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate ($163,040 + ORCs).


Instead of again hotting up the M340i’s single-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six, Alpina jumped straight to BMW’s latest biturbo S58 unit, which is expected to power the new M3 and debuted this year in the X3/X4 M SUVs packing a 375kW/600Nm punch in Competition spec (standard versions get 353kW/600Nm).


Peak power of the B3 Touring is down on the M cars at 340kW – probably due to politics – but torque from the Alpina-tweaked engine is a whopping 700Nm.


Matching the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 of a C63 S for grunt plus the presence of all-wheel drive and launch control suggests 0-100km/h in less than four seconds (the rear-drive previous-generation B3 Touring did it in 4.3s).


Official performance figures are not yet published, but Alpina says the B3 Touring is its first model to have been designed “for a sprint from 0 to 200km/h”. This, and binning BMW’s electronic speed limiter, means the B3 Touring maxes out somewhere north of 300km/h.


To achieve the combination of refinement and momentous performance for which it is famed, Alpina has tuned the S58 engine so that peak power comes in at 5000rpm and lasts until 7000rpm, while maximum torque is developed between 3000 and 4250rpm.


For comparison, in the X3/X4 M, the S58 delivers peak power at 6250rpm in both standard and Competition spec while the peak torque band is much wider at 2600-5600rpm (the Competition extends this to 5950rpm).


Alpina has installed an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential into the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system and beefed up the torque converter in the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission to a unit normally used with V8 engines.


The B3 Touring is also the first Alpina to have the option of bespoke machined aluminium manual paddle-shifters.


Valves in the stainless-steel exhaust enable the driver to alter its note from “discreetly restrained” to “noticeably more dynamic” and petrol particulate filters help it comply with Euro 6d emissions regulations.


Also controlled by the driver are three Alpina-specific stages of adaptive damper tune to go with the custom Eibach springs and bump stops, chunkier stabiliser bars and retuned suspension geometry with more negative camber at the front.


The results, according to Alpina, are “a wide range of driving experiences ranging from pronounced ride comfort to maximum agility and dynamics”. Alpina has also applied its own calibrations to the transmission and all-wheel-drive system.


Alpina’s signature blue brake callipers are four-piston fixed units up front with 395mm discs and floating at the back with 345mm rotors.


These lurk behind new 19-inch ‘Alpina Dynamic’ five-spoke alloy wheels with staggered Pirelli P Zero tyres in 255/35 front and 265/35 rear sizes, while purists will likely option the 20-inch ‘Classic’ rims with the inflation valve cleverly hidden behind the centre cap (tyres are 255/30 front and 265/30 rear).


Apart from distinctive wheels and callipers, Alpina’s stock in trade for restrained exterior mods and plush interiors carry through to its newest model. The brand’s exclusive rich metallic blue and green paint finishes are also present and correct.


Prioritising engine cooling and minimising lift for high speed stability is the B3 body kit, each end respectively integrating the air intake needs of a unique 1kW electric radiator fan and accommodating four fat tailpipes and a subtle diffuser.


Bespoke interior touches such as a hand-stitched leather steering wheel, metal Alpina emblems in the floor mats and backrests, obligatory branded door sills and a plaque displaying the build number.


Existing Alpina owners used to real-world fuel consumption being substantially higher than official figures will not be surprised to learn that the new and more realistic Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) test found the latest B3 Touring to consume 11.1 litres of 98 RON Premium Unleaded per 100km. The old one was rated at 7.6L/100km.

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