B3 Touring costs 1800 euros extra
Even if the base vehicle is an M340i, there is thoroughbred M3 technology under the sheet metal. The developers in Buchloe only adapted the philosophy to their own wishes. Means: a bit less power than in BMW’s top model, but 50 Newton meters more torque. The 8-speed automatic has also been adjusted, shifts smoothly and almost seamlessly. In order to be able to use the sport mode in proper style, our test car installed the shift paddles milled from solid aluminum and costing 280 euros. So you can finally flip through the speed levels in manual mode.
No automatic up switches in the Alpina B3
The previously used thumb buttons were classic and style-defining, but handling them took some getting used to. By the way: The manual mode is actually such a mode. There are no automatic upshifts on the B3 – it consistently runs into the limiter if the pilot doesn’t put his two cents into it.
kW (HP) at 1/min
Nm at 1/min
brakes in front
brake disc material
Wheel size front-rear
Tire size front-rear
Standard consumption – CO2
test car price
From its 530 hp, the technicians use larger chargers and other tricks to make a respectable 621 hp – only four horses less than in the M5 Competition. 800 Newton meters ensure superior thrust at all times. And like a class below, the Alpina adds another 50 Nm to the value of the BMW M top model.
Grace Alpina B5
The grace with which it takes the shock out of transverse joints, how cleanly it irons out bends and compressions even at speeds in excess of 250 km/h – phenomenal. No shaking, no rocking, nothing. His little brother is a bit more nervous; the B3 just has a fundamentally more agile nature. But what we can chalk up to him as negative here, he turns into a positive on the race track.
A clear picture emerges on the Sachsenring: Sector 1 belongs to the beefy eight-cylinder, but especially in the winding second sector, the B3 literally knocks its massive brother in the face. 87 hundredths in around 25 seconds are worlds. But the B5 always hits back when it comes to performance development.
In sector three, up the hill behind the Omega, into the Linkskuppe and then vehemently down to the kart track, he regains almost half a second. In sector four there is almost a tie; at the top speed measuring point, the B5 writes more at 5.8 km/h. Until then, the two-tonner is still ahead, but in the last sector, especially in the narrow Queckenberg-Links, the B3 gains a decisive 18 hundredths before both roar towards the start/finish. 1:37.42 to 1:37.62 seconds it is after almost 3.7 kilometers.
It has to go forward
But as already said: The lateral dynamics are only a by-catch in Alpina models. It has to go forward. And here both have no deficits. However, the B5 lets the driver’s brain slosh back and forth noticeably more intensely – you get a little dizzy at the start of the launch.
3.3 seconds to 100 – a tenth below the factory specification – and 10.8 to 200. Those are values that we were talking about super athletes not too long ago. Incidentally, both slow down with the optional performance brake system. The 240 kilos of additional weight of the B5 are reflected in 0.9 meters more braking distance. From 200: almost a tie.
More space, more comfort, more performance. The B5 storms forward with vigour. But despite 159 hp less, the B3 is faster at the Sachsenring and corners more agile. Ultimately, the costs ensure him victory in an otherwise even duel.