Price from £30,950
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MPG 52.3 CO2 144g/km
Is this one of the best BMW 3 Series’ ever? Could be – it’s certainly very different from a conventional Three.
Alpina is a car manufacturer in its own right that has worked with BMW for more than 40 years, so it knows exactly how BMWs are put together.
The D3 Biturbo starts off being built as a normal four-cylinder turbodiesel 3 Series by BMW, then Alpina grabs it and enhances it.
The first thing Alpina’s spannermen do is sling out the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine and replace it with a lightly tuned 211bhp version of the 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel from the 123d. An Alpina exhaust system is fitted, along with higher-spec brakes, tweaked suspension, Alpina alloys with non-run-flat tyres, and a bodykit.
The difference all these changes makes is genuinely astonishing: you’ll start to be blown away almost as soon as you pull away.
Performance is startling, the D3 hitting 62mph just 6.9 seconds after setting off, and carrying on to a top speed on the ‘woohoo’ side of 150mph. The engine pulls strongly from just 1500rpm, and spins quickly round to 5000rpm with none of the high-rev tail-off normally associated with diesels.
Throw the D3 at a few corners, and it feels responsive, nimble, and grippy, while the steering is sharp, and offers loads of feedback.
The big news, however, is that the D3 is a truly comfortable car. Where a 325d M Sport fidgets over bumps, the Alpina is supple and beautifully controlled at all times. It’s a revelation.
Average economy of 52.3mpg means you’ll be able to enjoy the D3 for loads of miles between fuel stops, and a CO2 output of 144g/km puts it in the 20% band for company car tax, which is entirely affordable. For comparison, a 325d M Sport will cost you £875 more, puts out 7g/km more CO2, and is thirstier by 2.7mpg. It’s also slower.
If you’re in the market for a 325d, or even a 330d, we’d advise that you look at a D3 Biturbo. You won’t regret it.
What Car? says
A brilliant compact exec alternative