Our cars: BMW Alpina D3 Biturbo - June
Week ending July 8
Miles this week 800
Last weekend, road tester Ivan Aistrop spent his time flitting between numerous social engagements in the Alpina, and each and every time he rocked up, somebody would greet him by saying: 'Hey, nice Beemer. '
Now, being a stickler for accuracy, he politely pointed out that it was, in fact, an Alpina. The problem was that every time he imparted this revelation, he had to follow it up with a 10-minute explanation of what Alpina is and how its cars differ from BMW’s.
Ivan will happily talk about cars for hours on end, but having the same conversation over and over again became a bit tiresome by the end of the weekend. By the end, when the inevitable greeting occurred, he replied simply with: 'Thanks very much'.
Week ending June 24
Miles this week 600
My D3 Biturbo is filled with little Alpina details, such as the blue dials, numbered plaque on the headlining, and Alpina gearknob and steering wheel.
It also has four Alpina floor mats, with a tiny chrome Alpina badge in the corner of each. Trouble is, every time I get into the car, the badge catches my eye and looks like I’ve dropped some money. I'm from north of the border, so naturally this causes me quite a bit of momentary distress.
It might have been better if the badges had been multicoloured, as they are elsewhere on the car.
Week ending June 17
Driven this week 208 miles
I'm a fastidious type of chap, and I like to keep on top of things such as fluid levels and tyre pressures.
In the Alpina, checking the tyres is not the work of a moment, because the valves are hidden inside the centre caps of the wheels. You first swivel the badge out of the way, retrieve a key from the boot, remove the centre caps, check each tyre, and reverse the process to put the wheels back to normal. It’s time-consuming.
Having said all that, I love the way the wheels look, and if this is the price of such style, then I’m happy to pay it.
Week ending June 3
Driven this week: 34 miles
I'm fussy, no doubt about it. I want to be entertained by whatever I'm driving, but then at times I also want it to shut up and leave me in peace. Not many cars fit this bill. The good news is, my new D3 Biturbo does – and how.
I picked it up from Sytner Nottingham (01159 341414) with just three miles on the clock.
After sales assistant Jessica Beardall had shown me round the car I was off – and was immediately impressed.
I was straight onto the M1 for the trip south and the D3 set about keeping the outside world out and the peace and quiet within.
It soon became obvious that the ride is firm, but more supple than that in BMW's own M-Sport-trimmed cars. The steering is a delight, offering the right weighting and a good idea of what's happening beneath.
When the 1200-mile running-in period was over and done, I finally got to push the accelerator all the way down, and found that the performance is genuinely quick.
The 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine pulls strongly from just 1400rpm, but doesn't tail off at higher revs the way many diesels do. It's also doing an average of 45.6mpg.
Looks like I'm in for an engaging, but relaxing when I want it to be, few months.