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The Alpina that’s greener/faster/rarer than a 325d… March 16, 2009

Posted by Richard Aucock in What I learned today.
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BMW usually covers all bases, but a hole in its range was highlighted today. OK, it’s a small hole, but nevertheless…

What’s the 3 Series diesel buyer to do, who finds a 320d too slow, but a 325d too, well, you know, ‘not quite a 330d’?

Well, you’d think, the 1 Series comes in twin-turbo four-cylinder 123d guise. With 214bhp, it’s got bags of go. It’s obvious, then. Chuck this into the 3 Series, revive a classic nametag from the past, and bingo. Yet another niche filled.

rarer-than-a-325dNot so fast. Earlier today, BMW told me there are no plans for a 323d. Pity. The engine is a gem, and the lighter 2.0-litre engine would help create a wonderfully balanced high-performance diesel.

Help, however, is at hand! See, Alpina GB clearly shares my thinking. And has just started importing the Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo. Yes, it’s a 3 Series saloon, with a 123d engine transplant, and the usual hardcore Alpina makeover.

It looks great. But if, like BMW, you think ‘hey – why not just buy the peachier six-pot 325d’, here’s some stats:

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo/BMW 325d M Sport

Price: £29,950/£30,825

Power: 214bhp/197bhp

0-62mph: 6.9secs/7.4secs

MPG: 52.3mpg/49.6mpg

CO2: 143g/km/153g/km

Compelling, aye? Furthermore, with the Alpina, you get a stackload of ‘in the know’ kudos to boot. Those stripes, those badges, those wheels, that ALPINA sticker on the front splitter…

But is it any good? Are pace and economy fair substitute for the loss of six-cylinder smoothness?

A test drive request has duly been sent. Watch this space.