Alpina’s 455bhp B3 Touring is the M3 wagon BMW won't make | Top Gear
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Alpina’s 455bhp B3 Touring is the M3 wagon BMW won't make

Cancel the other cars. All of them. Here’s the only one you need

Published: 10 Sep 2019
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BMW M is too chicken to take on the Audi RS4 Avant and Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. It says that people who desire fast middle-sized BMWs with space for brave pets buy the X3 M instead. It says there’s no market. No need whatsoever, for an M3 Touring.

BMW is wrong. Not only is the X3M a terrible car only fools will own, but Alpina has just gone and proved once again that a super-fast 3 Series wagon is all the car we really need, and want. And we really, really want this one.

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Meet the new 2020 Alpina B3 Touring. First off, we’ll talk about the spec Alpina is showing off on its latest tuned Bimmer. Dark emerald green, blacked-out detailing, silver 20-inch multispoke wheels (both choices are demo’d on the car in the pictures) and a subtle, quad-tailpiped bodykit. It’s stunning. Swap the cream interior for tan and we’re sold. And that’s before we get to the oomph.

Said oomph comes from BMW’s latest 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine. In the X3 M and in the next M3, it can develop up to 503bhp, but Alpina’s chosen to peg that back to 455bhp, and instead concentrate on torque. Whereas the M Division version of the engine is all done at 443lb ft, the Alpina B3 churns out 516lb ft.

So less top-end zing, but more low-rev grunt and mid-range punch. How very sensible.

Equally sensible is the drive layout: an eight-speed automatic gearbox supplies power to all four wheels, so not a single pound-foot of precious torque is wasted. Alpina hasn’t quoted how quickly the B3 Touring gets off the mark, but it’s surely knocking on the door of a 4.0sec 0-62mph sprint. The top speed is over 186mph.

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Inside you get a handsomely rebadged steering wheel, tweaked graphics for yer natty screens and retrimmed leather. No M Division stripes in the cupholders and sun-visors and glovebox lining though, because this is a grown-up’s fast car.

It’ll cost grown-up money too: £60,000 and up is a safe bet. For a 3 Series, it’s a lot. But for what’s very possibly the most tasteful new fast car in the world today, that’s a bargain, in Top Gear maths.

Your move, BMW M Division.

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