In ALPINA’s more than 40-year history of manufacturing automobiles, turbo-charged engines have consistently set enduring accents. Launched in 1989, the BMW ALPINA B10 Bi-Turbo is just one example of the cult status some of these automobiles achieved. In fact, ALPINA’s turbo-charging history began in 1978, based on the 5 Series and 6 Series of the day (E12 & E28 and E24). The new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo continues this tradition for the first time on the basis of the BMW 3 Series with its world premiere at the 2007 Geneva Salon d’Automobile.
The heart of the B3 Bi-Turbo offers 265 kW (360 hp) at 5,500 – 6,000 revolutions per minute, as well as maximum torque of 500 Nm from 3,800 – 5,000 rpm. The B3 Bi-Turbo’s engine has a sporty engine’s willingness to rev to 7,000 rpm. Equally as present but usually reserved for diesel engines, there is vigorous torque from 1,500 rpm onwards. The result: a powerband broader than ever before experienced, guaranteeing both sporty and bullish driving dynamics.
Technically, this is all made possible due to the exceptional BMW base engine with injectors centrally located over the pistons – the state-of-the-art in direct injection technology. For more than a year, ALPINA engineers researched, developed and tested, both on the engine test bench and on the road. Ever refining the ALPINA engine map to leverage all the advantages offered by modern direct injection, the potential inherent in the BMW foundation was maximised. The use of extremely durable MAHLE pistons allows for a maximum boost of 1.1 bar with a 9.4:1 compression ratio. The result, peak specific values of 89 kW (121 hp) per litre and a maximum average pressure of 21 bar.
The allure of the new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo is found in its V8 like performance, but with the advantages of a much lighter and noticeably thriftier 3.0-litre straight-six, a six with an aluminium block and twin-turbo charging. The smooth-running nature inherent in this engine concept is even more prominent when the engine is charged.
The BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo embodies pure driving enjoyment – whether cruising along or enjoying all 7,000 revs in each gear. The reason for the spontaneous responsiveness of the B3 Bi-Turbo is the ZF 6-speed sport automatic transmission with its very short shift sequences, which smoothly processes the power through the drivetrain without any uncomfortable interruption of forward momentum. The driver may also choose to shift manually at the wheel using SWITCH-TRONIC, which contributes in no small part to both the awe-inspiring performance numbers and the ability to save fuel in top gear. Frugality and driving excitement are therefore not contradictory in the B3 Bi-Turbo. Driven by high torque means using sixth gear on the Autobahn is more than sufficient in almost all situations.
The engine’s kick surprises even those in the know: 0-100 km/h in 4,9 seconds and thrust-like acceleration that keeps pulling all the way up to a top speed of 285 km/h. Indulgence without remorse: in spite of its stellar performance, the new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo achieves excellent fuel economy in relation to its competitors. One of the B3 Bi-Turbo’s features that literally stands out are the four exhaust tips, with their catalytic converters contributing significantly to the achieving of low Euro4 emissions standards.
The intense driving experience and an immediate bonding with the B3 Bi-Turbo are markedly influenced by fine materials and superior ergonomics. The standard leather interior features comfortably-padded sport seats with excellent lateral support, making long journeys a joy. The ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC steering wheel falls perfectly to hand and affords a clear view of the typical ALPINA blue instruments with their red pointers. As demanded by any enthusiastic driver, the provision of essential information in the form of the analogue oil temperature gauge located below the rev counter means the B3 Bi-Turbo can be pushed to its limits, once the minimum oil temperature of 50° C has been reached. Next to the analogue speedometer, the B3 Bi-Turbo also provides a digital speed read-out as well as average fuel economy and instantaneous fuel economy figures – thrifty driving also creates driving pleasure.
Immediately noticeable is the B3 Bi-Turbo’s light-footed, extremely agile handling. The secret lies in an ideal 50/50 weight balance between front and rear axles in combination with a ALPINA’s neutral and supple suspension. Augmenting this agility are light-weight 18” ALPINA CLASSIC wheels shod with conventional MICHELIN tyres, 225/40 ZR18 front and 255/35 ZR18 rear, with a conscious choice having been made not to use heavy Run-Flat tyres. 19” wheels offer an even higher level of potential lateral acceleration – in either DYNAMIC or CLASSIC design.
ALPINA’s newest creation reduces aerodynamic lift, especially approaching top speed. The greatest contributors are the optimised front and rear aerodynamics, helping guarantee true driving safety, not just creating a feeling of safety.
In quite exclusive fashion, we’ll complete but a few hundred B3 Bi-Turbos in Buchloe per annum for automotive connoisseurs. As tradition holds, each automobile will be fitted with an ALPINA plaque identifying its unique production number. The new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo – revel in its unique driving experience infused with impressive grace, power and thrift
Text and photos courtesy of Alpina