Alpina's Autobahn-storming 3 Series is the turbodiesel wagon of your dreams

Ronan Glon

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Alpina unveiled its first turbodiesel-powered variant of the current-generation 3 Series. Called D3 S, the electrified model will be available as a sedan and as a station wagon when it enters production later in 2020.

The regular-production M340d sold in Europe was the ideal foundation for Alpina to build a super-diesel on. The manufacturer kept the twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter straight-six but increased its output to 350 horsepower and a monstrous 538 pound-feet of torque by making software modifications, among other tweaks. The entire cooling system has been comprehensively upgraded to keep the temperature in check in the engine bay.

Electrification enters the equation, too, which is a first for Alpina. The six is part of a mild-hybrid powertrain that also includes a 48-volt starter-generator tasked with injecting the electricity it harvests into the driveline for smoother, quicker starts. Power travels to the four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy checks in at 31 mpg, according to the WLTP testing cycle used in Europe. Alternatively, stepping on it scoots the D3 S from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and on to a top speed of 170 mph. Note the heavier wagon posts figures of 4.8 and 168, respectively. Both receive bigger brakes from the 5 Series-based B5.

Visually, there's little to differentiate the D3 S from the gasoline-powered B3 introduced at the 2019 edition of the Frankfurt auto show. It receives a subtle body kit designed to create the downforce needed to keep it on four wheels and out of German airspace as it approaches its top speed, low-key Alpina emblems and decals, plus the multi-spoke alloys that immediately tell enthusiasts they're not looking at a run-of-the-mill BMW.

On sale now, the Alpina D3 S sedan starts at €70,500 while the wagon carries a base price of €71,900, figures that represent about $76,500 and $78,000, respectively. That's a reasonable increase of approximately $6,500 over the M340d. Don't expect Alpina to announce pricing for the United States, because the D3 S won't make the trip across the Atlantic. BMW no longer sells diesels or station wagons in America, and there's no indication it will make the gasoline-powered version of Alpina's 3 Series available on our shores anytime soon.

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