BMW M is too chicken to take on the Audi RS4 Avant and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. It says that people who desire fast middle-sized BMWs with space for brave pets buy the X3M 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.
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 multi-spoke 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-liter twin-turbo straight-six engine. In the X3M and the next M3, it can develop up to 503hp, but Alpina’s chosen to peg that back to 455hp, and instead concentrate on torque. Whereas the M Division version of the engine is all done at 601Nm, the Alpina B3 churns out 700Nm. 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 one bit 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 4sec 0-100kph sprint. The top speed is over 299kph.
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 grownup’s fast car.
It’ll cost grownup money, too: £60,000 (around P3.9 million) 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.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.