For decades, ALPINA has made the high-performance wagons that BMW wouldn’t. No M3 Touring? ALPINA had you covered with the B3 Touring. No M5 Touring this year? ALPINA had the B5 Touring. Hell, ALPINA even had diesel versions. Now, though, ALPINA actually has some more competition from BMW than usual, as the M3 Touring is finally here. In this new video from Harry Metcalf, we get to see which is best—the M3 Touring or ALPINA B3 Touring—a comparison we’re thrilled to see finally happen.
Despite their similarities, the two cars are actually shockingly different. Sure, both are based on the G21 3 Series, both have similar body styles, and both have S58 engines (the B3 is the first ALPINA to use an M engine). However, that’s really where their differences end.
The ALPINA B3 Touring looks quite a bit different than the M3 Touring for two main reasons. The first, and most notable, is its front end. The ALPINA lacks the massive beaver tooth grille of the M3, which makes it far more attractive to many enthusiasts. The specific B3 Touring in Metcalf’s video is a pre-LCI car, which has the old headlights and grille, but even the new LCI car keeps the normal 3 Series LCI face. The other big visual difference is the lack of fender flares. The M3 Touring has the M3’s swollen fenders, while the ALPINA B3 sticks with the normal 3 Series body. So the M3 certainly looks more aggressive. So, there’s no beating ALPINA’s killer wheels.
On the inside, it’s much the same. The BMW M3 Touring is far more aggressive, with its intense sport seats and carbon fiber trim everywhere. While the ALPINA B3 Touring is far more sophisticated and luxurious. The M3 is the sports car of the two, while the B3 is the luxury bruiser.
Their engines, while both based on the S58 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I6, are a bit different. ALPINA takes that engine and heavily modifies it, replacing its pistons, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, turbochargers, intercooler, and gives it a tune. The B3 actually makes a bit less power than the M3, with 495 horsepower versus the M3’s 503 horsepower. However, the B3 has more torque, with 516 lb-ft, versus the M3’s 479 lb-ft. However, both use eight-speed ZF autos (ALPINA’s has a specific tune), and all-wheel drive. So, mechanically, this is the closest the two cars have ever been.
However, what are the two cars like on the road? Well, I’m not going to spoil it for you because it’s well worth watching Metcalf’s video. check it out