It’s hard to choose any alternative to the BMW M3 Touring, since we’ve all been waiting since the first M3 for such a car. However, there is actually an alternative to the M3 Touring that might be better — the ALPINA B3 Touring.
In a recent review from EVO Magazine, we get to take a look at the B3 Touring, ALPINA’s version of the M3. While typically ALPINAs aren’t M Division rivals, being more comfortable and more luxurious, the ALINA B3 Touring is closer to any M car in history because it’s the first ALPINA to ever use an M Division engine.
Under the hood of the B3 lies BMW M’s S58 engine — a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6. But that’s just the basis of the B3’s engine. ALPINA being ALPINA, the engine was torn apart and modified for B3-duty and it makes 456 horsepower, which is actually less than the standard M3’s 473 horsepower. However, the B3 makes more torque — 516 lb-ft, versus the M3’s 406 lb-ft (or 479 lb-ft for Competition models).
The ALPINA B3 Touring is still calmer and more comfortable than the harder-edged M3 but it’s still absolutely delightful to drive. Its steering is sweet, its chassis balance is superb, and its ride quality is better than any M car’s. So as a daily driver, the ALPINA might actually be the better buy than the M3 Touring. It’s hard to deny the overall breadth of ability that the B3 Touring has, even with an M3 Touring on the way.
Of course, we can’t deny the allure of the BMW M3 Touring. It’s going to be the first M3 Touring ever made, which immediately makes it irresistible. But the M3, in any variant, is still a pretty stiff sports car and comes with an outlandish design. If you want similar performance, in a more subtle, more refined package, the ALPINA B3 Touring could actually be the better choice.