This generation of the ALPINA D3S is an especially good alternative to the M3, thanks in most part to its design. The BMW M3’s design is just about the most polarizing to ever come from the brand but the ALPINA versions look far, far better. The D3S is ALPINA’s diesel variant of the 3 Series/M3 and it features the standard 3 Series’ grille, making it look far better. In fact, it looks so good it frustrates me that the actual BMW M3 doesn’t look like the ALPINA.
Both the ALPINA D3S Sedan and Touring (wagon) are featured in this photo gallery and they both look fantastic. However, the green Touring looks especially fantastic and it’s made even better by its contrasting brown leather interior. It’s just about the perfect 3 Series variant of them all.
Under the hood, the ALPINA D3S uses a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six diesel engine that makes 355 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque. That makes it quite a bit less powerful than the BMW M3, which has 503 horsepower, but it packs a lot more torque, compared to the M3’s 479 lb-ft. It’s still a lot slower, though, as the D3S takes 4.6 seconds to reach 62 mph (4.8 seconds for the Touring). Interestingly, it also gets BMW’s 48-volt mild hybrid technology, which allows the engine to coast at high speed while also adding a few horsepower under heavy acceleration.
ALPINA also revised the suspension, steering, and transmission, to make it sharper and more engaging to drive than the standard 3 Series. It might not be as sharp or exciting as a proper BMW M3 but it’s also more comfortable than the M3. Chuck in its diesel efficiency and the ALPINA D3S is a better all-around daily drive than an M3, especially if you get the Touring version. It’s quite exclusive, though, as ALPINA only makes the D3S in limited numbers, so if you’re one of the lucky owners, you’ll enjoy a special car that’s easier to live with than the M3, while also still looking great.