BMW has been inexplicably reluctant to go after the AMG C63 Estate and Audi RS4 Avant with its very own M3 Touring. There was one during the E46 era, but only as a concept car as it was never sold. It wasn’t until 2022 when a 3 Series-based super wagon from Munich finally reached dealerships with the G81 codename. Meanwhile, ALPINA has been catering to the performance wagon crown for decades, and the latest B3 Touring is a worthy internal adversary for the BMW-badged speedy estate.
A new video review from Dutch magazine AutoWeek highlights the different characters these two cars have despite both being sporty wagons sharing a lot of the components. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but one can’t deny the M3 has a controversial front fascia with its striking grille while the B3 has the 3 Series’ regular kidneys.
We’d dare to say the ALPINA has a classier look with its subtle design cues like the classic multi-spoke wheels, the pinstripe, and the brand’s lettering on the front spoiler lip. Of course, the M3 Touring’s more aggressive appearance will be preferred by some fans of the super wagon niche. The interiors are largely the same, but once again, the B3 Touring has some specific tweaks like the upholstery and dashboard trim to set it apart from the “regular” model.
Despite sharing the same S58 engine – which was actually installed in the B3 first before arriving in the latest M3 models – the two cars have different characters. With the facelift launched last year, ALPINA lifted output by 33 horsepower and 30 Newton-meters (22 pound-feet) to 488 hp and 538 lb-ft (730 Nm). The M3 still has the edge in terms of horsepower by packing an extra 15 hp but the B3 has 59 lb-ft (80 Nm) more torque.
AutoWeek found the M3 Touring sharper and more agile when tackling corners but the B3 Touring exhibited greater in-gear punch while being the more relaxing car to drive. It all comes down to what you want as some prefer the more aggressive BMW while others would rather fly under the radar with the ALPINA. Either way, there are no wrong choices here.
Source: AutoWeek / YouTube