|Review:||The BMW ALPINA B3 BITURBO Allrad|
The BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo ALLRAD – poised, confident handling on all road surfaces
All-Wheel-Drive with Intelligent Operation
3,0 litre six-cylinder engine with two turbo-chargers
Horsepower: 360HP/355bhp (265 kW) @ 5,500rpm
Peak Torque: 500 Nm/369 lbs-ft @ 3,800rpm
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds
Top Speed: 280 km/h / 174mph
EU-consumption, combined 10.1 l/100 km (28.0 Imp. mpg), extra-urban 7.5 l (37.7 mpg), urban 14.6 l (19.4 mpg)
Combined CO2: 241 g/km
ALPINA have blended design and technology in the B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad into a fascinating mix: the elegant Coupé, equipped with a powerful, highly-efficient turbo-charged six-cylinder in-line direct-injection engine, married to a quick-reacting all-wheel-drive system with fully-variable power apportioned to all four wheels.
In responding to increasing demand for all-wheel-drive automobiles, ALPINA have reached out to new customers. It isn’t only ALPINA customers in central Europe’s winter regions – especially Switzerland – but also customers in markets such as Russia who are looking for all-wheel-drive. Due to its combination of powerful turbo engine and all-wheel-drive, the B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad primarily appeals to high-mileage drivers. The B3 Allrad is especially appealing to those who are dependent upon making safe forward progress in all weather, but don’t want to give up driving pleasure. In this way, the all-wheel-drive B3 fits right in with the rest of the ALPINA range, automobiles which, due to their unusual combination of characteristics, are often used as everyday-sportscars.
The B3 Bi-Turbo’s intelligent all-wheel-drive uses BMW’s xDrive system as its technical basis. This dynamic control distributes the engine’s power steplessly and variably to the front and rear axles. The heart of this system is the electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch that reacts to changing driving and road conditions in milliseconds. The required information, such as wheel rpm, steering angle and throttle position, are supplied by the DSC sensors.
The B3 Bi-Turbo’s intelligent all-wheel-drive uses BMW’s xDrive system as its technical basis. This active control – with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and traction control (DTC) – turns all-wheel-drive into a dynamic system that proactively adjusts to any driving situation. In the B3 Bi-Turbo, this technology unifies the benefits of rear-wheel-drive – like agile handling and sportscar performance – with the added traction of all-wheel-drive. This drivetrain concept entertains sporty driving – experienced drivers will especially enjoy driving on snow-covered roads.
Safety and Sportiness on All Fours
The all-wheel-drive system’s functions go almost unnoticed by the driver, this the pre-condition for a cultivated and comfortable drivetrain. The desired agility and sportiness, though, is in no way negatively impacted. The opposite is true, as the B3 Bi-Turbo’s self-steering properties are positively influenced by the instantly-variable shift of power, right up to the limit.
If the system recognises under-steer or over-steer, even in their earliest stages, it will re-distribute the power to the axle that will help neutralise the condition. Even in the worst weather conditions, with constantly varying road surfaces (snow, ice, dirt, leaves), the engine’s power will be sent to the axle with better traction. It is only at the limit where the ALPINA-specific DSC programme comes into play, with targeted intervention for maximum safety.
The B3 Bi-Turbo’s all-wheel-drive system feels far more agile and sportier than the a-w-d competition. Furthermore, the a-w-d drivetrain suffers no binding or steering that’s too heavy when parking. When manoeuvering and parking, but also near top speed, the B3 send its power almost completely to the rear wheels.
This technology allows the B3 Bi-Turbo to combine the benefits of rear-wheel-drive – such as agile handling and sportscar performance – with the traction of four-wheel-drive. This drivetrain concept also supports a sporty driving manner. Experienced drivers will especially enjoy on snow-covered roads, as the dynamic control can be stepped down to “DTC” or “DSC Off”, providing the good driver a certain level of “dynamic play”. Through it all, the intelligent all-wheel-drive system remains active.
Drivetrain and Design
The B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad Coupé melds aesthetics, athleticism and superior driving dynamics. The attractive 3 Series Coupé pleases by virtue of elegant design. It accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and is capable of 280 km/h (174mph). Despite sportscar performance, it provides a fuel range of over 500km (310mi). The exhaust’s four end-pipes underscore the high-revving engine with a sonorous note. Very short shift times – especially in the manual mode termed SWITCH-TRONIC – enhance driving pleasure. The “blipping” of the throttle on downshifts in this mode synchronises the engine’s revs with the drivetrain.
The BMW 3er Coupé’s high chassis stiffness provides ALPINA with a welcome basis to create perfect driving dynamics. Stiff rear subframe carrier bushings heighten driving precision. Strut and spring calibration was adapted for the B3’s heightened driving dynamics. In sum, the driving characteristics place the B3 Allrad Coupé in a unique position within the BMW ALPINA B3 Family.
The B3 Bi-Turbo produces 265 kW (360 HP/355bhp) at 5,500 to 6,000rpm and provides peak torque of 500 Nm (369lbs-ft) between 3,800 to 5,000rpm. The in-line six-cylinder engine spins happily up to 7,000rpm. From a mere 1,300 rpm onward, 400Nm (295lbs-ft) of torque is on tap. All this is technically possible due to the exceptional basis provided by the BMW six-cylinder with its petrol direct injection and the central location of the injectors above the pistons. ALPINA engineers, in exhaustive testing and development, created a unique engine mapping, maximising the powerplant’s potential. The use of high-strength MAHLE pistons permits maximum boost of 1.1 bar with a native compression of 9.4 :1, resulting in peak specific values of 89 kW (121HP) per litre and a maximum mean pressure of 21 bar.
What makes the B3 Bi-Turbo unique is the coupling of a light and efficient, 3.0-litre straight-six-cylinder engine with an aluminium block and twin turbos, allowing ALPINA to realise a highly dynamic package – with the performance of powerful V8 competitors.
Driving pleasure – whether cruising or driving assertively – is standard in every B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad at no extra charge. And in terms of fuel consumption, the B3 Coupé with all-wheel-drive is at the head of its competitive segment. Enjoyment without remorse guaranteed, with a combined fuel economy of 10.1 litre per 100 km/h (28.0 Imp. mpg) and a CO2 rating of 241 g/km.
One can tell that the B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad was created by an ALPINA crew based in Buchloe – within sight of the Alps, providing ideal testing conditions. Freezing rain, ice and snow create perfect road conditions for testing all-wheel-drive, and are just outside the front door. Carefully calibrated to support one another, the B3‘s all-wheel-drive and ALPINA suspension & drivetrain offer agility par excellence. Straight-line stability in the B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad is even better, it literally drives as if it were on rails. The wheel and tyres do their part, with 245/40 ZR18 tyres front and rear, and staggered wheels in ALPINA CLASSIC design (front 8x18 inch, rear 9x18 inch).