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Headline:A simple question.....?Date:23/01/2003
Source:   (Click Here for more details).Groupreview
Issue:104 (February 2003) (p. 56 - 64)         (Click Here for more stories from this issue).
Review:The used to be a 100bhp gap between the 330i and the mighty M3, but not any longer. BMW (GB)'s officially sanctioned Supercharged 330i goes head to head with Alpina's new B3S.

Is there a clear winner ? The B3 S or B3 3.4S is based on the same engine as the B3 3.3 but with an extra 20bhp curtesy of an extra 46cc (3346cc). The extra bhp and 21lb ft more torque has been achieved by increasing the engines bore by 0.6mm. Also altered is the electronics and exhaust. (The LHD cars will have a further 5bhp as a result of a new manifold).

The B3 S is only available in the UK as a switchtronic. This dulls performance by a second 0-62mph in 6.4secs (vs. 5.4 for the 6-speed manual).

The AC Schnitzer supercharger is now officially sanctioned by BMW UK, comes with a 3 year warranty and can be retrofitted to older cars. Power is increased to 295bhp and torque to 295lb ft. You also get a new flat oval exhaust. The 'kit' cost c. 6.5k plus labour.

On the track (bruntingthorpe) there is little to pick between them. The AC 330i is slightly faster thanks to the extra torque. However on the road, the AC 330i (due to it's standard sports suspension it is fidgety on uneven road surfaces.

The guy writing the article reckons he'd have the 330i touring supercharged with AC suspension - as it has little to distinguish itself from a normal BMW touring (no styling) - wolf in sheeps clothing. However he does say if there was a manual option he'd have a harder decision.


Black AC 330i reg: RA02 OYK
Silver B3 S reg: ALP 117A
Cars:Alpina B3 s (E46 (02-))
BMW 3 series 330i AC S SC (E46 (98-))

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