Review: 2023 ALPINA D3 S Touring – Is this the Ultimate Diesel Machine?
Are you in the market for a luxurious and high-performance vehicle that offers both style and functionality? Look no further than the 2023 ALPINA D3 S Touring. With its sleek design and top-of-the-line features, this car is sure to turn heads on the road. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at what makes the 2023 ALPINA D3 S Touring such an exceptional vehicle, from its powerful engine to its advanced safety features and technology.
The ALPINA World as we know it is coming to end in 2025. With the sale of the name rights to their brother from another mother, the Bovensiepen family has made a clear decision about the future of their beloved brand. This doesn’t mean that you, as a customer can’t buy ALPINA vehicles between now and 2025, on the contrary even. According to the spokesperson at ALPINA, sales of ALPINA cars are currently skyrocketing, with sales records being broken month after month.
Still, the amount of cars sold are minuscule in comparison to its family member from Munich. ALPINAs are rarer than mainstream supercars. Just take a moment to think about that. One of the models which are part of the brand’s success is the ALPINA D3 S, which has a rich history in the world of performance cars. As a special edition of the BMW 3 Series, ALPINA has added its own unique touches to the car, which offers a combination of improved handling dynamics, everyday practicality and mile-crunching capabilities.
Facelift for the ALPINA D3 S
Available as a sedan and touring model, the D3 S is based on the platform of the M340d, which received a lifecycle update in 2022 and therefore now comes with new headlamps, plus different daytime running lights, alongside a slightly revised, octagonally-shaped kidney grille. The rear bumper is new as well and is styled to match what’s going on at the front.
While the exterior changes are more evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the changes inside the cabin are more noticeable. The immediate change visible inside the cabin is the BMW Curved Display, which comes as standard and is made up of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, set beside a 14.9-inch central touchscreen. The display gives you access to BMW Operating System 8, which offers a whole plethora connected services, media inputs, smartphone connectivity, 5G support and voice control as standard in a new, funky-looking interface.
ALPINA would not be ALPINA if they hadn’t changed the iDrive 8 interface to their liking. The gauges of the digital instrument panel are designed in a trademark ALPINA Blue and Green colour scheme. Clicking through the drive modes will get you specific colours for each mode. The animated D3 S shown on both screens is matching my Touring test car up to the level that you can even read the exterior ALPINA badges.
Where the base 3 Series got its lifecycle facelift, the engineers at ALPINA kept their package pretty much the same and upgraded the D3 S in a similar fashion we have seen before. The aerodynamic attachments at the front and rear are known to the brand as is the aerodynamic strip between the front windshield and the sunroof improving wind flow allowing to reach 270+ km/h in the Touring.
A set of ALPINA Dynamic 19 inch wheels, shod in Pirelli winter rubber and the signature quad tailpipes complement the unmistakable premium and understated exterior appearance, 20 inch wheels are available in either silver or Anthracite, if you prefer. Same goes for the decal set and the choice to opt for the ALPINA logo on the front and back in black, gold or Anthracite.
On the topic of technical modifications; the changes are considerable. One of the main points is the modification of the hybrid diesel engine with its new 48-volt starter generator. ALPINA has increased the power output of the straight-six 3.0 liter engine with bi-turbo charging from 340 horsepower to an impressive 355 horsepower, and the torque increases by 30 Nm to 730 Nm. A new ALPINA-specific cooling system with two external radiators, enlarged intercooler and fan are fitted.
The D3 S is even quicker off the line than its base sibling, more responsive through the mid-range and has a wider top end, too. It is adding that unique level of flavor that’s missing in the M340d, mainly because the Germans at BMW had to cut corners during the development to favor cost over refinement and performance. That is no negative but an observation where ALPINA can flourish and offer you something unique and limited.
In terms of handling, the Alpina D3 S is equipped with stiffer suspension, offering a more connected driving experience with tighter body control. The driveshafts have been reinforced and new springs, bump stops and stabilizers were fitted, alongside greater camber on the front wheels. The car also features upgraded brakes compared to the base model, which provide more stopping power and a better feel.
The engineers not only fitted new hardware. The important bit is bringing all those upgrades together with improved software maximizing the capabilities of the 3er diesel platform. By utilizing the variable damper control, rear limited-slip differential and steering unit, the ALPINA engineers developed a set up that has no competitor in this market segment. They even installed their own torque split for the xDrive four-wheel-drive system.
The package handles with the precision and accuracy of a small sports car while it sometimes has the tendency of showing its weight just shy of two tonnes. The D3 S proves itself more as a long distance cruiser within ALPINA’s 3-series line-up offering a wide range of driving modes – COMFORT+, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ – which allow for excellent everyday ride comfort and dynamic handling.
Inside the car, there are some notable upgrades as well, with ALPINA including luxury features such as branded leather upholstery, a new sport steering wheel dressed in Lavalina leather, new ALPINA floor mats and high-quality trim pieces caring the ALPINA crest.
Up on request, there are two Lavalina interior packages available upgrading the whole interior with the same leather that you will find in a Rolls-Royce. A special plaque on the central console will remind you of the production number of your D3 S and oozes that ALPINA-specific interior ambience.
Even though, all of these enhancements are a welcoming addition to the vehicle and the standard package of the base model, the true nature of an ALPINA and therefore the D3 S is not felt through each of its components, but through the strength of their composition. The ALPINA-themed synthesis makes this D3 S so powerful in its abilities and therefore a very well-sorted daily. Its reassurance while driving feels up there combining a sense of quality and poise through all of its touchpoints.
Of course, the enhanced price tag is one that needs to be considered as a point of note which should not be left untouched. It therefore requires yourself to ask the question if it is worth the upgrade over the base BMW model. I would say yes, and that is mainly due to the fact that the enhanced level of sportiness, exclusivity and performance is not offered elsewhere in any other BMW diesel or similar competitor on the market today.
The D3 S is the best and most desirable diesel-powered car on the market, and it makes you feel special in the process. It would definitely be my personal choice in this form factor if the magnificent ALPINA B3 wouldn’t have been around.
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