Bi-Turbo and Style, The New Alpina B3 BiTurbo

Mar 7 • Alpina, F30 3 Series, F31 Touring2 Comments

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It takes a lot to be an auto manufacturer in Germany. It takes even more to hang with the best and that is precisely what Alpina has done with their newest offerings (at least on paper). The all new B3 is a slick interpretation of luxury and performance in an exclusive package. Truth is, over the years we have met some seriously passionate BMW personalities but few come close to Alpina ‘s proprietor Andreas Bovensiepen and we have grown to respect the brand a great deal. As an engineer and race driver that has a knack for building things that get up and go in a hurry Andy shows genuine enthusiasm, as is evident by the twinkle he gets in his eyes when discussing products that are finished up at his Buchloe factory.

The new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo is based on the award winning BMW F30 3 Series and its six cylinder N55 engine.The straight-six 3.0l engine drops the dual scroll and opts for a pair of turbos creating 410hp and a maximum torque of 442 ft/lbs. The new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo accelerates from 0 to 100km/h (0 – 62mph) in just 4.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 305km/h (190mph). When driven moderately, it consumes significantly less than 24 mpg of Super plus (98 RON) achieves a class-leading combined fuel consumption measured to ECE norm of 31 mpg and 177g/km CO2 (Saloon RWD).

These extraordinary performance figures are also available for friends of all-wheel drive. The new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo Allrad utilises the proven possibilities of the excellent BMW xDrive system and offers unparalleled levels of traction and driving dynamics. Leaving the best for last, the B3 BiTurbo is of course offered in a touring version! Sadly, the B3 will not be sold stateside but that does not mean we can ‘t dream…

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POWERTRAIN

The 2979cc straight-six cylinder engine features high-precision direct injection, Valvetronic and Bi-Turbo charging to deliver an impressive 410hp (301kW) between 5500 and 6250rpm and a maximum torque of 442 ft/lbs at only 3000rpm. All this ‘pulling power’ is mated to the renowned ZF 8-Speed Sport-Automatic transmission. Thanks to proprietary technologies the new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo is positively playful in every situation – its power can be called upon at all times in order to enjoy that typical ALPINA driving experience. At the same time the engine is eager to rev up to 7000rpm and will spontaneously dial-up a maximum boost pressure of up to 1.2 bar without any perceivable lag.

Utilising all the available power and torque will yield explosive performance: the new B3 Bi-Turbo Saloon accelerates from 0 to 100km/h (0 – 62mph) in just 4.2 seconds (Saloon AWD:4.0s), improving on its predecessor by 12%. On the way to a top speed of 305km/h (190mph) the needle passes the 200km/h (124mph) mark in just 14 seconds! Valvetronic and auto/stop start have helped reduce consumption by nearly 20% when compared to its predecessor. The goal of the engineers from Buchloe was to achieve excellent responsiveness, high output across the entire rpm range and an improvement in fuel consumption. The ‘Bi-Turbo’ engine configuration arose not only out of tradition. More to the point, this type of turbocharging has the advantage of providing very good response and pick-up due to the low mass moment inertia of the turbocharger’s running gear and sufficient rate of air-flow for spontaneous power delivery.

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The design and construction of the excellent BMW 3.0 litre straight-six cylinder (N55) engine serves as a starting-point for a specially cast aluminium crankcase with Bi-Turbo capable flanges. These enable the mounting of two turbochargers along with required oil and water connections and a close-coupled catalytic converter arrangement. ALPINA specific NGK spark plugs and a forged steel high-strength crankshaft guarantee long-lasting stability. The engine breathes better thanks to an induction system that is capable of moving 30% more air to the cylinders- one charg pipe goes over the top of the engine and the other snakes around the back to keep the two turbos well fed. Always-on power delivery and throttle response are aided by an electronically controlled bypass valve system. Specially constructed and de-throttled, i.e. flow and cross-section optimised, air intake ducts guide the air with minimal losses from the air intake via the air filter housing to the turbochargers. On the fuel side, a high-performance high-pressure fuel pump ensures the right throughput. Optimal utilisation of the output is provided by a high-capacity intercooler with flow-optimised collector boxes made from aluminum. The cooling system is engineered to keep the engine operating in the proper range with an additional radiator and engine oil cooler as well as a high-performance 850w cooling fan.

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TRANSMISSION

Inspired by the pleasure that the 8-Speed Sport-Automatic transmission with SWITCH-TRONIC offers in the bigger BMW ALPINA models, the so-called 8HP70 transmission has been extensively adapted to suit the performance characteristics of the new 3 Series from ALPINA. Hardware modifications for dealing with output and torque include reinforced front and rear axle differentials,high-strength output and drive shafts and a high-torque transmission gear unit in addition to proprietary transmission technologies.

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EXHAUST SYSTEM

The stainless steel exhaust system which was developed in collaboration with Akrapovič is 18 lbs lighter in comparison to its predecessor. The two elliptical double tailpipes, are typical of ALPINA. The resonant, sporty sound of the exhaust system is controlled by an intelligent exhaust valve. This offers the driver the possibility to influence the sound experience via the Drive Performance Control and facilitates the balancing act between emotional soundtrack and long-distance comfort. In Comfort mode the exhaust valve remains closed up to 2500 rpm, beyond which it opens depending on engine load and rpm. In Sport mode, however, the valve is permanently open and the B3 Bi-Turbo thrills with its distinctive aural character under hard acceleration – when additionally selecting Sport (S) or Manual (M) Shift Mode the exhaust will deliver an occasional burble on the overrun.

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CHASSIS

The suspension set-up of the new B3 Bi-Turbo provides great ride-quality and comfort while simultaneously offering sharp and dynamic handling. The adaptive ALPINA sport suspension uses electronically adjustable dampers in collaboration with performance springs, bump stops and stabilizers to maintain agility and comfort. The system allows the driver to use the Drive Performance Control (Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, Sport+) to select the suspension setting and driving dynamics to match his mood.

The 20“ CLASSIC wheels with low profile MICHELIN Pilot Super Sport tires, an additional strut brace located in front of the engine and subtle adjustments to camber, toe-in and elastokinematics are responsible for achieving very neutral and predictable handling that is typical of ALPINA.

The Drive Performance Control settings also influence other parameters which effect driving dynamics, such as the electric power steering (Servotronic) and the driving stability control (DSC and DTC) system. The latter is subject to a software coding which takes into account the specifics of the ALPINA suspension and chassis.

The Variable Sports Steering from BMW, which comes as standard, has a progressive steering rack providing steering stability at high speeds but which requires significantly less steering input (turns of the wheel) when manoeuvring and parking. Deceleration is taken care of by an 18“ high-performance Brembo brake system with 370mm discs at the front and 345mm discs at the rear. Aluminium callipers (4-piston on front axle, 2-piston on rear axle) painted in blue and with ALPINA lettering, in conjunction with high-performance pads, ensure fading stability and optimal pedal feedback.

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ALL-WHEEL DRIVE

The optional all-wheel drive (not available in RHD markets) system offers even more traction and active safety in every and any driving situation. It exploits the technical potential of BMW’s xDrive system and its intelligent and dynamic distribution of drive power which continuously and fully variable distributes torque between the front and rear axle within milliseconds.

The torque distribution algorithm communicates with the ALPINA DME and the adaptive suspension system to increase driving dynamics and agility, particularly during high lateral acceleration, creating unexpected sporty and neutral handling despite all-wheel drive. The new BMW ALPINA B3 Bi-Turbo with all-wheel drive is the fastest accelerating car ever to come out of Buchloe, capable of sprinting from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.0 seconds which is a sub 4 second 0-60mph time!. Besides ensuring optimal traction during acceleration, the system also permanently monitors a wide range of sensory inputs – for example steering angle, lateral acceleration, yaw angle and speed – to distribute torque so as to achieve optimum propulsion and safety for example on snow or to counteract sudden changes in road surface friction.

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DESIGN & EQUIPMENT

The 20” ALPINA CLASSIC wheels, used for the first time on a BMW ALPINA 3 Series model, always look great. The functional design of the front spoiler ensures the effective flow of air to the cooling system and the brake air ducts. In combination with the rear spoiler (Saloon), this achieves excellent aerodynamic properties, considerably reducing uplift almost to zero and contributing significantly to high-speed stability.

The new B3 Bi-Turbo comes with an extensive list of equipment as standard, including leather upholstery, electrically adjustable heated sports seats, automatic climate control and xenon headlights. The interior is dominated by refined materials and offers an exclusive ambience. The door sills, floor mats, emblems in the seatbacks, instrumentation and a hand stitched sports steering wheel in the finest LAVALINA leather make discreet references to the car’s exclusive origins.

Alpina offers an endless customization program outside the US and truly make a car to an individual possible.

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