Alpina shows off updated 355hp XD3

Alpina's diesel SUV gets mild hybrid tech, improved handling and "a distinctly more dynamic presence"

By Matt Bird / Thursday, June 10, 2021 / Loading comments

It was back in 2013 that the Alpina XD3 first saw the light of day, taking an X3 35d and turning it into a car capable of 0-62mph in less than five seconds. It perhaps wasn’t a traditional Buchloe Beemer, but it was easy to see the commercial appeal of the project given the success of earlier D3s. The PH review read as you might have expected it to: “The nicest thing we can say about the XD3 is that it’s probably not us… Apparently Sytner can’t get them in quick enough to satisfy demand.”

It seems that demand has continued even through the vicissitudes of fortune endured by compression ignition in the past eight years, as Alpina has continued to make and sell the XD3. This latest one, an LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) update, introduces mild hybrid technology into the mix, promising the holy trinity of benefits for a larger diesel engine: improved throttle response, greater efficiency, and more power.

In fact, the numbers are pretty startling. The most recent XD3 made 333hp and 516lb ft, which was plenty to be getting on with. Thanks to hybridisation, the twin-turbo straight-six is now churning out 355hp and a monster 538lb ft, meaning 4.9 seconds to 62mph and 158mph. In an X3 that weighs 2,155kg. The mild hybrid system means the engine “can operate in an optimised load range” at constant speeds, with benefits for efficiency. On the WLTP test, the new XD3 is rated at 203g/km and 36.6mpg.

The chassis modifications are arguably just as interesting as an engine with more torque than an M3. As is becoming Alpina tradition, a new Comfort+ mode has been introduced for the recalibrated dampers, with stiffer, shorter springs ensuring the XD3 should still handle. Alpina’s own take on xDrive aims to deliver “dynamic, agile handling”, assisted by Performance Control. That brakes individual wheels, working with the rear limited-slip diff to minimise understeer.

Elsewhere steering updates promise an “intuitive response in all driving”, no doubt aided by the bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres. Standard wheels are 20-inch; those who really want to test how good Comfort+ and their parallel parking skills are will be pleased to know that 22s are also available. Any customer opting for those might want the larger rotors (395mm front, 398mm rear) that come with an optional high performance brake system, too. Last thing you want seen in public is your tiny disc.

As for the design, the keen aren’t going to need the badges to mark this out as an Alpina product. Quad exhausts? Check. Ornate multispoke wheels? Check. Pinstriping? Like you even had to ask. Perhaps the Alpina trademarks don’t sit at their comfiest on the X3, but that’s hardly going to be a concern. Quite frankly, with the same Lavalina leather available as recently tested on the B3 and D3, nobody will give a damn about the outside of their car once inside.

Alpina says that right-hand drive XD3s will arrive from November, with orders being taken now. The price? £67,950, before adding in the big wheels, big brakes and expensive leather. The best never did come cheap. But fear not, those after an Alpina-modified BMW SUV – this XD3 is one of the first, for sale at the UK HQ in Nottingham, for £28,000. And it accelerates just as fast as the new one…

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