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      01-08-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
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BMW Alpina XD3 Review

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By CAR -

07 January 2014 15:00

This bling-tastic-looking Beemer is in fact the Alpina XD3. This is a little slice of history for Alpina: the first time they've sold a tuned, toned version of one of BMW's wildly successful 'X' SUV models.

So, is the XD3 any good? Could it even be the performance SUV dark horse, swiping attention from under the nose of the new Porsche Macan? Read on for the CAR review.

What's the point of Alpina building a hot rod diesel X3?

'It is intended for customers seeking the fastest diesel SUV available today', says Alpina of the XD3. Talk about niche! What next – a car aimed at people called Brian Simpkins?

But Alpina, which is the king of BMW fettlers, cares not. It has never courted volume. It’s not about ‘should we?’ but ‘can we?’ The question here was ‘can we make the X3 into a full-bore performance car?’ And the answer was yes. We can.

So, is it a fast car?

The XD3 is at once startlingly quick. From the X3 35d’s twin-turbo straight-six they’ve wrung an extra 37bhp (making 350) and 50lb ft of torque (for a whopping 516), and the latter makes the mid-range delivery borderline scary.

A whole second has been melted from the 0-62mph time, allowing you to arrive at the horizon 4.9sec after departure, and if you stay pinned you’ll see a rumoured 158mph, which is 9mph up on boggo. Exactly what you need from an upright school run chariot, naturally.

How has Alpina made this humdrum X3 perform like a madman?

Much of the extra urge is to do with improved airflow through the turbos, achieved via enlarged intake ducts, and a bigger intercooler with redesigned inlets and outlets.

The tweakers have also been at work on the eight-speed auto ’box, adding fresh hardware and a reworked torque converter to cope with that 516lb ft, and dusting the software for faster shifts and higher change-up points.

Sounds worryingly good so far...

Terrific, but can this lurchy four-wheel-drive chassis handle it? Alpina notes the ‘contradictory demands’ of comfort vs sporty handling, and nods to the latter with new electronic dampers and signature multi-spoked 20in wheels, while largely ignoring the former. Result: cattle-grid ride quality. Ouch.


To avoid further doubt, there’s the least subtle execution yet of Alpina badges and stripes, plus cabin stitching Liberace might have baulked at.

So while it’s high quality kit, this XD3 is neither the best of X3 nor the best of Alpina. For the life of us, we can't see the point, despite its extraordinary performance.

Bimmerpost gallery:
Alpina XD3 Bi-Turbo Debut at 2013 Geneva Auto Show

Alpina XD3 Bi-Turbo

Last edited by Cactus; 01-08-2014 at 11:26 AM.