Long term tests

Alpina D3

Roger Green sings the Alpina's praises, but still wants more power. No surprises there, then...

The more time I spend in the D3, the more I prefer its simple centre console to BMW’s fiddly iDrive system where a single chunky knob controls everything.

Take the radio, for example. An on/off/volume dial, half a dozen preset buttons and a switch for flicking between bands means you can change stations the very moment Jeremy Vine opens his mouth – even if you’re in the middle of a full-on assault of your favourite B-road. Try doing that with iDrive and you risk a BM/hedgerow interface moment.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

I don’t miss BMW’s climate control, either. The two dials that set the level of chill and breeze in the D3 rarely need to be adjusted, and even when they do, a small twist has everything sorted again.

On top of all that, the Alpina’s dash layout looks so much more integrated than the screen-and-knob set-up. No, there’s no satnav, but for the odd day when a map really won’t do, a £99 TomTom suckered to the windscreen does the job perfectly.

This is all good news, because if you want to add options to a D3 you’re landed with a £1500 charge before you even start, as the car then becomes a ‘special order’. And nothing you could add to a D3 would make it any better for winding up the nearest Mini JCW (preferably one driven by our art director, Paul Lang) at an evo trackday. Well, OK, maybe an extra 50bhp wouldn’t go amiss, as the D3’s grip-to-grunt ratio favours the Michelins, preventing you from fully exploiting the chassis. But in the wet, it’s a completely different story, and that’s why I’ll be praying for rain on our next trackday outing.

Running Costs

Date acquiredJanuary 2009
Total mileage6872
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month1269
MPG this month37.1

Most Popular

Cupra Leon eHybrid 2020 review – are hybrids and hot hatchbacks still mutually exclusive?
Cupra

Cupra Leon eHybrid 2020 review – are hybrids and hot hatchbacks still mutually exclusive?

Cupra’s hybrid hot hatch isn’t really sure what it wants to be – wait for the regular Cupra instead
16 Oct 2020
Range Rover D350 Autobiography 2020 review – new straight-six diesel a great fit
Land Rover Range Rover

Range Rover D350 Autobiography 2020 review – new straight-six diesel a great fit

The Range Rover’s new powertrain improves an admittedly aging package, but age doesn’t inhibit regality and it still has that in excess
17 Oct 2020
454bhp Ford Mustang Mach 1 to go on sale in the UK
Ford Mustang

454bhp Ford Mustang Mach 1 to go on sale in the UK

Ford has brought back the Mach 1 to the Mustang range after 17 years, and it’s officially coming to the UK
16 Oct 2020
2020 Volkswagen Golf R set for November 4th reveal
Volkswagen Golf R

2020 Volkswagen Golf R set for November 4th reveal

The new Mk8 VW Golf R is gearing up to join the Arteon R and Tiguan R
15 Oct 2020