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

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

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
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/ferrari/201950/new-ferrari-roma-612bhp-198mph-gt-car-joins-the-range
Ferrari

New Ferrari Roma: 612bhp, 198mph GT car joins the range

Ferrari has expanded its GT car range with the V8 powered Ferrari Roma
14 Nov 2019
Visit/maserati/granturismo/201792/maserati-granturismo-zeda-run-out-model-revealed
Maserati GranTurismo

Maserati GranTurismo Zéda run-out model revealed

It’s out with the old, in with the new as the final GranTurismo paves the way for Maserati’s ambitious electrified future
12 Nov 2019
Visit/mclaren/201626/mclaren-elva-revealed-new-open-top-speedster-adds-to-top-tier-ultimate-series
McLaren

McLaren Elva revealed – new open-top speedster adds to top-tier Ultimate Series

It’s the lightest McLaren Automotive model yet, packs 803bhp and will cost from just under £1.5m
13 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019