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How much? £54,950
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2993cc 24v twin-turbodiesel straight-six, 350bhp @ 4000rpm, 516lb ft @ 1500-3000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Performance: 4.9sec 0-62mph, 158mph, 41.5mpg, 180g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1910kg/steel
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Handling

Rated 3 out of 53

Performance

Rated 4 out of 54

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 2 out of 52

Readers' rating

Rated 2 out of 52

Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

By Greg Fountain

First Drives

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.

>> Click here for CAR's review of the Alpina B3 BiTurbo

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.

Verdict

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.

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Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

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Brand0

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Brand0 says

RE: Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

 @ANTONYR - I may be wrong here but I thought Alpina ordered SE variants of the cars before doing their sutff to them, therefore the extras are Alpina items such as trim etc meaning that the price stated is pretty much what is paid unless one orderspink Alipna piping for the seats.  Besides, BMW is the cheapest to buy pound for pound when compared to Mercedes and especially Audi.

08 January 2014 10:44

 

antonyr

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antonyr says

RE: Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

 Oh that Alpina badge on the seats is nice  ha ha oh thats extra  I bet

08 January 2014 09:15

 

antonyr

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antonyr says

RE: Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

 Fools and their money !  Plus add afew extras that BMW  are so good at charging 3 times what anyone  else does and you up to £70.000 stupid I say

08 January 2014 09:14

 

Batty

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Batty says

RE: Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

That is preposterously quick! The photographed example is a rather fetching colour as well and the wheels are garish but not awful so I'd choose this happily over an X6. If I had to. There are so many other options however that it simply doesn't make sense.

@Brandy- The reason why it rides so poorly is the higher centre of gravity and the need for stiffer suspension to give the same sense of eagerness in driving as a "normal" car. Having said that, I wouldn't say most BMWs have a smooth ride.

07 January 2014 20:00

 

Brand0

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Brand0 says

RE: Alpina BMW XD3 (2014) CAR review

A bit of a waste IMO - but surely the D3 Touring has to be a close to claiming the 'best car in the real world' accolade?I can vouch for it's speed and ride (saloon) and both are ridiculously good.  Makes no sense that the X3 rides so poorly.

07 January 2014 16:23

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