The regular four-door, four-seat version has a 495-litre boot, with 1263 litres of storage if you fold the rear seats down, and impressive in-car tech and infotainment. However, we prefer the five-door Sport Turismo shooting brake bodystyle, which adds a fifth passenger seat, adds useful boot space and puts a little more notional fresh air between the car’s exterior styling and that of a current Porsche 911, which is no bad thing.
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You might look at an Alpina B3 and simply see just a BMW 3 Series. And to some owners, that will be exactly the point of an Alpina. It’s a personal pleasure, one to be enjoyed by thee owner and driver, a car that is less showy than Munich’s own take on a fast 3 Series, the BMW M3.
Alpina takes a BMW M340i (saloon or ‘Touring’ estate), complete with its four-wheel drive system, and inserts an Alpina-specific version of the M3’s S58 3.0-litre straight-six turbo, and installs its own suspension. That includes a wider track, a number of unique components, different geometry settings, and bespoke Eibach springs. The dampers and steering are standard M340i, but with Alpina’s own settings.
The result is something that is slightly softer and less immediate than an M3, but surpasses it as a GT, because in broad terms the B3 Touring is easily one of the most capable cars ever made. Day in, day out, whatever the weather, there’s almost no question to which it doesn’t provide an enthusiastic, convincing answer.