At any motor show, it's pretty much guaranteed that Alpina will emerge with a lightly enhanced BMW to make everything else look a bit daft. And here we are again - the Defender will grab the headlines and BMW's own concept is certainly bold, but it's the Alpina B3 that probably appeals most as an actual car. It follows the usual formula, which is no bad thing: take a flagship 3 Series, make it more luxurious, more dynamic and more powerful, paint it a cool colour and admire the result.
There's been a great deal of speculation around the latest G20-era Alpina models, with all those questions now able to be answered. Most interesting is the engine, because this B3 uses the new 2,993cc S58 straight-six- the one destined for the next M3 - and not the 2,998cc B58 as found in the Supra, Z4 and M340i. So it makes its peak power of 462hp higher and for longer than any of those B58 cars (from 5,000-7,000rpm), with torque of 516lb ft from 3,000rpm. Alpina says the B3 is capable of more than 186mph, and that this is the first Buchloe product designed with the 0-124mph sprint in mind; there isn't a time yet, although a "breathtaking" experience is promised.
Modifications over the M340i xDrive are predictably expansive. Alpina believes a B3 delivers "superior road holding, balanced handling and pronounced agility" over its (very good) predecessor thanks to wider tracks, greater suspension and chassis rigidity and more negative camber up front. There are new springs from Eibach, "enhanced" variable sports steering, a bespoke map for the automatic box (with proper paddles, at last!), 395mm front brake discs and an optional forged 20-inch wheel - saving 14kg in unsprung mass over regular rims.
Cosmetically, the B3 is marked out by the usual range of Alpina enhancements, including new intakes, four exhausts and reworked splitters to improve the aerodynamic balance, plus the Alpina Green and Alpina Blue colours that are unique to its cars. Lavalina leather is smothered over the cabin, with all manner of colour choices said to be available.
For the German market, Alpina says the car will be available to order from the first quarter of 2020 as a Touring, with deliveries commencing in the summer. We'd expect UK B3s to follow soon after, hopefully at least in time to show off the benefits of xDrive on slippery autumn roads...