Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo

Few tuners benefit from the kind of factory support that Alpina does, giving the pseudo-aftermarket firm nearly as much official status as BMW's own M division. And this is its latest product.

Set to debut, as expected, at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week is the new Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo, which you can consider, for all intents and purposes, the diesel M3 that BMW never built. While the outgoing D3 (which was Alpina's best-selling model) used a four-cylinder engine, Autocar reports that the new model packs a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo inline-six diesel to drive a respectable 345 horsepower but a mammoth 516 pound-feet of torque to either the rear wheels or all four through the optional availability of xDrive. (European buyers will also be able to choose between sedan and wagon bodystyles.)

The engine is the same as you'd find in the XD3 and D5 (Alpina's diesel performance versions of the X3 and 5 Series, respectively), but in the lighter 3 Series form can propel the D3 Bi-Turbo up to 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds and on to an Autobahn-crunching top speed of 173 mph. And as per Alpina tradition, visual cues are minimal, with a subtly optimized aero kit and 19- or available 20-inch alloy wheels. Unfortunately, the 7 Series-based B7 is the only Alpina we get on this side of the Atlantic, but an oil-drenched performance enthusiast can dream.