BMW Alpina D3 - Diesel For Connoisseurs


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For our 'der Reflector' press review on the Alpina D3, we appraised three seperate tests. And the analogies in the outcomes prove them true. But, some statements should be commented on since they are only half truths. The first relates to the weaknesses below 2000 rpm. From an objective point it is a flaw. And considering that Alpina is known for perfectly engineered engines, such unanimous criticisms are disappointing. Otherwise we already sensed a turbo powered Saab 9-5 Aero would be more fun to drive than an Audi A6 with 4.2 litre engine and a full 50 horses more. Not despite the turbo hole, but because of that - even though it also was matter of sound.

Of course, in acceleration the Swede didn't have a snowball's chance in hell against the Audi V8. Prospective buyers shouldn't nonetheless be put off by the supposed deficiency and check out the standard Bimmers as well as the Alpina. The D3 is definitely not the right choice when the power lack at lower revs strikes one as annoying. But maybe it is the extra push when the charger sets in that may seduce some into opting for the D3. In any event it would be a subjective perception. Objectively the unbalanced power output is adverse. The blue dials, typical of Alpina, were bashed by 'auto motor und sport' and 'Auto Zeitung'. Both deem the gauges hard to read. However the handicap is not the colour of the faces alone but also the one of the idles: Red. The combination simply lacks contrast. The BMW instruments feature white hands on a black background, a good combination. And the numbers on the Alpina dials appear a bit smaller than the standard ones.

There are a few more points that the testers did not gave away - but the things remain an ergonomic disaster. Nonetheless, there's a difference between reading a water meter once a year and a wrist watch ten times a day. The more you are familiar with an instrument, the less you really read the rates off and the more you compare what you see with pictures in your mind. Reading your car's speedo is more checking the position of the idle than detecting the number at its end. You know what it looks like when you drive 50, 70 or 100, the numbers themselves become less decisive in the course of time. That's to say it's more annoying when you're not accustomed to them. And, there's a remedy. But only 'ams' mentioned that speeds can be displayed on the onboard computer in between the round gauges.


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