2003 Alpina B3 S review and pictures

Posted on Wednesday, 25 October 2006 , 07:10:13 byEmil

Filed under Alpina

Alpina B3 S

ALPINA created the B3 S, a model that features a 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine, a model that is already familiar from the predecessor version. The average consumption of the BMW ALPINA B3 S Saloon is 10.9-liter/100 km and the CO2 emissions 261 g/km. For the aerodynamics, the carmaker used the wind tunnel and the test track from MICHELIN. ALPINA managed to create an electronic control system for the ZF automatic transmission in all BMW ALPINA cars, offering a new dimension of driving an automatic car - ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC. When it is selected, the gear currently in use is fixed. By touching one of the two switch buttons integrated into the reverse side of the steering wheel, the driver can shift up or down using the right and left buttons. In SWITCH-TRONIC mode, the torque converter lock-up clutch is normally closed and this way it produces the minimum of power loss through the converter.

With ALPINA's emphasis on ever-continuing innovation, the new B3 S" six-cylinder engine, already familiar from the predecessor model, underwent a thorough revision.

It now features the proven in-line six with 3.4 instead of 3.3 litres, achieved by deploying a crankshaft with an increase in bore, rising to 87mm. In order to maintain superior running smoothness, ALPINA places much emphasis on reducing the movement of free masses. In this respect, extremely light pistons as well as a newly developed intake runner have been used in conjunction with a new torsional-vibration damper, sustaining permanent revs of up to 7200 rpm with ease.

Environment

The ALPINA R&D engineers pay just as much attention to environmental aspects as they do to superior power output. Average consumption of the BMW ALPINA B3 S Saloon (EC norm) is a mere 10.9 litres/ 100 km. CO2 emissions amount to 261 g/km.

An elaborate, twin-tube exhaust system with a stainless steel exhaust manifold, heated lambda probes, and EMITEC metal carriers guarantee prime emission characteristics.

Aerodynamics

The front and rear spoilers combine to deliver a drag coefficient of only 0.29 despite the considerable tyre width. MICHELIN's test track and the BMW wind tunnel were at ALPINA's disposal for the aerodynamic development of the BMW ALPINA B3 S.

Switch-Tronic

In co-operation with ZF and BOSCH, ALPINA has developed an electronic control system for the ZF automatic gearbox in BMW ALPINA automobiles, offering a new, more sporting dimension of driving an automatic car - ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC.

The two driving programmes, Automatic and SWITCH-TRONIC, constitute the ideal basis for this driving style in any kind of situation.

Automatic-program: Offers a perfectly matched programme for relaxed automatic driving, changing gears according to driving style, torque and performance characteristics. Additionally, a more dynamic driving style is possible without having to resort to the use of kick-down. The optimum programme character in each case is automatically selected based on the current driving situation, road conditions, and the individual driving style - in other words, a programme which can adapt to all conditions within a split second, if necessary. It increases not only the ease of operation and road safety, but also reduces fuel consumption at the same time.

SWITCH-TRONIC-program: When selecting the SWITCH-TRONIC- programme, the gear currently in use is fixed. By touching one of the two switch buttons integrated into the reverse side of the steering wheel, the driver can shift up or down using the right and left buttons, respectively.

The shift in gear comes immediately and without interruption of traction force. The gear is then held until the driver chooses another gear by switching at the steering wheel - as with the "Formula 1" semi-automatic gearboxes. Therefore, the driver changes gears deliberately in the same way as he would with a manual gear, thus always having an active and own choice of gear.

In this way, the advantage of engine braking can be used, it can be downshifted prior to entering a bend, and the gear can be fixed when driving on mountain roads so that unnecessary shifting up and down is avoided. Because a gear can be selected immediately regardless of throttle position, the car can be accelerated without delay, important in overtaking manoeuvres where lifting the throttle on approaching the vehicle in front would produce an upshift in an ordinary automatic. Whilst in SWITCH-TRONIC mode, the torque converter lock-up clutch is normally closed, producing the minimum of power loss through the converter.