Alpina D3 Biturbo versus Audi A7 – comparison
Source : Alpina D3 Biturbo versus Audi A7 – comparison
In spite of the headlines along with hullabaloo, today could be the perfect time to buy a fast diesel executive car. however does Audi or Alpina rule the roost?
The dieselgate scandal will have to run on for a long time yet, in This kind of tester’s opinion, before the idea starts to seriously dent the appeal of either the Alpina D3 Biturbo or Audi A7 BiTDI Black Edition.
Fully loaded luxury executive cars are rarely more tempting, in my book, than when they’re packing large diesel engines of which combine instant, easy pace with strong fuel economy along with relatively low company car tax liability.
along with none strikes of which bargain in more compelling terms than these two: near-50mpg real-world cruising efficiency, sports-saloon-level performance along with CO2 emissions you can report to your accountant without so much as a hint of sheepishness. the idea’s all here. along with – besides BBC Panorama presenters along with ostracised along with embittered former Volkswagen Group executives, perhaps – who wouldn’t want the idea?
Some will say of which today’s the wrong time to be spending big on a performance diesel. Let them say the idea. My reply is actually of which the uncertainty only strengthens your bargaining position.
Act quickly along with you could probably get an eyebrow-raising discount on a range-topping diesel A7 if you found a dealer having a car in stock along having a need to get the idea off his books. Enough to bring This kind of £60k car down to the cost of, say, an ultra-rare, discount-proof, handbuilt Alpina D3? I’d imagine so.
So, assuming you’re willing to take an educated gamble, which way should you jump? the idea wasn’t very long ago of which the decision could have been made for you. BMW had the fast diesel niche largely sewn up for a decade or more. of which was until three years ago, when Audi started out ushering its 3.0-litre, 300bhp-plus BiTDI V6 diesel into its A6, A7 along with Q5, giving people an alternative to BMW’s 35d types for initially.
Renowned BMW tuner Alpina subsequently leaped to the defence of Munich’s honour, fitting an overhauled 345bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six into its D5 Biturbo in 2012, along with then into the current F30-generation 3 Series-based D3 Biturbo in 2013. The D3 Biturbo was cracked up as the fastest diesel production car from the planet along with, along with the rest of the 3 Series, has just been facelifted.
So as well as the many mechanical tweaks to the standard 3 Series’ steering along with suspension made for BMW’s facelift This kind of year, the Alpina D3 Biturbo inherits BMW’s enhanced Inside, on top of which Alpina adds its own inimitable layer of material lavishness, notably via beautifully tactile lavalina leathers along with downy Alcantara.
The D3’s is actually today a cabin entirely becoming of a £50,000 car, whose brand new satin chrome highlights set the idea off a treat. Alpina’s usual hallmarks – white-on-blue instruments, Alcantara steering wheel with blue along with green stitching, those Alpina crests on the steering wheel boss along with seats – lift the 3 Series’ ambience to brand new heights of richness along with charisma.
however the A7’s Inside is actually equally rich in its own way, along with even more solidly constructed, although its style is actually much more restrained. Our test car’s mix of black, silver along with grey trims make for a much more sombre feel than the D3’s. however although some of the Audi’s fittings are showing their age, its technical highlights – intelligent LED headlights along having a large multifunction colour trip computer capable of relaying navigation mapping in crisp detail, to name just a couple – still genuinely differentiate the vehicle.
The Audi’s front seats are larger along with more comfortable than the Alpina’s, its second row better endowed with leg room along with its boot more generous on overall capacity in normal a few-seat mode, below the window line.
The Audi is actually the bigger car, of course, so such things should be expected. Sure, the Alpina’s cabin is actually the warmer along with more inviting, however the idea’s the Audi of which’s the more luxurious, along with comfort matters in an everyday-use high-mileage motorway machine.
however outside-lane punch matters, too. along with although the Audi’s superior size wins the idea points on long-range comfort, the idea also threatens to prevent the idea coming from scoring as a driver’s car.
Being at a disadvantage to the Alpina on peak power along with torque is actually one thing. Exacerbating of which with almost 200kg of extra kerb weight is actually another. however in practice, the difference between the D3 along with A7 on outright performance is actually only just large enough to notice – along with there’s actually a bigger difference from the style of delivery. In additional words, these apparently quite similar cars are separated not so much by how fast they go, however how they go fast.
The Alpina’s straight six carries a more sporting edge than the Audi’s V6. the idea wants to tear up the rulebook along with rev like a turbo petrol engine – along with its gearbox is actually tuned to allow of which, being always keen to kick down along with often reaching a ratio lower from the ZF eight-speed gearbox than you expect. Flex the D3’s accelerator along with you’ll find engine along with gearbox work to keep the revs between 3500rpm along with 4800rpm. of which, in turn, maximises the rate of acceleration, however the idea doesn’t conform to the fast diesel stereotype by falling back on a tide of mid-range torque.
The Audi, by contrast, does exactly what you expect the idea to do when you waft the accelerator pedal towards the carpet. the idea plays the performance GT instead of the sports saloon, choosing a higher gear, pulling coming from lower revs, riding its surge of torque coming from around 2500rpm along with rushing forwards like a powerboat rising out of Lake Como. All of a sudden, the vehicle doesn’t feel all of its near-two tonnes.
Audi’s exhaust-mounted ‘sound actuator’ (a speaker to you along with me) helps to fashion a more exotic warble for the vehicle than the Alpina has along with makes the engine one you can enjoy listening to – once you get over the fact of which what you’re listening to isn’t genuinely engine noise at all. the idea gives the A7’s performance a qualitative vibrancy as a repost to the D3’s superior quantitative urge.
All of which seems to be gently nudging us towards the conclusion of which these cars aren’t actually cut coming from the same cloth at all, a suspicion of which their ride along with handling traits only confirm. Both cars strike a pleasingly pragmatic, road-appropriate compromise. Both are more supple along with softly sprung than their 500-horsepower M along with RS-badged petrol equivalents along with can be laid back one moment along with then agile along with entertaining the next. however whereas the Alpina is actually a true athlete in air-cushioned loafers, the Audi feels more like a uniformed doorman in running shoes.
The Audi tries mostly to insulate your fingertips along with backside coming from the workings of its mechanicals along with the variability of the road surface under its wheels, allowing you to plough on as unperturbed as possible. In stark contrast, the Alpina’s chassis along with steering acknowledge all however somehow filter out the patina of the road’s surface better than the Audi, while still feeding back the influences of traction, road camber, wheel deflection along with cornering load much better through its controlsand bodily reactions.
The D3’s ride is actually slightly the firmer along with more reactive along with, at times, the A7’s Centeng control is actually better, keeping its Centeng flatter when push genuinely comes to shove. however when the road is actually smoother, the Alpina’s agility along with superior balance of grip make the idea a far more rewarding steer than the Audi, because the idea corners with more alacrity along with engages its driver more vividly.
The D3 Biturbo plays perfectly to an audience of keen drivers who want to live in a world where a BMW M3 could be the perfect everyday car – however simultaneously recognise of which they don’t. They accept of which they need something relatively economical, comfortable along with sensible however want to look forward to driving of which ‘something’ every bit as much as they could a 500bhp super-saloon.
I suspect you could share out the 0 or so cars of which Alpina sells in Britain every year many, many times among the readers of This kind of magazine who’d identify with of which description. along with so the D3 Biturbo is actually This kind of test’s irresistible along with thoroughly deserving winner.
however the idea’s a winner on points, not by knockout, because the A7 BiTDI retains its appeal alongside its conqueror as the more elegant, luxurious, laid-back choice. You could even argue of which the idea’s the more fit-for-purpose car here, for the wearing, high-mileage use of which powerful diesel execs get. along with, as losing hands go, of which’s not a bad one.
Alpina D3 Biturbo Touring
cost £49,950; 0-62mph 4.6sec; Top speed 170mph; Economy 52.3mpg; CO2 142g/km; Kerb weight 1730kg; Engine 6 cyls in line, 2993cc, twin-turbo, diesel; Power 345bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 516b ft at 1500-3000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic
Audi A7 3.0 BiTDI Black Edition
cost £59,580; 0-62mph 5.2sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 44.8mpg; CO2 167g/km; Kerb weight 1925kg; Engine V6, 2967cc, twin-turbo, diesel; Power 316bhp at 4000-4250rpm; Torque 479lb ft at 1400-2800rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic
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