Alpina aims high with new B3 sa­loon

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - CLASSIFIED -

Alpina has re­vealed its new B3 in sa­loon form — fol­low­ing on from the re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of the es­tate “Tour­ing” model.

Based on the BMW 3 Series, it’s me­chan­i­cally iden­ti­cal to its es­tate sta­ble­mate. This means it’s pow­ered by the same 3.0-litre straight­six tur­bocharged petrol en­gine, with power sent to all four wheels via an eight­speed au­to­matic gear­box.

Though it does lose a lit­tle prac­ti­cal­ity in its sa­loon form, a re­duc­tion in weight means a slight boost in per­for­mance — with 0-60mph now cov­ered in 3.6 rather than 3.7 sec­onds, and top speed up to 188mph from 186mph. It’s also likely to be a lit­tle more ag­ile in the cor­ners, too.

Ex­te­rior en­hance­ments to the car in­clude re­vised bumpers, the ad­di­tion of a quad-exit ex­haust sys­tem, and Alpina brand­ing on the front grille.

A set of 19-in al­loy wheels is fit­ted as stan­dard, which can be op­tion­ally up­graded to 20-in units.

In­side the car, very lit­tle changes from the reg­u­lar 3 Series — though a re­trimmed steer­ing wheel now fea­tures an Alpina logo and the firm’s own but­ton shifters in place of pad­dles for man­ual con­trol of gear changes.

Founded in 1965, Alpina works closely with BMW when de­vel­op­ing its ve­hi­cles. Though a large part of ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion takes part in the lat­ter’s fa­cil­i­ties, the for­mer then takes the half-fin­ished cars to add its own touches.

But the firm is more than just a tuner, with the Ger­man Min­istry of Trans­port recognisin­g Alpina as a sep­a­rate maker. It sells fewer than 100 cars an­nu­ally in the UK.

Or­der books for the Alpina B3 sa­loon will open in the first quar­ter of 2020, with de­liv­er­ies begin­ning in the mid­dle of the year.

The X-Trail is a big deal for Nis­san, the brand’s best-sell­ing model world­wide.

Here, we’re look­ing at an up­dated ver­sion of the third­gen­er­a­tion model, which con­tin­ues to of­fer space for seven, smart tech­nol­ogy un­der the skin and an up­dated range of pow­er­trains.

Un­der the bon­net, the core en­gine is now a perky but fru­gal 1.7-litre dCi 150 diesel, avail­able with ei­ther 2WD or 4WD and a 6-speed man­ual gear­box.

This unit de­liv­ers plenty of pulling power and is de­cently re­fined, so should be at home on or off the beaten track. Buy­ers can also opt for a 1.3-litre DIG-T petrol pow­er­plant.

De­sign-wise, this Nis­san has al­ways been noted for its sculpted and mus­cu­lar styling, with chis­elled lines, high wheel arches and rather el­e­gant curves on the bon­net.

All of those char­ac­ter­is­tics re­main, but since the 2017 restyle have been com­ple­mented by a more dis­tinc­tive front end that show­cases the brand’s V-mo­tion grille, flanked by sleek head­lamps.

As usual on an X-Trail, there’s the op­tion of third row seat­ing if you want it: most X-Trail cus­tomers do.

The lug­gage bay can be por­tioned into up­per and lower ar­eas in a sim­ple sin­gle­handed move.

This split-cargo so­lu­tion en­ables the user to store large items be­low while cre­at­ing a fully us­able up­per load sur­face for smaller, lighter items.

Over­all, this re­vised third­gen­er­a­tion X-Trail of­fers much more than its pre­de­ces­sors ever could.

For more than two decades, Toy­ota’s Aven­sis pro­vided cus­tomers in the medium range Mon­deo seg­ment with a safe, con­ser­va­tive set of wheels.

This post-2014 facelifted MK3 ver­sion was the last to be pro­duced be­fore this model ceased sell­ing in this coun­try.

Let’s check it out as a used buy.

Toy­ota didn’t want to of­fer its hy­brid tech­nol­ogy in this car, but it did pro­vide buy­ers with a down­sized diesel, a 1.6-litre D-4D unit co-de­vel­oped with BMW.

If funds per­mit, go for a 2.0-litre D-4D diesel, a car ca­pa­ble of 62mph in 9.5s en route to 124mph, along with po­ten­tial ef­fi­ciency that sees this de­riv­a­tive man­age 62.8mpg on the com­bined cy­cle and 119g/ km of CO2.

At the wheel it feels plush and spa­cious. Move to the rear seat and you’ll find that ac­com­mo­da­tion is re­spectable by the stan­dards of the Mon­deo class.

Out back, boot re­mains the same size as be­fore, 509-litres of ca­pac­ity in the sa­loon vari­ant.

Toy­ota knows that the medium range mar­ket is closely fought and highly pop­u­lated, with buy­ing de­ci­sions often com­ing down to the small­est de­tail.

This much im­proved third­gen­er­a­tion model got more of these kinds of de­tails right – the qual­ity cabin, the ex­tra re­fine­ment, the slicker multi-me­dia sys­tem.

Which makes it a lot harder to ig­nore when you know that it comes at a price that’s go­ing to rep­re­sent good value on the used mar­ket.

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