This 2002 BMW Alpina B3 S Touring is a rare and bespoke version of the E46-era 3-series. It is powered by a 300bhp 3.4-litre straight-six engine, driven through the rear wheels via a five-speed ZF automatic transmission with Alpina’s Switch-Tronic shift buttons. This is a well-loved and well-used car, with the odometer now showing 115,000 miles from new.
BMW never offered a Touring version of the E46-era M3 in production form, but Alpina believed there was a niche demand for an estate car with performance beyond a standard 330i. In crafting the B3 S series of cars, the company built upon the S52B32 engine, boring the block to 3.3 litres, as well as fitting a bespoke cylinder head, crankshaft, camshafts, connecting rods, pistons, and new intake and exhaust manifolds. The exhaust system was upgraded and the engine management system reprogrammed.
Compared to the 330i, the B3 S models featured stiffer springs and modified dampers, as well as upgraded brake pads. The rear wheel width was also increased to a nine-inch section, and the package was rounded off with very subtle bodywork changes including the trademark Alpina front splitter.
The Touring is by some margin the rarest variant of the B3 S, with only 116 built and only eight examples in right-hand drive, according to the Alpina Archive.
This UK-specification car was completed at the BMW factory in late 2002 and was subsequently sent to Alpina in Buchloe for its hand-built conversion to B3 S specification. It was completed in early 2003, delivered to the UK, and first registered in March 2003. There are just three previous registered keepers on the log book, and the vendor has owned the car for the last five years, covering some 15,000 miles in that time.
Its bodywork is finished in the original Steel Grey Metallic paint, which presents in excellent condition. There are minor stone chips to the front splitter, as well as a small paint blemish around the edge of the nearside front air intake. A tiny dent above one wheel arch is also pointed out in the media gallery.
The exterior equipment includes xenon headlights as well as factory-fitted rear parking sensors. Filling the wheel arches is a set of familiar 18-inch Alpina alloy wheels, which are in good order with only a few kerb grazes on the offside rims.
Its interior is lavishly finished, with special-order black Nappa leather throughout, edged with silver piping and embellished with Alpina stitching in silver thread. The electrically-adjustable sport seats feature three-stage heating, as well as position memory settings for the driver’s side.
Ahead of the driver is a hand-stitched three-spoke sport steering wheel, featuring the Switch-tronic button thumb controls. The instrument cluster has a blue background fascia, with the needles in a contrasting red. Trim inserts on the dashboard, centre console, door cards and gear lever are finished in anthracite wood.
Cabin equipment includes the BMW Professional media system with satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, a six-disc CD changer, and climate control. The floor mats and boot liner are embellished with bespoke stitching in the familiar green and blue colours, and the sill cover kick plates also feature the Alpina logo.
The car benefits from a comprehensive service history, with the most recent scheduled maintenance being carried out in October 2019, including renewal of the engine oil and filters. There are 18 stamps in the original maintenance record, including the important running-in service at just shy of 1,200 miles.
Its last MOT test was on 28 October 2019 at 115,079 miles, which resulted in a pass with a few advisories. Slight corrosion was noted on the brake pipes, as well as on the rear coil springs, and the tester also recorded an engine light remaining on after ignition. The vendor reports that these items have now been attended to, including a faulty sensor that triggered the check light.
The alloy wheels are fitted with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres, in size 225/40 ZR18 at the front and 255/35 ZR18 at the rear. The tyres are all in great condition with a good level of tread remaining.
Accompanying the car is the complete original literature pack housed in the Alpina leather wallet, including the owner’s handbook, B3 S supplement, maintenance record, service directory and technical glossary.
This BMW Alpina B3 S Touring is a well-presented and highly collectable modern classic. Offering a great blend of comfort, performance and practicality, it is a genuine factory-built model that is ready to delight a new owner.
Summary of service history:
24 Jan 2003 – Pre-delivery
21 Mar 2003 – 1,193 miles
27 Jul 2003 – 10,239 miles
13 Feb 2004 – 24,703 miles
8 Oct 2004 – 38,858 miles
5 Jul 2005 – 52,613 miles
29 Sep 2006 – 66,181 miles
4 Jan 2008 – 71,328 miles
3 Jan 2009 – 74,571 miles
2 Jan 2010 – 77,780 miles
8 Jan 2011 – 81,413 miles
7 Jan 2012 – 85,123 miles
5 Jan 2013 – 87,641 miles
3 Jan 2014 – 89,982 miles
17 Feb 2015 – 99,153 miles
21 May 2015 – 102,292 miles
13 Jul 2017 – 105,891 miles
22 Nov 2018 – 110,843 miles
24 Oct 2019 – 115,030 miles