Once vilified for their clunky and smelly nature, diesels are enjoying newfound popularity here in the U.S., and it’s easy to see why. Delivering hybrid-like gas mileage and lots of low-end torque, German automakers are making a big push increase diesel awareness. Once Americans learn more about cars like the BMW-based Alpina D3, diesel envy could reach a fever pitch.
The Alpina D3’s vitals tell most of the story here. The 3.0 liter twin-turbo inline-six churns out 345 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs of torque, which helps the BMW-based sedan or estate go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. That’s only four-tenths of a second slower than the 2013 Camaro SS coupe, and Alpina claims a top speed of 173 mph, faster than the Chevy muscle car.
That admirable performance is backed by a 53.3 mpg rating on the European testing cycle, which would translate to the low-40s here in the U.S., and an emissions rating of 139 g/km, which is about average overall despite all that horsepower and performance. Alpina, which works so closely with BMW that their methods and components are worked into Bimmer’s production lines, also added a subtle bodykit and wheels to help the new Alpina D3 stand out (though not quite as much as their 1980s 88 mpg concept car).
Performance of a muscle car with the fuel economy of a hybrid; these are the kinds of diesel cars Americans need to know about. Sure, the BMW 328d offers decent performance and 45 mpg from its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-banger, and other diesel BMWs are on their way, but the Alpina D3 really shows how diesel engines can shine with both fuel economy and performance. No compromises here.
Alas, the Alpina D3 is for Europe only, at least for now. Eventually though, these diesel rides will reach U.S. shores, one way or another.