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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

Was driving down the M6 Toll the other day and flying down the
fast lane was a red E46 B3 3.3 Alpina! It looked ace!

My question is, what's so special about a B3? What does B3
stand for?

Many thanks
 

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I'm not sure what the model numbers with the Alpina's stand for.
I think Alpina basically tweak the BMW engines, add their own bumper/body kit touches and interior, I think they're very high-spec as standard.

I suppose they're the BMW equivalent of AMG models of Merc's.
 

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Its Alpina's 3.3litre engine based on the BMW 6 cyl. They are fitted with Different cams, mahle pistons bigger throttle body etc
They are about .5second to 60 mph slower than an E46 M3..:D
I do believe it's based on the old E36 M3 lump but may be wrong. Subtle styling, usually high spec as already been stated and a pretty damn good car. I seem to remember them opening them out to 3.4 litres later on, but I might have just made that up.
 

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The thinking man's M3. I was keeping an eye out for one a few months ago but no tidy ones turned up.

Engine/Gearbox
The B3 3.3 and B3S engine is based on the S52B32 engine from the US-spec E36 M3 3.2 with 240 hp which has a regular M50 intake and hydraulic valve lifters. The cylinder head and the single-VANOS system have more in common with the regular M50 engine than any M-engine. Alpina have increased the bore to 86.4mm as well as a longer stroke (94mm). The cylinderhead is tuned in traditional fashion as well a new exhaust manifold. Extremely light pistons as well as a newly developed crankshaft have been used in conjunction with a new torsional-vibration damper, sustaining permanent revs of up to 7200 rpm with ease. The engine produces 280 bhp at 6100 rpm and a torque of 335 Nm at 4300 rpm. The new B3 is also very frugal, only 9,9 litre/100 km in mixed driving conditions

The standard gearbox is a Getrag six-speed unit but the five-speed Switch-Tronic box is available as an option.
 

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I have a B3S touring. :D

As above, it is based on the 3.2 US spec M3 engine.

With a longer stroke and euro M3 bore (for the 3.4 'S' version). It has 300bhp (305bhp for LHD) and 269ft/lbs.

The head had about 10hours of manual porting work done on it and the blueprinting is thorough. The exhaust is a custom stainless item with metal cats. A lot of other sutble mods were made (inlet manifold, air box etc etc).

Very happy with it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Switch-Tronic?

Guys,

I notice on nearly every websites that are selling these B3 3.3, wether it's BMW, Autotrader or Ebay, they all state a 'switch-tronic' box. What is this? Is this flappy paddles or not?

Bare with me, I'm just starting to get into quick BMW's!
 

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Guys,

I notice on nearly every websites that are selling these B3 3.3, wether it's BMW, Autotrader or Ebay, they all state a 'switch-tronic' box. What is this? Is this flappy paddles or not?

Bare with me, I'm just starting to get into quick BMW's!
Switchtronic gives you the choice of leaving everything to the semi-automatic box itself, or selecting your own gear using either the regular lever or small buttons behind the steering wheel spokes - right for up-shifts, left to change down.

don't alpinas have double glazing too?
No, optional extra more likely or standard on their big boaty cars possibly :D

I've seen and worked on a 750i E38 with double glazing, HEAVY windows :eek
 

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I'll post a link to the pic on the alpina register later.

the switch.tronic box is great. A smooth auto which holds lower gears if you put your foot down. In manual mode it holds whatever gear you select unless the revs hit the redline Or drop to stall point. If you push the kickdown button past full throttle the box will shift to the lowest gear and will hold until max revs at 7200 through every gear.
 

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Bruce - did you have any issues with insurance? I've heard people saying that they struggled with it as many companies don't have it on their database?

Interested as I think I'll change my car for either an E46 M3 or an B3. There seem to be a few kicking about for reasonable money these days.
 

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It wasn't a big issue for me. My existing insurer swapped my policy over from my previous 325ti (compact) and charged me an extra £50 per year. Not bad for a grp 20 car.

Other owners have had some difficulty but there are companies that will provide reasonably priced cover. Explaining what the car is and that it isn't an import takes a little patience. :)
 
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