B3 / B5

Thinking of Buying one - ask your questions here.
Buying guides, Specific questions about a car, or about a particular model, ALPINA characteristics.

Moderators: Charles, neil, D4

Post Reply
Alex_B
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:14 pm
Location: London

B3 / B5

Post by Alex_B » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:51 pm

Having parted with my B10 earlier in the year I find myself thinking about another Alpina - but this time an estate car body with an automatic gearbox (I have moved to London and the South Circular is a pain).

Wondered if there might be some advice regarding the way in which the B3 and B5 models drive. This time I’m looking for something relatively recent (within the last three years, say), and with the growth in the size of 3 and 5 series BMWs I wondered if I need the bigger car this time. I am tall and have a higher BMI than I should, though, so appreciate the roomier cabins of bigger cars.

So here are my questions:

1) For those who have experience of driving 3s and 5s, what are they like relative to one another?

2) What are the newer automatic transmissions like? I’m not a fan of the slushy type of automatics, where you can feel lots of the power transformed right into heat.

3) Colour-wise, I’m fed up with black, white, silver, and grey colours. Drawn to Alpina Green, but are there reasons it should be avoided / another colour chosen in its place?

This will be a private purchase, so any factors relating to lease / company cars probably won’t come my way.

Thanks in advance :)
2012-2019: B10 no. 171, an Alpina blue saloon with a manual gearbox

bobbly
ALP
ALP
Posts: 183
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:33 pm
Location: Where the bucks are.

Re: B3 / B5

Post by bobbly » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:00 pm

Can't comment on ALPINA versions of any as I've stayed away from them, but driven plenty of recent 3's, 4's and 5's: in fact was in a 4 just last week. The 5 is a more rounded car, and far better designed and put together (I have a major issue with BMW's continual use of the manual handbrake on the 3/4 series autos but electric on the 5; try it and you'll see why the manual handbrake jars with the auto box and stop/start!). My feeling has long been that the F-series 3/4 series doesn't justify its price, whilst the 5 does.

The 5 doesn't feel particularly 'big' and they handle extremely well in standard BMW trim and the seating position feels more natural than its smaller sibling. The 5 touring is a thing of capacious beauty and I was sorely tempted to buy one after I had the use of one. Sense prevailed....as did the tight wallet. Load capacity of any 3 series touring is compromised in my opinion.

The 430d I had last week felt 'oversteered' as in far too light at the helm, with a major disconnect with the road even after I'd corrected the over-pressurised tyres as supplied. Never driven a 5 with this feeling. Every time I've driven an F-series 3/4 I've been relieved to get back into my own E9x as I find them more compelling and cohesive.

The current 8 speed auto is a thing of joy: a massive improvement over the previous 6 speed boxes. Quick and sharp up and down changes, efficient (most auto BMW's are 'cleaner' than their manual counterparts) and decent fun to drive in manual override when desired. Again as an example, I achieved well over 40mpg in the 430d auto last week at, 'ahem', motorway speeds and with a few judicious prods of the power pedal during overtaking and accelerating. I believe that similar to Porsche PDK, the latest version of the 8speed box on BMW's has a 'coasting' function, which further aids fuel economy.

Hope some of the above drivel helps.

CB 987
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:37 pm
Location: Wiltshire

Re: B3 / B5

Post by CB 987 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:19 am

I recently made the move to an F31 D3. I have driven F11/G31 (non-Alpina) and they don't feel that much larger from the driving seat, but clearing when parking they are!

The interior of the G31 is really a step up, when compared to the F31, but then so is the cost!

The D3 is my first auto and first diesel in 10 years. It follows a string of 6 cylinder, petrol, manual BMW's. So far I've been very impressed with the 8 speed auto, I can see why people rave about them. The buttons and manual mode, do make it more engaging to drive, but I still enjoy a proper manual.

When searching for mine, I was preferably looking for an F31 B3 in Alpina green, blue or perhaps grey, but with a contrasting interior (not black). But after doing some research, a green F31 B3 is rare car! I also had some slight time constraints, I ended up purchasing a black/black F31 D3. It has certainly grown on me, the spec, price and miles were right, so the colour combo was my compromise.

Just be prepared to wait sometime for the right colour, especially of you are looking for a touring over a saloon.

Best of luck!
F31 D3 #002

Alex_B
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:14 pm
Location: London

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Alex_B » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:17 pm

bobbly wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:00 pm
Can't comment on ALPINA versions of any as I've stayed away from them, but driven plenty of recent 3's, 4's and 5's: in fact was in a 4 just last week. The 5 is a more rounded car, and far better designed and put together (I have a major issue with BMW's continual use of the manual handbrake on the 3/4 series autos but electric on the 5; try it and you'll see why the manual handbrake jars with the auto box and stop/start!). My feeling has long been that the F-series 3/4 series doesn't justify its price, whilst the 5 does.

The 5 doesn't feel particularly 'big' and they handle extremely well in standard BMW trim and the seating position feels more natural than its smaller sibling. The 5 touring is a thing of capacious beauty and I was sorely tempted to buy one after I had the use of one. Sense prevailed....as did the tight wallet. Load capacity of any 3 series touring is compromised in my opinion.

The 430d I had last week felt 'oversteered' as in far too light at the helm, with a major disconnect with the road even after I'd corrected the over-pressurised tyres as supplied. Never driven a 5 with this feeling. Every time I've driven an F-series 3/4 I've been relieved to get back into my own E9x as I find them more compelling and cohesive.

The current 8 speed auto is a thing of joy: a massive improvement over the previous 6 speed boxes. Quick and sharp up and down changes, efficient (most auto BMW's are 'cleaner' than their manual counterparts) and decent fun to drive in manual override when desired. Again as an example, I achieved well over 40mpg in the 430d auto last week at, 'ahem', motorway speeds and with a few judicious prods of the power pedal during overtaking and accelerating. I believe that similar to Porsche PDK, the latest version of the 8speed box on BMW's has a 'coasting' function, which further aids fuel economy.

Hope some of the above drivel helps.
Thanks - yes, that’s helpful. It’s good to know some of the differences between the model ranges, particularly subjective things like how they drive.

I think that the greater load space and (I’d imagine) the rear seat accommodation would be important to me. Quite often have to transport large / bulky items, and although my E39 B10 saloon could take far more cargo than I’d ever thought could be put into it, there were some things that were never going to go into a saloon. And as I’m quite tall, not to mention too fat, the extra cabin space of a 5 series model will be useful.

The automatic gearbox sounds like a good thing, and a few generations newer than the 5-speed auto that came in my old 528, which wasn’t bad but under full throttle felt as though it was turning as much power into heat as it was helping to achieve forwards motion.

It looks like I’ll have the chance to test drive a B5 soonish, so I’ll start there and see how it seems.
2012-2019: B10 no. 171, an Alpina blue saloon with a manual gearbox

Alex_B
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:14 pm
Location: London

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Alex_B » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:31 pm

CB 987 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:19 am
I recently made the move to an F31 D3. I have driven F11/G31 (non-Alpina) and they don't feel that much larger from the driving seat, but clearing when parking they are!

The interior of the G31 is really a step up, when compared to the F31, but then so is the cost!

The D3 is my first auto and first diesel in 10 years. It follows a string of 6 cylinder, petrol, manual BMW's. So far I've been very impressed with the 8 speed auto, I can see why people rave about them. The buttons and manual mode, do make it more engaging to drive, but I still enjoy a proper manual.

When searching for mine, I was preferably looking for an F31 B3 in Alpina green, blue or perhaps grey, but with a contrasting interior (not black). But after doing some research, a green F31 B3 is rare car! I also had some slight time constraints, I ended up purchasing a black/black F31 D3. It has certainly grown on me, the spec, price and miles were right, so the colour combo was my compromise.

Just be prepared to wait sometime for the right colour, especially of you are looking for a touring over a saloon.

Best of luck!
Thanks - hadn’t been aware of the difference in interior quality between the 3 and the 5. Only ever had E39s in the past and compared them to the E46 models, where there wasn’t such a big difference between the two (or so my memory tells me).

Suspect I’d find a manual gearbox more engaging, but none of the newer models seem to come so equipped and after moving to London the prospect of an automatic gearbox is more appealing than it was.

In terms of colour and specification, and wanting a touring model (and preferably in green), think I’m going to have to wait a while, if my patience holds out ;)
2012-2019: B10 no. 171, an Alpina blue saloon with a manual gearbox

Metrics
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1515
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 1:33 pm
Location: Berks

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Metrics » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:38 pm

They are very rare in green, possibly the rarest colour to find them in
2012 Alpina D5 BiTurbo No. 13
2002 Alpina B10 V8S No. 60
1993 Mercedes 190E 2.6 Sportline spec
2005 Audi TT 225
1991 Mk1 Golf GTI Sportline cabriolet
1983 Mk1 Golf GTI

CaesarBob
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1214
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:37 pm

Re: B3 / B5

Post by CaesarBob » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:33 pm

Metrics wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:38 pm
They are very rare in green, possibly the rarest colour to find them in
Definitely the rarest colour for UK Alpina's generally imho, any shade of green. However, more common in B3 Tourings particularly.

For example, in the last couple of years of all the B3/B5 Tourings that have come for sale:

BMW ALPINA B3 BITURBO TOURING [F31] - total made 5 (4 of 5 in Alpina Green):
1x Alpina Green/Black Dakota Leather
1x Alpina Green II/Cashmere Merino Leather

BMW ALPINA B3 S BITURBO TOURING [F31] - total made 8 (2 of the 3 known are Alpina Green):
1x Alpina Green II/Black Merino Leather
1x Nardo Grey (Sonderlack)/Black Merino Leather

BMW ALPINA B5 BITURBO TOURING [F11] - total made 7 (5 of 7 known, I don't believe any were green):
None seen for sale

BMW ALPINA B5 BITURBO ALLRAD TOURING [G31] - total made 19+:
2x Alpina Green II/Smoke White Nappa Leather
2x Alpina Blue II/Black Nappa Leather
1x Rhodonite Silver/Black Nappa Leather
1x Sophisto Grey/Ivory White Nappa Leather
'97 E36 B3 3.2 Touring #062
'15 F32 420d M Sport Coupe (Sold)
'11 E92 320d M Sport Coupe (Sold)
'99 E36 328iA SE "Shooting Brake" (Sold)
'89 E30 325iA M-Tech II "Shooting Brake" (Sold)
'91 E30 318iS (Sold)

Metrics
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1515
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 1:33 pm
Location: Berks

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Metrics » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:26 pm

Agreed CB, green "B's" seem to be more prevalent.
Derv variants are much more run of the mill colours - perhaps reflective of the list price of a B (3 or 5) being higher, so spending more means owner more likely to spend more on options and colours?
2012 Alpina D5 BiTurbo No. 13
2002 Alpina B10 V8S No. 60
1993 Mercedes 190E 2.6 Sportline spec
2005 Audi TT 225
1991 Mk1 Golf GTI Sportline cabriolet
1983 Mk1 Golf GTI

Alex_B
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:14 pm
Location: London

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Alex_B » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:31 am

CaesarBob wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:33 pm
Metrics wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:38 pm
They are very rare in green, possibly the rarest colour to find them in
Definitely the rarest colour for UK Alpina's generally imho, any shade of green. However, more common in B3 Tourings particularly.

For example, in the last couple of years of all the B3/B5 Tourings that have come for sale:

BMW ALPINA B3 BITURBO TOURING [F31] - total made 5 (4 of 5 in Alpina Green):
1x Alpina Green/Black Dakota Leather
1x Alpina Green II/Cashmere Merino Leather

BMW ALPINA B3 S BITURBO TOURING [F31] - total made 8 (2 of the 3 known are Alpina Green):
1x Alpina Green II/Black Merino Leather
1x Nardo Grey (Sonderlack)/Black Merino Leather

BMW ALPINA B5 BITURBO TOURING [F11] - total made 7 (5 of 7 known, I don't believe any were green):
None seen for sale

BMW ALPINA B5 BITURBO ALLRAD TOURING [G31] - total made 19+:
2x Alpina Green II/Smoke White Nappa Leather
2x Alpina Blue II/Black Nappa Leather
1x Rhodonite Silver/Black Nappa Leather
1x Sophisto Grey/Ivory White Nappa Leather

Impressive knowledge :) Wouldn’t’ve guessed that so many more 3s than 5s came in the green.

Heard it said that green cars are unlucky. Perhaps that stops people ordering them.

Have to consider my options; black and white cars aren’t my thing, and I’ve had silver and grey & would really like to try something different this time.
2012-2019: B10 no. 171, an Alpina blue saloon with a manual gearbox

CaesarBob
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1214
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:37 pm

Re: B3 / B5

Post by CaesarBob » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:44 am

Hope it’s useful. Least you know whether you’re looking for an impossible dream or not (like no chance with the F11’s).
If you’ve got a spare £100k you can have a new G31 in Alpina Green :mrgreen:
'97 E36 B3 3.2 Touring #062
'15 F32 420d M Sport Coupe (Sold)
'11 E92 320d M Sport Coupe (Sold)
'99 E36 328iA SE "Shooting Brake" (Sold)
'89 E30 325iA M-Tech II "Shooting Brake" (Sold)
'91 E30 318iS (Sold)

fe18occ
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:48 pm

Re: B3 / B5

Post by fe18occ » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:20 pm

I drive a green B5, and while it happened to be the colour it came in I do think it looks good and often get strangers comment on it. If I was going to be stuck on the South Circ on a regular basis I would be far more concern with having the adaptive cruise control that my car has - it makes traffic jams a completely different experience, it just takes care of it and allows you to relax. That said, I would switch to a tourer if I could find one that otherwise matched my current spec - I have been keeping my eye out for one but not sure it's gonna happen :)
On a practical note, even the saloon is very long and rarely fits in supermarket spaces without hanging out a little, not that it is hard to park with the all round sensors and rear camera - have not checked but would suspect the tourer will be slightly longer still

Metrics
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1515
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 1:33 pm
Location: Berks

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Metrics » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:01 pm

G30 saloon and G31 estate are the same length (literally 4mm in it)
2012 Alpina D5 BiTurbo No. 13
2002 Alpina B10 V8S No. 60
1993 Mercedes 190E 2.6 Sportline spec
2005 Audi TT 225
1991 Mk1 Golf GTI Sportline cabriolet
1983 Mk1 Golf GTI

Dans
AL
AL
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:47 am
Location: London

Re: B3 / B5

Post by Dans » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:40 am

Hi,

not sure if you've already solved this, but I'll be selling D3BT No. 202 shortly, it's in Mediterranean blue, and given I live off the South Circ, I can attest to it being great for sitting quite still in. It's got the radar cruise too, so the crawling is easier. It's going to auction shortly, let me know if you'd like any info on it first.

Cheers
Dan

fe18occ
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:48 pm

Re: B3 / B5

Post by fe18occ » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:11 pm

Hi Dan - have PM'd you...

Post Reply