This new Audi RS4 Avant is almost the perfect daily performance machine. It’s seriously fast, fun to drive and surprisingly practical. It also has very few natural competitors, with only the Mercedes-AMG C63 as proper competition. BMW M has never made an M3 wagon and has no plans on doing so. However, there’s another car that’s actually based on the BMW 3 Series that can compete with the RS4 — the ALPINA B3 Touring, which just debuted at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.
If you aren’t aware of ALPINA, it’s a German-based manufacturer that develops its own versions of existing BMWs with more performance and more luxury. The all-new ALPINA B3 Touring takes the standard 3 Series wagon and gives it a ton of extra power, more interior luxury and some extra style. All of which is enough to make it a proper RS4-competitor.
Under the hood lies a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six engine that makes 462 hp and a whopping 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s about the same power as the Audi RS4 (444 hp) but way more torque (443 lb-ft). Like the Audi, the ALPINA B3 Touring is also all-wheel drive and should actually be quicker to 60 mph, thanks to its extra grunt.
On the inside, the ALPINA B3 is far more luxurious than the Audi RS4 Avant, which is designed to look sportier than the standard car. While the ALPINA is supposed to be more exclusive and more premium.
That more luxurious nature also carries over into its ride and handling, as ALPINAs are often more supple and more stable at high-speed than BMW M cars. What’s interesting is that, because of its calmer demeanor, it actually makes it more of an RS4 competitor. While previous RS4s have been harder-edged and more aggressive, this new car is more of a fast grand tourer than a proper sports car. So the ALPINA B3 Touring might actually be the closest thing to the RS4.
However, ALPINAs are far more exclusive than even relatively exclusive Audi Sport products. So there’s a bit of prestige and exclusivity to an ALPINA that even the most interesting Audi can’t match.