Buchloe, Germany - With all the controversy surrounding diesel these days, you could hardly blame BMW’s M Division for not having bothered to create a high-performance diesel version of the X3.

Yet thankfully, for fans who might have wished for an ‘M50d’ of sorts in a smaller format, German tuner Alpina has taken on the task of producing such a vehicle.

With 285kW and 770Nm on tap, the new Alpina XD3 is even more potent than BMW’s X5 M50d (which musters 280kW and 740Nm) and with a claimed zero to 100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds, this diesel SUV comes within split seconds of matching the M3 and M2 sports cars.

To achieve this Alpina has strapped four turbos to BMW’s familiar 3-litre straight-six diesel engine - one more, even, than the X5 M50d boasts.

Unfortunately right-hand-drive markets will only get a twin-turbo version of the engine, rated at 246kW and 700Nm - but that’s still a heck of a lot more than the standard 30d’s 195kW and 620Nm.

The eight-speed sport-automatic gearbox has been modified too, while the xDrive all-wheel-drive system gets “Alpina-specific” torque distribution, presumably sending more power to the rear wheels.

Alpina has also installed its own sports suspension with adaptive dampers as well as an active limited slip rear diff, while the X3D rolls on 20-inch Alpina Classic alloy wheels - although customers can order the 22-inch equivalent.

IOL Motoring