Alpina calls rival model from Audi "rubbish"

It's on.

While it's not a full-blown automaker, Alpina believes it has a much better understanding of how to make a high-performance SUV powered by a turbodiesel engine than Audi. The company had unusually harsh words for its rival.

"[Audi] started to produce a new SQ5 with a TFSI engine, and it was rubbish. Really, it's not a good car, and the press was not good, and the car is not selling well," said Alpina marketing chief Thomas Cornu in a interview with Australian website CarSales. He added the SQ5 will consequently return to diesel power in 2020, though the move is primarily fueled by stricter emissions regulations.

In the meantime, Alpina hopes disgruntled SQ5 owers will instead look at the XD3 Biturbo (pictured), its home-brewed version of the BMW X3. It's powered by a 3.0-liter straight-six diesel tuned to 350 horsepower and a mighty 567 pound-feet of torque, and it reaches 62 mph from a stop in 4.6 second. While it's not sold in the United States, the XD3 has played a significant role in helping Alpina expand; it might even have stolen a few sales from partner BMW.

"We started the XD3 with the previous model, the F25 [generation], and it was new for Alpina, and we gained a lot of new customers... customers mainly coming from Audi or BMW," Cornu said. Looking ahead, Alpina plans to add the X7 to its line-up.

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