Although BMW has its M Division, the Alpina custom shop provides a different take on higher-performance luxury, with perhaps a more balanced, less motorsports-derived approach. The next to come from the makers of the 7-Series-based B7 is the 3-Series-based B3.

Like the B7, the B3 is likely to be slightly more powerful than the standard 3-Series it's based on, along with a range of upgraded technology, comfort, and luxury features. The current B3 S, not sold in the U.S., offers 395 horsepower from the 335i's turbo in-line six-cylinder engine. We expect the next B3 to offer similar numbers. A special-edition Alpina B3 GT3, also not sold in the U.S., was revealed at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, with a sharper overall performance package and 408 horsepower, showing there's potential for more.

In the spy shots, you can see Alpina-specific wheels, a small rear trunk lid spoiler, and BMW M-style Alpina dual exhausts. The bodywork is also--minimally--tweaked, with a slightly more aggressive front bumper treatment. Expect Alpina-specific details in the cabin as well, including Alpina badging and unique materials options.

The Alpina B3 is expected to make its debut in early 2013 as a 2013 model, though whether it will come to the U.S. is still unknown.

2013 BMW Alpina B3 spy shots

2013 BMW Alpina B3 spy shots

To date, Alpina has sold just two models in the U.S., the 2003 Alpina Roadster V8, based on BMW's brilliant but small-volume Z8, and the 2007-2008 Alpina B7. All of these have been sold, but the third model, the 2013 Alpina B7 is available for special order--starting from $127,600.

We'll keep you updated as we learn more about the specifics of the 2013 Alpina B3, and whether it will make to our shores or not.