If the new BMW 3 Series feels too small but the 5 Series is too big, there is no need to worry anymore. No there is a completely new BMW model to fill your needs. The all-new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is the third model variant in the new BMW 3 Series, and it is notably larger than its sister models, the 3 Series Sedan and Touring. With the total length of 4,824 millimetres, it is 200 mm longer than the 3 Series Touring.
Gran Turismo is built on 3 Series’ longer wheelbase, which was originally designed for the Chinese customers. GT’s 2,920 mm wheelbase is 110 mm longer than in the standard model increasing knee and leg space in the rear. The 70 millimetres of the extra legroom in the rear makes it feel like you’re sitting in a luxury car. The GT is also 81 millimetres taller than the 3 Series. The seating position in the front and rear is raised by 59 mm. So there is a better view from the driver’s seat, but more importantly, it also makes the car entry and exit significantly easier. GT’s rear overhang is over a metre giving the car a really long boot space. Adding 25 litres to the luggage space of the 3 Series Touring, the new Gran Turismo’s boot capacity is 520 litres.
Not just longer, taller and wider, this 3 Series hatchback comes with many special design details like the coupe-style roofline, frameless side windows and huge tailgate, which differentiate it from its sister models. A new feature are the Air Breathers which are located just rearwards of the front wheels. They are designed to reduce drag around the wheel arches. Another special detail is the rear spoiler. The new 3 Series Gran Turismo is the first BMW fitted with an active rear spoiler. It extends automatically from the top of the boot lid once the car reaches 110 km/h (68 mph). When the speed slows below 70 km/h (43 mph), the spoiler automatically retracts. The rear spoiler can also be operated manually using a button in the driver’s door control panel, giving the car driver something to show off. Well, it actutally has an important funtion. Once extended, the spoiler reduces lift on the rear axle by more than 60 per cent, allowing the Gran Turismo to replicate the aerodynamic qualities of the BMW 3 Series Sedan.
At launch, the five engines available for the new Gran Turismo are 320i, 328i and 335i petrol versions and 320d and 318d diesel variants. The 325d will join the line-up a little later in 2013. In addition to these rear-wheel drive models, the new 3 Series GT will also available with the xDrive four-wheel drive system. This 320i GT is powered by a four-cylinder, 1997cc, turbocharged petrol engine. It develops 184 horsepower between 5,000 and 6,250 rpm and 270 Nm of torque between 1,250 and 4,500 rpm. The engine provides very impressive acceleration especially at lower speeds. Only times when you feel the need for more power is when you are overtaking or making a full throttle acceleration to the motorway speeds. As standard the 320i comes with the six-speed manual gearbox, while BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission is available as an option. BMW promises the same zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 7,9 seconds for both transmissions.
The 320i GT can be quite economical as well. With the manual gearbox the average fuel consumption is 6,6 l/100km (42,8 mpg). This automatic is even more economical with the 6,2 l/100km (45,5 mpg) average consumption. However, if you want the car to perform this well, you have to be careful with the throttle and choose the Eco Pro driving mode. The Driving Experience Control switch with Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ driving modes is standard feature on all models. With the Sport mode the performance improves a lot, but also the fuel consumption gets quite a lot bigger. Especially in the city you can go quite easily over 9 litres.
The ground clearance of the GT is 15 millimetres bigger than in the other 3 Series variants. With the higher seating position, it also provides a bit better view from the drivers seat. And if equipped with the xDrive, it can be an alternative for an SUV. As the GT is taller than the 3 Series Sedan, it doesn’t feel quite as sporty, but goes through bends without much body roll. As the name Gran Turismo suggests, the new 3 Series GT is at its best on a longer journeys. It is very comfortable, provides lots of room for passengers and has quite big luggage compartment.
2014 BMW 320i Gran Turismo Specification
- 135 kW (184 hp) / 5000-6250rpm
- 270 Nm / 1250-4500rpm
- 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h / 0-62mph
- 7.9 seconds
- 229 km/h
- 6.2 l/100km
- 45.5 mpg
- 145 g/km