BMW launches 3 Series Gran Turismo
What's the news?
BMW has, some would say 'finally', released full details of a new body style for the 3 Series range. It's called the Gran Turismo and offers more space than the Touring estate in a completely different body.
Though sharing all of the latest BMW 3 Series line-up design hallmarks, the Gran Turismo is considerably different. It is 200mm longer than the Touring model and has a 110mm longer wheelbase. Balancing the extra length is an 81mm increase in height. To our eyes it looks best in M Sport guise on larger wheels, as the aesthetic updates hide the bulk of the rear bodywork. That rear hatch opens and closes automatically and features an automatically deploying spoiler to reduce lift at speed. Another distinguishing feature is the use of frameless doors.
The 3 GT's interior takes the lead of the 5 Series Gran Turismo in terms of aiming to be more luxurious. To that end there's considerably more space inside no matter where you're sitting. The exterior dimension increases lead to 70mm more rear legroom and more headroom - despite a raised seating position. BMW hints at its older target audience by suggesting that this makes it easier to get in and out of. Meanwhile the boot, even with the split-folding seats in place, accommodates 520 litres of luggage - 25 litres more than the 3 Series Touring.
To begin with, five engines will be available in the 3 Series Gran Turismo, three petrol and two diesel. The less popular petrol models (in this part of the world anyway) will be badged 320i GT, 328i GT and 335i GT, while the more sensible diesel options are the 318d GT and 320d GT. It's expected that the six-cylinder diesel engines will become available in time. As with the saloon and estate, the Gran Turismo sends its power to the rear wheels. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard and an eight-speed automatic optional. At a minimum the 3 GT is fitted with 17-inch alloys.
There's no word of an M3 Gran Turismo as yet, but BMW has confirmed that the GT will be offered in base and M Sport guises along with the three 'lines' called Sport, Luxury and Modern. The 3 Series Gran Turismo makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
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