The Gran Turismo’s storied past helps build an aura around every car that wears the badge as an appendage. It comes with the promise of ‘fast’ design and an even faster performance, with no compromise on space. Unlike ‘Weekends’ or station-wagons with large, vertical hatch-doors that make the owners seem old, Gran Turismos or GTs (literally meaning Grand Touring) put their owners in good light, making them seem young and stylish.German luxury car maker BMW has already stuck its finger into the pie with the 5GT. Now, with an eye on emerging markets and on European buyers with tightened wallets, BMW is introducing the 3 Series GT.
EXTERIORS AND DESIGN
The changes made to the exterior design of this latest iteration of the 3 Series GT are minimal. They are in line with BMW’s current design language and similar to what we have already seen on the 3 Series facelift. Up front, the headlamps have been transformed into full LED units with LED daytime running lights. Bumpers on both the front and the rear end have been redesigned in this facelifted car. The detailing on the tail lamps at the rear is also similar to what we have seen on the new 3 Series – sharp and striking. The facelifted vehicle still looks elegant and rides on new 18-inch alloy wheels.
INTERIORS AND CABIN
Open the frameless doors and you will first appreciate how they give the car a very sporty feel. They make you feel like this is a sports car (when the windows are down). The cabin is a familiar BMW layout, in fact, there is nothing new here over the regular 3-Series sedan. You get a dual-tone dashboard with wood inserts around the centre console, a popped out iDrive screen (without the new iDrive touchpad to control it), the same 3-spoke steering wheel we see on almost every BMW and the same nice to hold gear selector. There aren’t many cubbyholes inside the cabin although the glovebox and door pockets do suffice to keep stuff.
The BMW 3-Series isn’t a car you would normally have you chauffeur drive while you sit in the rear bench and work. That is because, the 3-Series isn’t the best of cars for a good rear seat experience. This is where the 3GT comes into its own. The extended wheelbase yields a lot of cabin space, which along with big windows and a sunroof that extends till the rear, gives the car an excellent rear seat experience. The seats themselves are now higher and offer excellent support too. In fact, the 3-Series GT offers one of the best rear seat experience at this price point. Be it legroom, headroom or kneeroom, the 3-Series Gran Turismo has all in plenty.
What further makes the cabin such a good place to be in is the airy feel offered by the twin sunroofs, the front one opens. The fit and finish is typical BMW, well put-together on all fronts and boasting of high quality. The boot space is a massive 500-litres and since the tail gate is one piece with the rear windscreen, the loading area is huge. BMW has given the 3GT a space saver tyre which is a good move but that also robs away space from the boot as the spare wheel is kept on the floor, not under it. There is an electric boot close button which is a practical touch as the trunk is quite heavy.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
Under the hood, the GT’s engine lineup mimics the standard 3 Series’ and gains three new gasoline units. The entry-level model uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 184 horsepower, while the mid-level 330i gets a similar four-banger with 252 horses on tap. As for the range-topping gasoline model, the 340i with the 326-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six replaces the previous 335i.
“Under the hood, the GT’s engine lineup mimics the standard 3 Series’ and gains three new gasoline units.”
Moving over to diesel models, the 3 Series GT comes in no fewer than five flavors. There’s the base 318d with 150 horses, the 320d with 190 horsepower, and the 325d with 224 horses. The 330d cranks out 258 horsepower, while the range-topping 335d comes with 313 horses on tap. All powerplants are 2.0-liter four-cylinders. xDrive AWD is available on most trims, while transmission choices include the six-speed manual transmission and the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The former is standard on the 320i, 318d, and 320d, while the rest are equipped with the Steptronic automatic.
Both gearboxes have been updated for quicker shifting and improved fuel efficiency. The auto start-stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary units, and the ECO PRO mode also help the facelifted BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo return better fuel economy.
DRIVING AND HANDLING
This is a BMW, so it’s quite normal for it to drive extremely well. The BMW 3-Series GT handles beautifully, the steering is feedback rich and there is only a hint of the increased height affecting it, albeit minutely. The insulation is good too, wind and tyre noise is cut out for the most part. It’s really the fantastic body control which makes the 3GT such a hoot to drive. The car is accurate with turn-ins, remains glued to its line at all speeds and makes you feel confident behind the wheel with its dynamic ability. There is an Active Rear Spoiler (first BMW model to have it) which deploys at 110 km/hr and goes back down once you slow down below 70 km/hr, it helps in generating additional lift. There is no button to activate the spoiler. The 3GT also uses a physical handbrake and not an electric unit, so you know the drift.
There are three driving modes on offer – Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport, other than changing the weight on the wheel, it also alters engine and gearbox response time. What is pleasantly surprising is the ride quality. Most BMWs offer a harsh ride but not the 3-Series Gran Turismo. The ride quality is extremely compliant for our roads, the vehicle absorbs all the bad stuff our tarmac has to offer, only letting you know of the large potholes. In fact, the 3-Series GT in no way feels stiff and that lends it a lot of comfort. BMW isn’t using run flats on this car which has a part to play with the improvements to the ride quality. Brakes offer tremendous stopping juice and the 3-Series GT stops in its line in no time.
Every 2017 BMW 3 Series GT comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use and automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the gas. BMW Assist emergency communications is standard and includes automatic crash notification, while BMW Remote Services (included with the Technology package) adds stolen vehicle recovery and remote door lock/unlock. Additional options include parking sensors (front and rear), rearview and top-down cameras, blind spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, a driver inattention warning system and frontal collision warning with mitigationY
We love the 3 GT, as it is spacious and comfortable. The drivability is good and the dynamics are decent too. Now, the only question that rises is if it is worth the price? The answer is no. If it was a CKD, the price would have been lower and for the price it doesn’t offer the features. We believe BMW should take the CKD route than the CBU for the 3 Gran Turismo to capitalise this market for those looking for a something with a space of a SUV, but the comfort and convenience of a sedan. The pundits state that the Indian market isn’t feasible for Gran Turismos or the estate wagons. That is one reason why BMW has introduced this as a CBU, as a CKD it is a great product to own.
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 45,80,000/- (3 Series Gran Turismo Luxury Line) to 46,70,000/- (3 Series Gran Turismo 330i) .BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo has 2 Variants of Diesel are available in India. BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo comes in 5 colours, namely Sparkling Brown,Alpine White (non-metallic),Glacier Silver,Black Sapphire,Imperial Blue Brilliant Effect.