- Three years on comes the revised BMW 3 Series Grand Tourer
- Choice of eight engines and manual or auto gearbox
- Longer shell includes a bigger luggage volumn
MUNICH, Germany – BMW is preparing to launch a freshened 3 Series Gran Turismo which, it says, “blends the elegance of a coupe with the space of a sedan and the boot capacity of a station wagon”.
The mid-size model has been around for about three years but now has a wheelbase 11cm longer at 2.82m with a choice three petrol and five diesel engine, each turbocharged and more powerful than their predecessors but using on average 14% less fuel.
Now all that sounds like a vehicle that makes sense for a well-heeled family in a green-sensitive world with the most prolific sales expected to be in China, Germany and the USA.
“This new version of the Gran Turismo,” BMW says, “cuts a visibly sportier figure and the four or six-cylinlder engines – three petrol and five diesel, each turbocharged – in the range are each more powerful, the petrol units making from 135 to 240kW and the diesels from 110-230kW, each driving the rear wheels or all four through BMW’s xDrive and a choice of manual or Steptronic auto transmissions.”
“The cabin and boot area will impress with their high-quality materials,” BMW promises, “new satnav user interface (from BMW’s luxury cars) and even better phone connectivity. Indeed, this the latest BMW Professional unit is the latest to be installed in a mid-sized Beemer and has a tile-based display to which smartphones can be connected and charged wirelessly by an inductive tray.
At 4.83m, the GT is about 20cm longer – 11cm of it taken up by extra wheelbase – than the sedan 3 Series which, BMW says, “takes it close to luxury-class territory”.
“The shell,” the automaker adds, “has been sculpted to greater dynamic effect, front and rear, and new diode headlights give the GT a more sporting appearance.”
BMW says the car looks wider “and the combination of updated diode rear lights and more zestful lines brings extra brawn to the rear styling”.
“The cabin,” the automaker adds, “has an even more sophisticated feel with upgraded materials and accents – more chrome around the controls, new decorative wood elements, fresh colours and leather trim and its ergonomic attributes have been enhanced.”
Overall, once could says, the 3 Series GT looks like a squashed-down and altogether less outrageous versions of an X5. It has five seats (BMW describes them as “full-sized” though against what is not specified), four doors and a big rear hatch behind a boot whose volume,, with everything in place, is 520 litres rising to 1600 litres with the rear seats dropped.
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“Considerable efficiency gains have been made with the new engines,” BMW says, “despite their greater output. The reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions range from 4.5% for the 318d to 13.8% for 320d thanks to improved transmissions, a stop/start function, braking-energy regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary units and and Eco Pro driving mode.”
The 320i, 318d and 320d GT’s can have six-speed manual or eight-speed auto ‘boxes; all other engine variants come only with the auto as with the previous models – meaning 18 engine, transmission and drive configurations over the GT range – Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport.
Stanard items, the automaker says, include auto aircon, keyless ignition, Servotronic brakes, six crash bags, diode high- and low-beam head and fog lights, high-res colour screen with iDrive Controller, hands-free phone with USB port and Bluetooth audio streaming and a leather-clad multifunction steering wheel.
“Greater freedom with interior and exterior equipment combinations, Munich saysj, “provides a wide range of possibilities. Two new metallic paint finishes are available, as are three new wheel-rim designs and extra upholstery variants and interior trim strips.”
* Fuel consumption figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tyre format specified.
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