Lifestyle

Road test: BMW 3 Series GT is a grand mix and match design

The BMW 3 Series GT.
The BMW 3 Series GT.

WHAT direction do you head when you want don't want a coupe, SUV or wagon…but something in between.

BMW believes it has the answer. A spin-off from the BMW 3 Series range has just landed in showrooms which evokes grand tourer themes.

The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is part of a growing premium market creating niches within niches.

Essentially an elongated hatch, the GT styling comes at a premium. The 320i GT costs $6900 more than the wagon and an extra $10,900 over the sedan in similar engine configurations.

It is available with three engine variants and three no cost trims: Modern, Luxury or Sport.

Comfort

There's a feeling of space once you park your rear end inside.

The GT has 200mm of additional overall length, with a 110mm longer wheelbase and an 81mm taller roof line versus the 3 Series Touring.

Also perched higher, the driver and front passenger have an improved view of the world. Frameless doors assist in delivering an airy ambience with outstanding head, leg and knee room front and back.

Rear space is stupendous and you could easily cater for three adults across the back seat as long as they aren't too tall - although the centre passenger draws the short straw with the transmission tunnel.

That tapered roofline also restricts rearward vision but parking sensors front and rear keep the bumpers from harm's way.

Inside the GT lives up to the modern-day BMW blueprint, and we are a fan of the simplicity and legibility of operations. The instrument cluster is a fine example of utility sophistication.

The central iDrive system can take more training, as you scroll your way through various menus for things like the sat nav, trip computer and stereo controls via a central dial.

On the road

Meaty and strong, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel is a robust little performer.

There is some minor turbo lag if you catch it napping low in the rev range, although once spinning you can punch the accelerator and the 320d will successfully overtake on the highway or dart into a traffic opening.

Its 0-100kmh time of 7.9 seconds is not supercar territory but it's no slouch either, and those wanting extra straight line prowess can fork out an additional $4700 to get the 328i which is about 1.5 seconds faster over the sprint.

Dynamic is the catchcry of BMW, and this GT lives up to its heritage with balance, poise and steering feel.

There are various drive modes, including two sport varieties (one is more relaxed with the eagerness of traction and stability control), comfort and Eco Pro which dulls acceleration response for improved efficiency.

Sport was our favourite and inspired us to stretch the GT's legs on some testing bends where the direct steering made easy work of challenging bends.

GTs also have an active rear spoiler which rises at 110kmh, and lowers when the speed drops below 70. It helps reduced lift and delivers a lower co-efficient of drag, which is rated at 0.29Cd - which makes it one slippery customer.

What do you get?

Individualisation is all the rage in the premium segment, and BMW has an array of options and three "lines" (at no extra cost) to float whatever boat takes your fancy.

The basic GT has a leather sports steering wheel and trim, various drive modes such as economy and sport, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, 16.5cm colour screen, electric seat adjustment, alloys and dual zone air con.

Our test car was in Sport trim, which added athletic bits like double spoke alloys, gloss black trims inside and out with red accent lines inside and various other stitching details.

Once again you can throw in even more extras, and we had metallic paint ($1840), brushed aluminium trim ($400), Adaptive M suspension ($2200), sunroof ($3000) and Bi-Xenon headlights ($2050).

Running costs

We achieved fuel consumption of just above five litres for every 100km. That's frugal stuff.

Ongoing costs would need to be factored into budgets, with servicing and insurance at the higher end of the scale.

Practicality

This is where the GT shines over a sedan or coupe. There is excellent boot space, aided by 40:20:40 split fold seats and a two-part rear shelf (which can be hidden in the cargo floor).

That takes capacity from 520 litres to 1600 litres when the rear seats are folded.

Funky factor

Like the X6 SUV when it first arrived, we're taking some convincing in the styling department.

In profile it can look beige, and it doesn't have the coupe sex appeal or the regality of a sedan.

The lowdown

Given the size and ability of the 3 Series GT, we'd have difficulty finding the extra coin to step up into a 5 Series which costs nearly $20,000 more.

While the styling won't appeal to everyone, it's hard to argue with the practicality. This has the dynamics of a coupe but the flexibility of a wagon.

Can it lure buyers away from an already attractive-looking wagon? We'll let Australia's well-heeled decide.

What matters most

The good stuff: Still dynamic to drive, frameless doors and airy cabin feel, hatch flexibility.

What we'd like to see: Better vision out rear window, more prominent styling.

Warranty and servicing: Three year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Roadside assist runs for three years. All BMWs have "Condition Based Service", but usually it's every 25,000km or annually.

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: BMW 320d Gran Turismo.

Details: Five-door rear-wheel drive luxury compact grand tourer.

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder generating maximum power of 135kW @ 5000rpm and peak torque of 380Nm @ 1750-2750rpm.

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.

Consumption: 4.9 litres/100km (combined average).

CO2: 129g/km.

Performance: 0-100kmh in 7.9 seconds; top speed 226kmh.

Bottom line: $71,800 plus on-roads.

Topics:  bmw gt road test



Essential work to start on Gwydir Highway

QGC has signed two agreements with Western Downs Regional Council to pay for $5 million worth of roadworks north west of Wandoan. Photo Tracey Joynson / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Roadworks will commence on the Gwydir Highway this month.

Ulmarra Ferry closes for maintenance

A dredge at the Ulmarra Ferry site extracts sand. Photo: Debrah Novak/The Daily Examiner

Scheduled closures to Ulmarra Ferry

Heat stress warning as mercury climbs in the Clarence

EGG-TREME HEAT: The Royal Flying Doctor Service has warned of heat stress as the Clarence Valley prepares to fry.

Grafton to hit a top of 40 degrees today

Local Partners

Barefoot Bowls to raise money for youth

Maclean Bowling Club holding Australia Day fundraiser for Clarence Valley's Ride for Youth fund


Festival director joins stars at Sundance

ACTION: Wendy Gibbs, director of the Bent Bridge Film Festival, before heading off to the Sundance Film Festival in the US.

Rubbing shoulders with celebrities at film festival

5 things to do this weekend

Lower Clarence Relay for Life Swim

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Lion roars to straight to No 1 at Aussie box office

Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.

THE Australian-made movie a hit, while Rogue One nears record mark.

Ozzy Osbourne fell asleep during his driving test

Not a good idea to give Ozzy a Ferrari

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Kylie Minogue will take husband's name

Kylie Minogue will take her fiancé Joshua Sasse's surname

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Why investors are flocking to Moranbah

Moranbah homes are selling like hotcakes, creating a supply problem

Investors are scrambling to get into the market

Positive signs for Clarence Valley property market

Yamba had the most expensive units and houses over the year to October.

Yamba houses sell for median of $500,000 each

Age no barrier to buying your first home

Older first home buyers are an increasing segment of the housing market.

Older buyers are a growing segment of the first home buyer market

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Rates safe from land value hike

DRIVING GROWTH: The Pacific Highway upgrade has been linked to improved land values.

Figures up in latest valuer-general report

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!