The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo offers a finely judged combination of driver appeal and practicality, arriving as the third variant in the 3 Series range following the Saloon and Touring models. In effect, it offers the sporty dynamics of the former, with the versatility of the other, in a unique and attractively designed package.
Benefiting from a longer and taller body, and an increased wheelbase, the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo offers increased interior space and load area volume from within a sporty, coupé-like form. At launch, three petrol engines and two diesel engines are available, with a choice of either six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes.
Thanks to the adoption of the latest aerodynamic thinking, in conjunction with BMW’s EfficientDynamics measures, including for the first time on a BMW an active rear spoiler, the new 3 Series Gran Turismo is superbly efficient without compromising any of its driver appeal. Despite its extended functionality, the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo typically carries only a £1,300 price premium over the Touring model, starting with the 320i SE at £27,880 OTR.
|Model||PowerHp||Torque Nm||0 – 62mph Seconds||Top Speed Mph||Combined Mpg||CO2 Emissions g/km||OTR Price £|
|320i SE Gran Turismo||184||270||7.9||143 (142)||42.8 (45.6)||153 (145)||£28,830|
|328i SE Gran Turismo||245||350||6.1||155*||42.2 (44.1)||156 (149)||£32,030|
|335i Modern Gran Turismo||305||400||5.7 (5.4)||155*||34.9 (36.7)||188 (178)||£38,470|
|318d SE Gran Turismo||143||320||9.7 (9.6)||130||62.8 (58.9)||119 (127)||£29,910|
|320d SE Gran Turismo||184||380||8.0 (7.9)||143 (140)||57.6||129||£31,310|
Design: an innovative concept brought to life
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo contains the sporty design, dynamics and practicality of the Saloon and Touring models in a new, distinctive package. At 4,824mm long (200mm longer than the saloon), 1,489mm tall (81mm taller than the saloon), 1,828mm wide and with a 2,920mm wheelbase (110mm longer than the saloon), the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is notably larger all round than the Saloon and Touring variants of the 3 Series range. However, the use of proportions, surfaces and lines by the BMW design team ensures that the Gran Turismo remains an aesthetically pleasing and visually dynamic proposition.
From the front, the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo offers its own unique take on the established 3 Series theme. The broad, powerful BMW kidney grille and modified front apron create a strong initial impression, while striking twin headlamps and LED accent lights form a visual unit with the slightly forward-slanting kidneys, reinforcing the sense of both width and presence. Large air intakes below the headlamps emphasise the sporting character of the car, as do the aerodynamically motivated apertures for the Aero Curtains. Key points of difference are the larger overall shape of the headlamps and a bonnet with smoother contours than the Saloon and Touring. Another identifying feature are the ‘blades’ set into the outer air intakes of the front apron.
Traditional BMW proportions and a coupé-style roofline sloping down towards the rear elongate the silhouette, aided by rising lines along the flanks, the combination of the double shoulder lines and the pronounced door sill line. Located just behind the front wheels are the new Air Breathers, designed to reduce drag around the wheel arches. These air vents combine with the Aero Curtains to not only cut aerodynamic drag, but also to underline the sporting character of the car. At the rear, the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is the brand’s first ever model to sport an active rear spoiler: at lower speeds it retracts out of sight, while below it are the customary BMW L-shaped tail lamps that stretch far into the sides of the car to add further presence.
The interior: enhanced practicality and style
Given the increased dimensions of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo over its Saloon and Touring siblings, it offers even more room inside for all occupants. Front and rear seat passengers all benefit from a seating position raised by 59mm, which allows an outstanding view out and makes entry and exit significantly easier. Headroom for all occupants is improved.
Rear seat passengers benefit from a full 70mm of extra legroom, particularly impressive for a car in this segment. As a result of the car’s longer wheelbase the full breadth of the rear seat bench can be used without restriction and three adults can be seated in comfort. The flowing lines of the door panels link the front and rear compartments into a single unit, while frameless windows allow maximum light into an interior that cocoons rear seat passengers in a relaxed, lounge-style, ideal for long distance touring.
At 520 litres, rising to a maximum 1,600 litres, the load space of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is particularly commodious for its class. A wide load aperture and high-opening electric tailgate make loading easier, while the tilt angle of the backrests can be adjusted through 15 stages and 19 degrees, and even brought into a vertical position if required. A two-piece parcel shelf seals the load bay, the larger segment opening with the tailgate while the second segment remains on its railing, allowing smaller items to be left in place even when the tailgate is opened. When not in use the sections can be easily removed and stored away neatly under the load compartment floor.
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is fitted as standard with an electric tailgate, but optionally available is the Smart Opener (part of the Comfort Access option), which allows the boot lid to be opened hands-free with a movement of the foot under the rear bumper. Four lashing points in the load compartment floor and a multifunction hook in the left-hand side panel are on hand for securing loads, while a multifunction storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep compartment in the left-hand side panel swallow up smaller items. Also located here is a 12-volt power socket to plug in a cool box or charge electrically powered devices.
The rear seat backrests are fitted with folding head restraints and can be split 40:20:40 as standard. The optional storage package comprises features such as a remote release function for the rear seat backrests and a gas pressure spring for the load compartment floor, amongst other items.
The cockpit of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is similar to the Saloon and Touring variants. That is to say a driver-focused layout featuring crystal clear circular instruments, with black-panel display and a freestanding iDrive monitor, with the iDrive Controller within easy reach on the centre console.
Engines and gearboxes: power through efficiency
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is available at launch with a range of five refined and economical engines, all of which feature the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.
The range comprises three petrol engines – the four-cylinder 320i and 328i, plus the six cylinder 335i – and two diesel engines, the 318d and the 320d. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although BMW also offers an innovative eight-speed automatic as an option for all engine variants. A sports version of the automatic gearbox is available as a further option, offering even faster gearshifts and steering wheel mounted paddles. Both gearboxes link up with the fuel-saving Auto Start-Stop function.
Heading the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo engine range is the 335i, a six-cylinder petrol unit with muscular power delivery, imposing torque and outstanding refinement. This 3.0-litre engine delivers 306hp, with a peak torque of 400Nm available from just 1,200rpm all the way through to 5,000rpm. The new BMW 335i Gran Turismo accelerates from zero to 62mph in just 5.7 (5.4) seconds before reaching an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Despite this performance the six-cylinder engine is also extremely economical and low on emissions: its fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 34.9mpg (36.7mpg) and CO2 emissions are only 188g/km (178g/km).
The new BMW 328i Gran Turismo produces a maximum power output of 245hp from its 1,997cc capacity, with 350Nm torque at just 1,250rpm, then maintained all the way to 4,800rpm. It sprints from zero to 62mph in a mere 6.1 seconds, and posts an electronically governed top speed of 155mph while recording average fuel consumption of just 42.1mpg and CO2 emissions of only 156g/km. These figures are improved further still if the eight-speed automatic gearbox is fitted, with fuel consumption and emissions figures of 44mpg and 149g/km respectively.
The entry-level 320i engine features a powerplant based on the same ultra-low friction 1,997cc unit as the BMW 328i, their differing output ratings achieved principally through modifications to the injection and turbocharging technology. In the new BMW 320i Gran Turismo, the four-cylinder petrol unit develops 184hp with peak torque of 270Nm at a lowly 1,250 rpm. Fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, the 320i needs only 7.9 seconds to reach 62mph from rest, and yet still records an average fuel consumption of 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 153g/km. Once again, those figures are improved still further when the eight-speed automatic gearbox is specified (45.6mpg/ 145g/km).
The new BMW 320d Gran Turismo is powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine with a maximum power output of 184hp, with peak torque of 380Nm available between 1,750rpm and 2,750rpm. The 320d completes the sprint to 62mph in just 8.0 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 143mph, yet achieves an average fuel consumption of 57.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 129g/km.
Finally, the entry-level diesel option is the 318d which develops 143hp with a peak torque of 320Nm available between 1,750rpm and 2,500rpm. Given its zero to 62mph time of 9.7 seconds (automatic: 9.6 sec) and 130mph top speed, its economy figures are particularly impressive: with a manual gearbox it records an average fuel consumption figure of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km, while the automatic posts 58.9mpg and 127g/km.
From the summer of 2013, the range will be joined by the new BMW 325d Gran Turismo.
Chassis, suspension and brakes: a true BMW
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo shares the same carefully honed suspension technology as its Saloon and Touring brethren. That means a large number of light-alloy components and the ideal configuration of a longitudinally mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, torque steer-free Electric Power Steering, finely balanced axle load distribution (50:50) and a torsionally stiff but lightweight body.
While the BMW’s engineers have succeeded in achieving outstanding handling characteristics, the suspension settings have been shifted slightly towards directional stability and long-distance comfort.
Every model in the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo range features lightweight floating-calliper brakes with large inner-vented discs, with the front brake callipers made from aluminium. As well as low unsprung mass, this high-performance system also majors on outstanding heat tolerance, superior wet braking performance, easy operation and excellent feel. Various state-of-the-art electronic aids are integrated into the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system, including the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC), along with the Start-Off Assistant and an electronic limited slip function for the rear differential, which can be activated using the “DSC Off” button.
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo also offers drivers the ability to vary the overall character of the vehicle to suit the driving situation or their personal preferences. The different modes are selected via the Drive Performance Control switch that is standard on all models. Using a button on the centre console, the driver can choose between ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes. Each of these predefined set-ups activates different settings for the relevant powertrain. A further button allows the driver to change the DSC settings or switch them off altogether.
Model lines: a Gran Turismo for all tastes
High-quality materials and fine workmanship reinforce the premium ambience aboard the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. With the SE model, the list of standard equipment is extensive, with 18-inch alloy wheels, 6.5-inch colour screen with iDrive and climate control amongst many features. Customers can also choose from three additional equipment levels and an M Sport package, all of which add individual touches, inside and out.
The Sport trim features exterior details in high-gloss black, including black kidney grille slats, black air intakes and Air Breathers. 18-inch double-spoke light-alloy wheels, exterior mirrors and a wraparound window strip, B-pillars in matching paint finish and a trim strip at rear apron height finish the look. Inside, the contrast between black and red accents is combined with accent strips in the doors. The standard-fitted sports seats can be specified with a choice of cloth or optional leather upholstery in five different colour combinations.
The Luxury trim level features discreet high-gloss chrome kidney grille slats, two chrome blades in the front apron air intakes and chrome Air Breathers. The gleaming chrome window surround features a black contrast B-pillar, and special 18-inch multi-spoke light-alloy wheels are standard. At the rear, a high-gloss chrome strip above the rear apron and a chrome exhaust tailpipe embellisher round off the look. The interior also features chrome embellishment, including the surround for the audio and air conditioning system. High-gloss wood strips and leather seats, in three classically elegant colours with contrast stitching, define a luxurious cockpit.
With the Modern trim, high quality matt chrome exterior elements feature on the kidney grille, Air Breathers and on the air intakes, while the window surround can be ordered in a satin aluminium finish. Eye catching 18-inch turbine-style light-alloy wheels are standard. Inside, the light-coloured dashboard coupled with a dark oyster steering wheel create a contemporary ambience, with cloth/leather or optional leather upholstery in black or oyster, and a choice of four trim surfaces with accent strips in pearl-effect chrome.
Finally, the M Sport trim adds a sporting edge to the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo with a new aerodynamic package, including revised front apron with large air intake, rear bumper with diffuser and side skirts, complemented by the BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim. Estoril Blue metallic paint is exclusively available on M Sport, while 18-inch M Star-spoke light-alloy wheels are standard. Inside the car are sporty features such as M door sill finishers and an M leather steering wheel. The driver and front passenger benefit from leather sports seats, while mechanically the car features M Sport suspension and optional M Sport brakes with callipers in contrasting blue paint finish.
Efficient Dynamics: making performance go further
BMW’s EfficientDynamics development strategy is an integral part of the new 3 Series Gran Turismo, incorporated in virtually every area of the new model. In addition to petrol and diesel engines with optimised fuel economy, its highly efficient transmissions, intelligent lightweight design, optimised aerodynamics and further efficiency-promoting measures ensure the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo has both impressive performance and enviable fuel consumption and emissions figures.
Further fuel savings are possible thanks to the full suite of BMW EfficientDynamics technologies, standard across the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo range, including for the first time an active rear spoiler. This extends automatically once the car reaches 70mph to ensure it retains the traditional BMW dynamic capability at higher speeds. Once extended, the spoiler reduces lift on the rear axle by more than 35 per cent, allowing the Gran Turismo to replicate the aerodynamic qualities of the BMW 3 Series Saloon. If the speed falls below 43 mph, the spoiler automatically retracts, melting back into the car almost invisibly. If required, the rear spoiler can be extended and retracted manually using a button on the driver’s door control panel.
The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo goes on sale on 15 June 2013, priced from £28,830 OTR for the BMW 320i SE Gran Turismo.