BMW 3 Series GT

5 Mar, 2013 11:21am Tom Phillips

Full details of the new, more practical BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo following its debut at Geneva

The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo has had its official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, and we've got full details of the latest addition to the range. The 3 GT becomes the third member of the BMW 3 Series range, following the latest BMW 3 Series saloon and Touring estate models.

According to BMW, the 3 Series Gran Turismo aims to offer the “dynamic, sporting” qualities of the saloon, with the “practicality and versatility” of the Touring.

To enable this to happen, the 3 Series GT measures 4,824mm long, 1,489mm tall and 1,828mm wide, with a 2,920mm wheelbase, making it noticeably larger than the 3 Series saloon and estate but just smaller than the current BMW 5 Series. In fact, the 3 GT is 200mm longer, 81mm taller and has a 110mm longer wheelbase than the 3 Series Touring.

All BMW 3 Series GTs come with an electronically opening tailgate, a two-piece parcel shelf that can be stored under the boot floor, and 40/20/40 split folding rear seats.

The 3 GT has a 520-litre boot – bigger than the 3 Series Touring by 25 litres – that can be expanded to 1,600 litres in its largest load-carrying configuration, although the car doesn’t have any space to carry a spare wheel.

Lashing points, a 12-volt power socket and a storage tray under the boot floor are standard, while buyers can opt for a hands-free opening boot, which means the tailgate can be opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper.

The 3 Series Gran Turismo features a host of typical BMW styling devices, including short front and long rear overhangs, a forward slanting kidney grille and a curvy interpretation of the firm’s trademark Hofmeister kink.

The bumpers and head and tail-lights are unique to the car, which also features a smoother bonnet than that fitted to the 3 Series saloon, as well as frameless doors. The 3 GT also gets Air Curtains, which smooth air flow over the front wheels. These combine with the new Air Breathers behind the front wheel, which help extract air from the front wheelarches, further reducing drag.

The 3 GT is also the first BMW to get an active rear wing, which pops up from the bootlid when you hit 68mph, increasing downforce by 35 per cent. It drops automatically when you slow below 43mph, and can also be raised or lowered using a button in the driver’s door.

Inside, BMW claims that the standard 3 Series interior has been upgraded for the Gran Turismo, including large cupholders between the front seats and in the doors. The extra exterior size has allowed BMW to raise the height of the seating position by 59mm, for a commanding driving position, and added 70mm of rear legroom over the saloon.

The engine range comprises two diesel engines – the 141bhp 2.0-litre 318d and 181bhp 2.0-litre 320d – and three petrols – 181bhp and a 242bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder 320i and 328i models, and a top-spec 302bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder 335i. A six-speed gearbox is standard, while BMW's excellent eight-speed auto is an option.

All models come with at least 17-inch alloys as standard, and while the suspension is carried over from the 3 Series saloon range, BMW has softened the settings for greater long-distance comfort. An M Sport kit will be available, featuring 19-inch alloys and 10mm lower suspension.

The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo will go on sale in the UK on 15 June. The 320i Gran Turismo SE starts at £28,830, the 328i Gran Turismo SE at £32,030 and the range-topping 335i Gran Turismo Modern is priced from £38,470. The diesels start at £29,910 for the 318d Gran Turismo SE and £31,310 for the 320d Gran Turismo SE.

That means the new 3 Series Gran Turismo costs just over £2,900 more than the equivalent 3 Series saloon models. The 325d model arrives in the UK later in the year. All versions are rear-wheel drive, hoowever a 320i xDrive four-wheel-drive model will also be sold.