We think the 3 Series GT is one of BMW’s best kept secrets, offering better accommodation than the regular 3 Series with the added practicality of a hatchback, plus a level of equipment that makes it feel like a bit of a step up from a 3 Series Saloon. And to bring it up-to-date with the rest of the 3 Series range, the GT has now gone through its Life-Cycle Impulse change. While it might not look significantly different there have been some substantial changes under the skin. Overall, though, the GT’s underlying concept has remained unchanged: ease of entry, a slightly raised seating position with excellent visibility, and a sense of spaciousness are the key qualities of the car.
The overall dimensions and the look of the GT stay the same but it now features LED headlights for both dipped and high beam as standard. Subtly upgraded light graphics link the lights to the kidney grilles and give the front end a broader style for a sportier look. For Sport and Luxury line vehicles the front air-intakes have been reshaped and now contain a horizontal bar which helps to widen the look of the car. At the rear of the GT the rear LED light clusters have been reshaped and now flow more harmoniously while the reflector elements and trim strips have also been repositioned to give the car a wider, sportier look.
Under the bonnet the GT’s engine has been extensively revised and for the LCI car all the engines in the line-up are from BMW’s latest modular engine family. The range features four diesel units (318d, 320d, 330d and 335d) but it’s the petrols that have been given a new lease of life with the 320i, 330i and 340i all receiving the new Baukasten units for the first time.
These new engines share a standardised design principle, with a displacement per cylinder of 500 cubic centimetres, an in-line cylinder arrangement, and a lightweight, thermodynamically-optimised, allaluminium construction. The crankcase is also very rigid due to its closed-deck design, which means that the cylinder water jacket is closed at the top. Also thermally-joined, high-strength cylinder walls with a twin-wire, arc-sprayed coating save weight and reduce internal friction. The very short warm-up phase for all engines results in a significant fuel saving.
All the four-cylinder power units have balancer shafts for smooth operation throughout the rev range. The modular nature of this engine family is also reflected in the standardised interfaces for the engine mounts and the connections to the cooling circuit, the intake and exhaust systems, as well as the heating and air conditioning systems.
The petrol engines use a turbocharger integrated into the exhaust manifold. This means the exhaust gases only have a very short distance to travel to the turbocharger system, providing immediate throttle response. The switch from direct to indirect charge air cooling means even sharper responsiveness, as the compact design with a far smaller volume and reduced pressure loss within the intercooler enable boost pressure to build up faster.
The SYNTAK (Synergy Thermoacoustic Capsule) technology in the four-cylinder petrol engines brings about a further reduction in fuel consumption. This new encapsulation technique allows the engine to cool down more slowly, maintain a higher temperature for up to 36 hours and endure fewer cold starts as a result. SYNTAK also has the benefit of reducing engine noise and enabling the heating system to reach its target temperature even quicker.
The standard transmission for the 320i, 318d and 320d versions of the GT is the six-speed manual with all other variants being fitted with the eight-speed Steptronic auto, which is also available as an option on the cars that come with the manual ‘box. The GTs fitted with the manual transmission have also been brought into line with the rest of the 3 Series range and now feature rev-matching on downshifts and up-shifts.
Inside there have been a number of subtle upgrades to enhance the experience. Chrome and high-gloss elements have been applied to areas such as the surround for the air vents, the buttons in the doors for the windows and mirror adjustment, and the radio and air conditioning controls. The Central Information Display now features a flatter design and narrower frame profile to give it a slimmer appearance.
The range of colours and materials available has been expanded with an array of wood trim strips that now includes Fineline Light and Ash Grain with a metal inlay. There is also new contrasting stitching for the Saddle Brown, Veneto Beige and Black variants of the Dakota leather upholstery.
The GT’s standard equipment list is pretty impressive and includes satellite navigation, automatic climate control, keyless engine ignition, Servotronic steering, six airbags, 18-inch alloys, electric tailgate, LED headlights for dipped and high beam, and LED front foglamps. A high-resolution colour screen with iDrive Controller, a front armrest, a rain sensor, a Bluetooth hands-free facility for phone calls – including a USB port and Bluetooth audio streaming – and a leather multifunction steering wheel also feature.
Sport Line and Luxury Line cars add further character, with the former featuring many gloss black elements and contrasting colour stitching for the leather upholstery. The Luxury model now features the application of chrome trim and its own list of unique trim features to subtly shift the character of the car again. Meanwhile, the M Sport model offers additional options designed to further increase the car’s presence on the road. These include the aerodynamic package, M Design alloy wheels, and a sporty interior ambience.
The revised GT is available to order now and costs from £30,405 on-the-road.
|BMW F34 3 Series Gran Turismo / GT|
|MODEL:||320i||320i xDrive||330i||340i||318d||320d||320d xDrive||330d||330d xDrive||335d xDrive|
|ENGINE:||B48, 4-cyl||B48, 4-cyl||B48, 4-cyl||B58, 6-cyl||B47, 4-cyl||B47, 4-cyl||B47, 4-cyl||B57, 6-cyl||B57, 6-cyl||B57, 6-cyl|
|MAX TORQUE:||214lb ft (199)||199lb ft||258lb ft||332lb ft||174lb ft||218lb ft||218lb ft||413lb ft||413lb ft||465lb ft|
|0-62MPH (SECS):||8.0 (8.1)||8.1 (8.4)||(61)||(51)||9.3 (9.2)||7.8 (7.7)||7.8 (7.7)||(5.7)||(5.4)||(4.9)|
|TOP SPEED (MPH):||143 (142)||141 (139)||(155)||(155)||131 (131)||143 (140)||143 (140)||(155)||(155)||(155)|
|ECONOMY (MPG):||46.3 (48.7)||42.2 (44.8)||(479)||(404)||62.8 (65.7)||61.4 (65.7)||58.9 (62.8)||(554)||(523)||(504)|
|EMISSIONS (G/KM):||139 (132)||154 (144)||(134)||(159)||117 (112)||120 (113)||126 (119)||(135)||(142)||(148)|
|Figures in brackets refer to models equipped with eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission|