Personally speaking I think the BMW 3-Series sedan is one of the best cars in the world simply for its wide array of talents. It is a car that says being fun to drive does not mean you have to do compromises in other areas. Now what would you do to change that recipe? Well for markets like ours where most luxury car owners are chauffeured, more space at the back is always welcome which is where the 3-Series Gran Turismo comes in.
The 3-Series GT then is a roomier and more practical avatar of the 3-Series sedan which means on paper it is the ideal BMW for India. But then is it? Read on.
At first glance it seems it is job well done here as the 3-Series GT stands out of the crowd and has more presence than the sedan. At 4,824 millimetres long, 1,489 millimetres tall, 1,828 millimetres wide the 3-Series GT is bigger than the sedan yet the designers have cleverly disguised all that bulk through some fantastic design details. While the front is typical BMW and a bit similar to the sedan there are small differences like bigger headlights and larger air intakes from the sedan.
The key differences emerge when you walk over to the side and the rear. The coupe like sloping roofline, frameless doors, active rear spoiler, side slats, big L-shaped tail-lamps and big wheels all make the 3-Series GT quite a stunner and it turned quite a few heads on our roads when compared to the sedan which is quite common.
Open those beautiful frameless doors and the interior reveals the biggest difference- the sheer amount of space. Compared to the sedan the GT feels so much airy and spacious. At the rear thanks to the longer wheelbase there is 70 millimetres of extra legroom which makes all the difference as rear passengers can stretch out in luxury. There are practical bits also where the rear seats can be split 40:20:40 which increases luggage space from 520 to 1,600 litres.
The dash and various controls are familliar with the usual BMW flawless quality. The feature list includes BMW iDrive, 16.5 cm colour Central Information Display, Bluetooth, USB devices, HiFi loudspeaker system, Park Distance Control (PDC) rear and front along with rear view camera, panorama glass roof etc.
The 3-Series GT is available only in the diesel variant with the familiar 2.0 diesel with 182 bhp and 380Nm of torque. It does 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds with a top speed of 226 km/h. As always the eight-speed automatic transmission plays the starring role in the driving experience and makes the best use of those 180 odd horses. Yes its heavier when compared to the sedan but on the move it barely registers that.
Among the three modes available, Comfort, ECO PRO and Sport, the 3GT responds well in Sport mode and feels at its best as even the ride is good. Yes, let us talk about the ride as the 3-Series GT rides much better than the sedan but on the flip side it is just not as sharp around the corners as the sedan which means if you value driving thrills the sedan is for you.
Other things were just as you would expect from a BMW- the lovely steering and the super responsive brakes. Priced at Rs 42.75 lakh the 3-Series Gran Turismo strikes the perfect balance between being the BMW that we love and a cosseting luxury car. As we have said before for enthusiasts the sedan will only suffice but otherwise the looks and added comfort make the 3GT the ideal BMW for India.