BMW 3 Series GT first drive review

first_imgThe BMW 3 Gran Turismo facelift was big news. Not because of the new LED adaptive headlights, LED tail lights, new wheel design or the subtly redesigned bumpers. It got us excited, since the 3 GT brought back the badge that spelt the poor-man’s M-car – the 330i. Last seen in India on the E90 3-Series from the late 2000s, quite sparingly seen though, the 330i packed the hallmark BMW powertrain, a naturally aspirated inline six sending power to the rear wheels only.Engine:This 330i GT, unfortunately, doesn’t get the inline six. It too is rear wheel drive but it gets a new engine, codenamed the B46, a turbocharged inline four cylinder. That also means BMW has managed to get similar power and more torque out of an engine that’s a litre and two cylinders down on the free-revving six in the E90.Engine response is crisp, right off idle and power comes in strong all the way to the 6,500rpm redline. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Importantly though, while that engine had been known to deliver fuel efficiency in the low single digits, this car is rated at 15kmpl plus in the ARAI driving cycle. Pretty good news, then? Well, at the time of this issue going to print BMW has quietly introduced this engine in the regular 3-Series sedan too. I’d say that’s even better news.Engine and gearbox work well together to provide thrills behind the wheel. Steering mounted shift paddles are available, in case your chauffer would like more driving involvement. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Design:advertisementWhat you do get with the 3 GT though is more space – in the boot and in the rear seat. Adopting the notchback design has allowed for more headroom and knee room in the back, along with a rear seat that can recline for extra comfort. Though this F30 generation of 3-Series was never really cramped, the extra space will appease for sure. The 40:20:40 rear seat split, extra 40 litres of cargo space in the boot and the large, intrusion-free boot opening will definitely please too, the only fly in the ointment being that the space saver spare tyre doesn’t really save space in the boot.Luxury Line trim gets the gloss black trim. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)That apart, the 3 GT, as on the earlier model, gets what BMW calls an Air Curtain, vents behind the front wheels that help with the aerodynamics of having a higher roofline.Interiors:The interiors see no major changes in aesthetics, the cabin remains comfortable and you always get the feeling that you’re in something that’s built to last. Equipment levels across variants is notable, with 8-airbags, reversing camera, 9-speaker audio, navigation and electronic safety aids as standard.Updates to the MMI are new to the refreshed car. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Though the climate control system gets an updated LCD screen and the infotainment system has also been updated to the latest version of BMW’s iDrive and is very intuitive to use. The graphics that have the car roll onto the screen when you change drive modes, are slick. Speaking of drive modes, you can choose from Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+.Updates to the climate control are new to the refreshed car. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Drive Quality:The drive modes alter steering feel, gearbox behaviour and engine response at the pedal. Comfort is where we’ll start, since the overall impression of the 3 GT is that the ride is very, very good, being able to flatten out most road surfaces without upsetting the balance of the car. From Comfort to Sport, there’s a very natural weight to the steering that tightens up as speeds increase, with Comfort obviously offering city-appropriate feel and lightness. The engine response is crisp, right off idle and power comes in strong all the way to the 6,500rpm redline, which for a turbo motor is impressive, as is the raspy sound of the motor.Vents for rear passengers are placed very low to the floor but can be angled upwards to direct air towards the face. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)The eight-speed dual clutch ‘box is impressive helping the car establish the 0-100kmph dash in a claimed 6.1 seconds. We didn’t get the chance to push the car dynamically but mechanical grip from the chassis and 18-inch tyres is confidence inspiring.Verdict:This 3 GT makes a confusing case for itself. It’s got more space and practicality than the 3-Series sedan which makes it a better car to be in the back seat of. But in the 330i spec, it’s proper quick, if a little soft in the handling department. Not to forget, the downside of the practicality is that side profile view. We’d still recommend the diesel powertrain, if you’re more likely to be behind the driver’s seat than behind the wheel.advertisementNotchback design has allowed for more headroom and knee room in the back. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)On the other hand, if you value practicality and you love the thought of a quick petrol Beemer, the 330i GT may be the car for you. Personally… I hear BMW is taking orders for the 330i 3-Series sedan now.ALSO READ:2017 BMW 530d first drive reviewALSO READ:BMW Z4 is fun and interesting little carlast_img read more