First Look: 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

In its quest to build as many different vehicles as possible from one common starting point, BMW has launched yet another volley: the 3 Series Gran Turismo. The 3 GT follows the pattern of the 5 Series Gran Turismo that came before it, splitting the difference between a sedan, crossover, and wagon. The 3 Series GT fills the tiny niche for buyers who want a high-riding 3 Series with a smidge more cargo room.

In every dimension, the 3 Series GT is larger than the sedan and Sports Wagon versions. Its wheelbase of 115.0 inches is 4.4 inches greater than that of either current body style. At 189.9 inches long, 58.6 inches tall, and 72.0 inches wide, the GT also is wider, longer, and taller than even the 3 Series Sports Wagon. There are three main benefits to this growth spurt: the seats are 2.3 inches higher, affording driver and passengers a more crossover-like vantage point; cargo room behind the rear seat is one cubic foot greater than in a 3 Series Sports Wagon; and rear legroom grows by 2.8 inches, putting the 3 GT midway between the BMW 5 and 7 Series in terms of backseat space.

Aside from an awkward stance brought on by the higher body and liftgate tail, the Gran Turismo's sheetmetal mostly resembles any other 3 Series. The windows are frameless, however, and the beltline makes an upward kink aft of the C-pillar. The roof curves smoothly down, leading to the tailgate's large rear window and stubby deck. While all modern BMWs have "Air Curtains" that direct air away from the front wheels for reduced drag, the Gran Turismo also adds "Air Breathers" that perform the same trick on the rear wheels arches.

Also new is an active roof spoiler that rises when the vehicle hits 68 mph to reduce rear-end lift by 35 percent. That puts the car's aerodynamic performance on par with that of a 3 Series sedan and keeps handling stable at highway speeds.

Familiar Powertrain Choices

The two engine options for the Gran Turismo model match those of the 3 Series sedan, with 328i and 335i configurations. (The Sports Wagon, notably, is only available in 328i guise.) The 328i uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, and the 335i has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft.

Given the powertrain commonalities, the Gran Turismo also shares fuel-saving tricks with other 3 Series models, including auto stop-start, electromechanical power steering, and a Brake Energy Regeneration system can disconnect accessories like the alternator and air conditioner to save fuel.

More Space, More Colors

The biggest difference inside is that the 3 Series Gran Turismo offers 18.4 cubic feet of cargo room in its hatch, versus 12.0 in the sedan and 17.4 in the Sports Wagon. Four tie-down points, a small hook, an underfloor storage compartment, and a two-level parcel shelf make for even more practicality. Owners can also expand storage capacity by adjusting the upright angle of the back seats through 19 degrees, or by folding the 40:20:40-split seat to produce up to 56.5 cubic feet of space. And the power-opening tailgate has a massive 44-inch wide, 24.3-inch tall opening to more easily swallow large items.

BMW will offer the 3 Series GT in the familiar choice of Sport, Comfort, Luxury, Modern, and M Sport. The two "sport" lines feature a 0.4-inch lower ride height, unique 18- or 19-inch wheels, firmer suspension, and more aggressive programming for the eight-speed automatic. The long list of options includes features available on the sedan and Sports Wagon: adaptive headlights, the 360-degree Surround View camera, BMW Parking Assistant, a head-up display, iDrive with navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, and the ComfortAccess keyless entry feature -- which also allows owners to pop the 3 GT's liftgate by waving a foot beneath the rear bumper.

In addition to all the color, trim, and upholstery choices available in other 3 Series models, BMW blessed the Gran Turismo with three extra metallic hues: Kalahari Beige, Midnight Blue, and Sparking Brown.

Fitting In?

The one remaining question is to where the Gran Turismo variant fits in BMW's product range. It's certainly more practical than a 3 Series sedan thanks to its improved cargo room, but then so is the Sports Wagon that launches in the U.S. this spring. And if buyers just want a slightly higher driving position, BMW already offers the X1 and X3 crossovers. It also remains to be seen whether buyers will even be interested in the new body style: the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, which follows a similar design brief to the 3 GT, has been a sales disappointment since its introduction at the 2009 Geneva motor show.

The 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo makes its public debut at the New York auto show and goes on sale in the U.S. toward the end of this year.

JoanRM
I owned a 2007 328iT Sports Wagon with a manual transmission.  I felt like a race car driver in that thing.  Beautiful car in every way.  Carried tons of cargo.  Went 0-60 like a rocket.  Handled like it was on rails.  Only problem was when I encountered snow it got stuck every time, which made me vow to buy xDrive next time.  The biggest con was it drank gas too fast and -- considering global warming -- I'm very big on high MPG.  I'm thrilled the new Sports Wagon will come in diesel later this year with predicted 40-45 MPG.  Great!  It's almost everything I want.  However, it appears there will be no manual transmission.  My dream car would be a manual 3 series sports wagon with xDrive, running on hydrogen.  BMW has the hydrogen car project.  Get that into a manual 3 series wagon and I'm all over it.  Granted, that's probably looking a few years into the future technology-wise.  Until then, do the same thing in diesel.As for now, I can't see any appeal in the 3 series GT.  I've sat in the 5 series GT in the showroom and was repulsed by it in every way.  What kind of person would buy such a thing?  It's like a frankenstein car cobbled together from stray bits.  Or something designed by a committee, where each person got one part they wanted, but when cobbled together the finished product is a total mess and does nothing well.  The slanted hatch prevents you from carrying tall things which would fit in a wagon.  The extra length makes it awkward visually as well as to drive.  Granted the higher stance makes it easy to get in and out of -- but more difficult to maneuver.  And the extra bulk drives down the MPG.  Note to BMW:  Don't design like a committee.  Design like a soccer mom -- all about practicality, with a  little fun and zip thrown in to remind yourself of carefree youth.  (I'm not a soccer mom, but you get the idea.)I want a  3series sports wagon with manual transmission, xDrive, and diesel fuel (until you can do it in hydrogen).  That's your assignment.  Now get cracking.  (Please.)
maxnix
It will appeal to people who have to carry more than one passenger and stuff but who do not want an SUV nor a wagon.The 5 Series GT was criticized also, but it functions well as a luxury tourer and actually cannibalizes 7 series sales.IF you don't like it, STFU and don't buy it.  Very simple.
Nickshu
Beautiful!  My next car for sure.  I love 5 door hatchbacks.  There is nothing more truly European.  I never have understood why Americans don't like them.  They are great looking and totally functional!  There are few cars more useless than a 4-door sedan, the rear hatch makes it so practical for everyday life for those of us with an active lifestyle.  Can't wait!
Philip Greene
I really like it.  I have been a long time Saab owner and I have missed the 5 door hatchback layout.  I am very interested in this car with the 2.0 turbo and the practical 5 door layout.  
Craig Stishenko
Slammed stretched X6?
Georges Boutros
Non merci
Shad Bosh
Just give me a 335i/d wagon with 6MT please. While you're at it, throw in a sport package with M3 (M4?) suspension and wheel/tire options. Track on Saturday, Home Depot on Sunday.
Thomas Trost
Thanks a lot fellow Americans....your wagon-phobia has gotten us this!
Younnas Alginusa
this when BMW design language talk, now we gonna see other automakers flow same way,,,
Jake Chapman
Better than the 5.. That thing looks like it was born sideways. Ugliest car to come out of BMW for some time. Just stick with the wagon.
Zohra La Rousse
Not ugly, not a flop! But no originality, not charms, no value...
Rick Reny
hatchback styling does not become the 3 series
Angie Ferrannini Nielsen
Flop. I agree with some of the posters here - Crosstour written all over it. Please go back to a more European-looking BMW; I miss the 2000s...
Manuel Mendoza
Flop Looks like a honda accord crosstour....
Robert Cossaboon
Gt and SS badges should be reserved for the most badass. They are not (in my humble opinion) nuff said.
David Desilet
Disgusting
Lee Klein
Either way, it's really ugly.
Chintan Gundarania
better design...
Coskun Josh Caglar
Big FLOP!!
Siraj Jungi Sagar
Aint nobody got time fo that looks like somebody been barbecurring.....
Seven Right
Flop please BMW fire that Designer !! Bangle butt 2.0 !!
Carl Edwards
That is one ugly Volvo...
Deepak Krishnan
Gross
John Johur
Flop
Jacob Jones
I don't really care but it will be a good deal new like the 5 is, because they have to discount them 15-20k just to sell them!
Roy J. Adams
The name doesn't make sense to me.
Davy Secondclasscitizen Beam
Flop. Another colossal waste of resources by the family of Goebbels.
Brandon Bale
flop. reminds me of the 3-series hatchback from 10 years ago, which was ugly and a sales flop.
Clarence Rogers
Flop. Who the hell wants a hunchbacked BMW?
Kyree S. Williams
Particularly in the U.S., it's going to be a *major* flop. If nothing else, it reminds us of the horrid GM X-Body cars. Didn't BMW learn its lesson from the horrid 5-Series GT?
Noah Gilbert
It'll be popular, but man is it ugly.
Mpho Langa
Sent it back to the design team!
Paul Perry
Flop
Simon Emge
Ugly
Eric Seeger
Kinda reminds me of the 318 quasi-hatch. It was a cool car, but probably not one of BMW's high points.
Brandon DeLeo
That's hideous...
Herbert Salamánca Ramos
flop!
RJ O'Connor
Flop
Collin Oskahpee
Ain't nobody got time fo' dat! Looks like somebody been barbecurring!
Phillip E Pegues
Kinda like it..but we know the 4 series gran coupe will be much better.
Eric Banks
Destined to flop. Like the 5 series GT, it's hideous!!
Corey W Sheldon
Specs soumd promising but afraid itll be somewhere between the z3/4 and the 5gt sales wise
Shannon Dever
Not diggin' it. That back end causes it to lose the crispness of design that we expect from BMW'S design language.
Steve Rothaug
Terrible. They need to fire somebody.
Pete Colombus
flop
Tad Dunville
gross
Monsieur Oblong
Absolutely effing terrible.  Ugly and pointless.  This is what BMW brings us instead of giving us engine, transmission, and drivetrain combinations in the 3 series wagon.  An ugly bastard child nobody asked for and nobody will buy. BMW: I'd buy a 3 series wagon with xDrive, a diesel, and a manual transmission, in a heartbeat.  I'm not even shopping for a new car, but I'd do it in principle, tomorrow, if you built it.  Nobody asked you for this, nobody wants it.  The cars people want, you won't build, with the logic that "it won't sell."  Yet you produce atrocious monstrosities such as this that nobody asked for, either!
ABQHUDSON
Looks like a very practical car. Hope it does well.
No Logic
this will be the cheapest 3 series to lease within a few months of its launch. 
Corey Foreside
These German automakers are seriously getting out of hand.

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