2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Review

Seattle, Washington - Yes, we’ll admit that the 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is the duckbill platypus of the BMW line. It’s as if Mother Nature took a 3 Series sedan into her hands, tugged and pulled at it for a while, then set it down and shrugged her shoulders. And yet for all this, we’ve had two people (no, actually it’s three) come right up and tell us that this is exactly the BMW that they’re looking for.

It’s all a matter of passenger space. The 3 Series GT has been stretched over a long, 115.0-inch wheelbase, and now this 3 Series car has the big back seat that even car enthusiasts demand, perhaps because they feel guilty about having too much fun behind the wheel without paying some lip service to people-hauling practicality.

While the BMW 5 Series sedan seems too big (and too expensive), and the BMW 3 Series sedan is too small, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo meets the Goldilocks standard.

Not too big and not too small

Things feel just right on the inside of the 3 Series GT, too. You sit about an inch higher than you would in a 3 Series sedan, and the rear passengers get 4.1 inches more legroom. Everyone gets more headroom, too. Plus the large hatchback reveals 18.4 cubic-feet of trunk capacity, which expands to 56.5 cubic feet when the 40/20/40-split rear seat flips down. In comparison, the BMW 3 Series sedan has a trunk that holds 13.0 cubic-feet of stuff.

Hatchback-style sedans like the 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo have come and gone in Europe over the years without being embraced by Americans. But now the Audi A7 and BMW 5 Series GT have made these platypus-style hatchback sedans kind of appealing, especially in China where extreme styling combined with passenger utility has come to define what a Chinese car is meant to be all about.

In fact, we suspect that hatchback sedans like this have been designed expressly for drivers in China.

Growls like a bear, but still a BMW

We drove around a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT, just because its fuel-sipping four-cylinder engine with stop/start seems so appropriate for this all-wheel-drive, family-style 3 Series. This car is rated at 22 mpg City/33 mpg Highway and 26 mpg Combined, so it has that daily practicality. At the same time, we found that 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque were enough to get us really rolling on the weaving two-lane roads between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

This engine is far from a half-hearted engineering exercise, as the architecture for this long-stroke, 1997-cc inline-4 is derived from the current N55 inline-6. Meanwhile, a twin-scroll turbo ensures that the boost spools up at low rpm and then carries through to peak rpm, variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams swells the power curve down low, and direct fuel injection makes possible a relatively high 10.0:1 compression ratio that helps deliver crisp acceleration. All this and an eight-speed automatic transmission make for some serious BMW motoring.

Driving in the kingdom

The GT itself is up to it. While the wheelbase of 115 inches and curb weight of 3915 pounds suggest platypus-style handling, the all-wheel-drive GT still feels like a BMW. If you want the car to feel even more like a BMW, you just order the M Sport trim package, which includes plenty of distinctive aero bodywork, a slightly more aggressive suspension calibration with a ride height that’s lower by 0.4 inches, 18- or 19-inch wheels with low-profile tires, and a quick-shifting version of the BMW eight-speed transmission.

With the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, what we really have is simply a plus-size BMW 3 Series, a small car made slightly bigger. In fact, what we really have is a classic BMW 5 Series, which was also a small car made big, not the big car made small that it has become in recent years. Now, if we can only make the BMW 3 Series GT look more like a classic BMW 5 Series and less like a platypus.

I agree(d) with a lot of the comments here, found the BMW 5-series not aesthetically pleasing, too big and awkward looking - and until yesterday did not even realize there was a 3-series GT, but now I do.
Wife and I went looking for a new car for her yesterday to replace her 2001 325i - I had my 2013 X3 xDrive35i already for a year so we knew what these cars were like - have had five BMWs total in the past thirty years.  Was already convinced she would like an X1 or another 3-series like a 328i before we got there, and drove them both.  She wanted a car higher off the ground than her 325i - we are both getting older (60's) and can't put up with stooping and twisting to climb out anymore.
Drove both of those cars, the X1's steering required too much effort for her taste, I tried it too and agreed it had a very different feel, (non-power assisted?) than other BMWs.  Then drove the 328i and 335i and were kind of resigned to getting one but not excited - we've basically had, like four of these in total.
The salesperson John Wolff at Weatherford BMW said something about walnut trim versus other woods and we asked to see it.  He didn't have anything with it in the showroom with this trim so he drove a car over that had it to show us.  Turned out it was a Mineral White 328i xDrive Gran Turismo which I automatically assumed was a 5-series.  John and my wife sat in it to see the walnut trim and test out the heads up display to see if she'd like it.  I dismissed this car and went inside the showroom because I thought it was a 5-series Gran Turismo which I knew I didn't like, too large for us and too expensive.John came in a second later and said my wife wants to buy this car!  I went out and realized it was a 3-series GT!
Now able to focus and look at it for what it really was, it appeared to look much better than the 5-series I'd written off.  It looked great to me and my wife loved it, it had everything we wanted:  An inch or two higher so no stooping to get in, something in-between a car and SUV in terms of driving visibility as a result, big hatchback type trunk lid as we often (we're remodeling our house) move stuff like furniture around, cool motorized spoiler (just for fun), larger interior space for more comfort for us and passengers without having to be a 5-series, good performance and gas mileage with the 2-liter turbo engine, xDrive giving us controlled 4-wheel drive (which I'm used to a like in my X3) so we have traction going to Tahoe in winter, Harmon-Kardon sound system, she liked the heads-up display, panorama glass roof, heated seats and steering wheel, loaded for $50K in 2014.  Only a couple of thousand more than a Luxury Line 328i without xDrive.
Change is good.
We don't miss the Hofmeister Kink in the rear side windows - often in my X3 I glance there changing lanes and it sometimes fools me into thinking there is a car there.  The clean lines of the rear windows look sleek and cool.  There is more bulk but we have out-grown our boy-racer mentality and are into a good driving experience blended with practicality - I can see fitting baby-seats in back for upcoming grand-kids already.  And it gets up to 33 MPG with good performance and 4-wheel drive while having space to haul a lounge chair around to boot.  The aesthetics to us are just fine and sometimes you have to see a car from the inside-out to appreciate it.
The BMW for grown-ups in our opinion.

This is the only BMW ever not to feature the classic "c" hook at the c pillar.....did they just forget?
Steven Lubalin
Looks like a Hyundai GT
retired aerospace engineer
BMW may have found a niche: I traded my Subaru Outback for the 328i GT.  The GT gives far better handling, a powerful engine, refined transmission, comfort front and rear, ample space for skis, two 60-pound dogs, and luggage for LONG TRIPS.  The T in GT is an Italian word for touring, right?  We've usually exceeded the 33 mpg rated highway mileage, owing of course to streamlined styling.   On snow and ice, its AWD and sophisticated stability control is brilliant for keeping my wife on the road.  Just added a hitch to haul mountain bikes.  Oh, and our friends have COMPLIMENTED its appearance...but these people are an active crowd who expected me to show up in a Subaru. 
Efren Avila Jr
As ugly as the 6 series
Wayne Cearley
BMW is lost.
Želimir Blažević
Sorry, but GT is ugly.
Jeff Christopherson
Fat-assed waste of sheet metal...
Sylvain Raymond
Looks contemporary and awesome, very Asian looks which IS WHAT SELLS CARS RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Manny Gutierrez
BMW, what in the hell were you thinking people?
Lee Klein
Cars don't get much uglier than this. It just looks all fat and bloated and uncomfortable. Their wagons are/were so much prettier. This thing is just gross.
Samuel O Lee
I would take the new Infiniti Q50, Lexus GS350, the new Mazda 6, or the new Hyundai Genesis Sedan over a BMW 3-Series.
Samuel O Lee
In its ambition to join Toyota, GM, and Ford in global sales, BMW is on the slippery slope to becoming an average automaker. The first things to disappear will be BMW's boutique brand cachet and carefully tuned model-performance due to parts/platform sharing and cost-cutting to subsidize new lower-priced high-volume vehicles.
Quince Dunham
Cadillac should get in on the 4door coupe game with the ats so should Lincoln with a mustang variant awd til then Detroit gots a lot of growing up to do Camaro too
Steven Matthew Myers
Stupid looking humpbacked hatch.
Erick Ople
I wish Audi would bring this here in the states. Audi A5 sportback
Chris Story
I don't!
Ross Mazin
Richard Macintyre
apparently they learned nothing from the criticisms the 5 series GT got.
Doug Maxwell
umm, a German Honda CrossTour....
James Hall
Hated it!
Chom Nan
Tommy Carlisle
Ugly and bloated. An actual wagon would be much better looking
And so the German micro-niche wars continue......
Jose Byron Gonzalez
Aaron Fremuth
What's the point? Just buy the wagon. Oh wait, I see, so they offer the 335i X-Drive trim on this ugly thing but not the wagon?! Shame on you BMW.
Robert May
Give me a 3 series wagon instead.
Robert May
Looks great except for everything past the B-pillar, and the played out, super cliche vent on the front fenders. And how can a 3 series be too small when all past 3 series were even smaller?! In all honesty though, the GT line from BMW needs to go. There lineup is beyond watered down.
Andre Jordan
Lee Hockenbury
well, it looks like a bmw...
Maxx Marcel Jones
Please tickle our fancies or mine at least with the MGT3.... Hmmm with an 6manuel rear or awd.... Quad exhaust 19 inch wheels n tires... Glass roof...twin turbo 6....
Maxx Marcel Jones
Much better than that "sat on" by a fat guy for about 3-5 seconds look... Love the bumpers live the wheels n tire pkge love the side fenders. Now make a MGT3 than Iam down at the nearest dealership
Phillip Morris
Totally useless car
Bradford Mahler
Didn't the whole GT idea fail miserably with the earlier 5 series GT a few years back? As in dealers couldn't literally give those things away. There is a 3 series wagon and sedan and coupe already why make some hideous amalgamation of all 3?
Daniel Sloan
Drew C Doukas
That looks pretty awful really...
Tad Dunville
Steve Yelich
No and why does BMW think it needs so many models?
Justin Emerson
why can't they just be happy with a wagon?
Brian Michael
I like BMW's but this thing just looks wrong. Are they trying to look like Hyundai?
Kwasi Jackson
Claudio Critelli
As a fan of 5-doors and hatchbacks and  a current owner of a 2007 Mazda 6i 5-door I like it. With the more aero fastback design of cars like this and the Fusion a hatchback makes the most sense. BTW, if Ford would make a 5-door USA Fusion like the Euro Mondeo, I'd be first in line as a future replacement for my Mazda.
Richard Brown
No, starts looking like an old Pontiac!
Richard Patterson
Crystal N Walter Brewer
Alexander Stewart
Shobit Sharma
Alexandre D
@retired aerospace engineer can you share where you bought your hitch
Quince Dunham
can't wait to see the next myers 4door coupe.   bet it'll be hot.   or not

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles