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      03-14-2013, 10:10 PM   #1
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First press reviews from Autocar - http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/...t-drive-review

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What is it?

A BMW 3-series with added space – especially in the rear seats and the boot.

Unless you're familiar with riding on the back bench of some of BMW's biggest machines, you'll be quite unused to legroom on this scale, and if three occupy it, they'll make the surprise discovery that the arrangement will be tolerable for more than half an hour. This is the new 3-series for families, and families that need more room than a 3-series Touring or even a 5-series saloon can offer.

Though not as much as the rather odd-looking 5-series GT provides, this 3 GT being its new, smaller brother. The 5 GT offers cavernous room, but within an envelope that's probably BMW's unhappiest aesthetically. By comparison the 3 GT is more harmoniously sculpted, even if its rear end looks over-heavy in the bumper area and the rearmost pillar seems anaemic.

So it's not the most handsome BMW, but if you consider it as a rakishly sporty, five-door MPV-coupé, its appeal becomes easier to understand. Especially when you learn that the car was born out of a delve into 3-series customers' desires, these including more room – not so surprising if you've served time in the back of the saloon – and the raised seating of SUVs. Which is why this car is unusual for being a taller sports hatch of a kind that, in the premium segment, has no direct equivalent.

Calling it a GT might seem odd, but these letters have been liberally applied – or misapplied – for decades. And there's no question that visually, this smaller BMW GT is a more harmonious and dynamic-looking device than the 5 GT.

It's also hugely practical. The boot is larger than a Touring's, at 520 litres, and very large indeed when the rear seats are felled to reveal 1600 litres of stowage. A shame that the backrests merely drop onto their cushions rather than tumbling with the seat base to form a bulkhead and a flat floor, but there's no question that you can get a lot in there. Each portion of the split backrest descends with the tug of a handle, although you must hump it back upright yourself.

Versatility is further improved by a backrest that locks into 15 different positions across 19 degrees, potentially allowing it to swallow that pesky chest of drawers without dropping the seats. The boot provides an under-floor well, load-securing rails, hooks and lashing eyes, while the rigid two-piece rear parcel shelf stows below the deck floor – a rare convenience. All GTs have electric tailgates – just as well, because it's a hefty structure – and waggling a foot under the rear bumper sends it rising skywards. Equally obscure, though, is a release button buried near the driver's door that few will spot.

The reason for all this extra space is quite simple: the GT is a much bigger car. You also sit at much the same height as an X1 driver. Of course, that also means that this GT 3-series has a higher centre of gravity, besides being heftier than a Touring. So what does that do to the dynamics of this ultimate driving machine?

What is it like?

According to GT project leader Martin Delitz, much effort has been expended maintaining the 3's agility, although comfort has also been a priority for this more family-oriented machine. And fitted with the £750 electronic M Sport dampers (a must-buy for any keen 3-series driver), the GT provides an almost loping pliancy, although ridges and bigger bumps occasionally provoke an unseemly thumping not present in the saloon. Some crests provoke a curious vertical bounce too, particularly from the rear.

Firm it up from comfort to sport and little of that overall suppleness is lost, roll is usefully checked and the 2.0-litre diesel drivetrain roused from its occasionally near-indolent low-rev, high-geared economising strategy. The steering, which feels overlight in comfort, muscles up to provide a sometimes-slightly springy resistance, but a better-than-average impression of the topography beneath. And on these settings the GT hides its higher-set mass well through corners to exploit a 50:50 weight distribution that provides bursts of light entertainment that are limited more by the engine than any significant dynamic shortfalls.

And there's no question that these days, BMW's 2.0 diesel motor is greying with age. It's too prominent at idle, too prominent when revved and well, just too prominent generally. It's fairly smooth and its torque curve well spread, but for a car called GT it isn't especially powerful. Performance is brisk enough for the urban battle and it's a relaxed cruiser, especially with those eight ratios, but this engine does its work without huge panache.

The transmission is more impressive, never hunting despite its multiple gears, these selected with subtly enthusiastic verve in sport mode. You can occasionally do a better job yourself across undulating twists, the paddle-shifts well placed for speedy tweaking, but this is a 'box that chooses well. In fuel-saving eco-pro mode it pursues a low-rev, high-geared economy-eking strategy that might yield the odd laboured grumble from up front, but promises very decent fuel consumption.

If you're a regular 3-series driver, the rest of the GT's package will be familiar. The dashboard is the same as you'll find in the rest of the range, and so is the general ambience, if not the trim's design detail. As with the saloon and the Touring you can choose from SE, Sport, Modern and M Sport trims, although the first and last of these are expected to predominate.

Should I buy one?

The GT body style costs £1300 more than the Touring and £2600 more than the saloon, so you need to be certain that you want the extra space and versatility. The M Sport package is well worth having because it significantly improves the GT's look too, and you should also choose those adaptive dampers.

So it's not a cheap 3-series, nor the most handsome, and the sometimes-troubled ride and noisier engine must be factored-in. But as a set of versatile family wheels of lightly sporting flavour, this 3 is the best yet.
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      03-14-2013, 10:20 PM   #2
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Seems like a well-balanced and thoughtful review.

The 3GT fits a nice spot for those who'd like the space of an X3, but don't care for the higher center of gravity, nor the superfluous (for many) xDrive.
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      03-14-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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With the 3-series Touring and X1 occupying such similar spaces, I don't see a very big market for this car. I think that BMW is pushing the whole "Gran Turismo" line up too hard.
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      03-14-2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Seems like a well-balanced and thoughtful review.

The 3GT fits a nice spot for those who'd like the space of an X3, but don't care for the higher center of gravity, nor the superfluous (for many) xDrive.
So a normal 3er wagen doesn't fill that perfectly? I really curious who is pushing this GT stuff at BMW too.
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      03-14-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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      03-14-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minicrazy592 View Post
So a normal 3er wagen doesn't fill that perfectly? I really curious who is pushing this GT stuff at BMW too.
F31 doesn't have any more rear legroom than my F30... I have two kids in car seats, that extra 3" of legroom is the difference between several swear words or none. Add even more rear cargo area than the F31, and this thing definitely has my attention.
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      03-14-2013, 11:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahzari
With the 3-series Touring and X1 occupying such similar spaces, I don't see a very big market for this car. I think that BMW is pushing the whole "Gran Turismo" line up too hard.
+1

Its just a silly concept for silly people I guess. For people that value form over function.
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      03-14-2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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      03-14-2013, 11:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahzari
With the 3-series Touring and X1 occupying such similar spaces, I don't see a very big market for this car. I think that BMW is pushing the whole "Gran Turismo" line up too hard.
I tend to think that BMW is hoping that the GT will catch on and eventually displace SUVs. Follow my logic for a moment, Americans don't want wagons, they just don't. They were popular before the 80a but when SUVs started hitting the market those became the go to family haulers. SUVs have become a matter of mixed perceptions now too, they are vilified as gas guzzlers. Car makers are under pressure to improve gas mileage, a lot of pressure. So we see them looking at various solutions, hybrids, diesels etc. one of the solutions is to displace SUVs, but how when we've already established that Americans won't buy wagons? Well the G\T seems like a gambit to do just that, displace SUVs. They have more room than a sedan, they are not a wagon, and the styling looks like a popular SUV, the x6. If the G/T catches on it is a big win for BMW, they get to phase out SUVs and have variants on existing sedans replace them. That is less expensive from a business perspective, reduced r and d, reduced maint costs, commonality of parts, better gas mileage etc, etc.

I don't know if the G/T form will catch on, there have been mixed receptions for a while. Cars like the Pontiac Aztec were hated, the hatchback Honda accords got mixed reviews, the BMW G/T 5er got mixed reviews, and now the 3 series G/T is getting mixed reviews. So don't know if it will catch on or not but I can see why BMW is pushing it, it makes sense from a business perspective.
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      03-15-2013, 12:08 AM   #10
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I think the plastic looking side vent and bumper pieces significantly cheapen the aesthetic of the car.
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      03-15-2013, 12:23 AM   #11
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F31 doesn't have any more rear legroom than my F30... I have two kids in car seats, that extra 3" of legroom is the difference between several swear words or none. Add even more rear cargo area than the F31, and this thing definitely has my attention.

I'm in agreement with you. I'll take a close look at the GT
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      03-15-2013, 12:43 AM   #12
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It looks like it's too tall, not a fan.
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      03-15-2013, 01:12 AM   #13
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Hate it
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      03-15-2013, 01:25 AM   #14
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I don't know why BMW is launching this set of ugly GT cars instead of focusing on building a supercar! Please BMW, build a supercar. There are people in need for such a thing.
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      03-15-2013, 01:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
F31 doesn't have any more rear legroom than my F30... I have two kids in car seats, that extra 3" of legroom is the difference between several swear words or none. Add even more rear cargo area than the F31, and this thing definitely has my attention.
I have 3 kids, so even though this is not the best-looking BMW, I am also interested. Does anyone know if the back seat is wider too? I believe the GT is slightly wider, but I'm not sure what the end result is in the back. I have been able to squeeze in 3 front-facing seats/boosters in the back of the sedan, but it was a pain to get them in. Wondering if it will be easier in the GT. I had moved away from the 3-series, and have been looking at the 5 as well as the Lexus GS, but the GT has piqued my interest. Also, did I read that it will start reaching dealerships this summer? Do we have a better idea of when exactly?
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      03-15-2013, 02:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerjph
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahzari
With the 3-series Touring and X1 occupying such similar spaces, I don't see a very big market for this car. I think that BMW is pushing the whole "Gran Turismo" line up too hard.
+1

Its just a silly concept for silly people I guess. For people that value form over function.
Erm, read the review, or look at BMWs website... This is the most practical 3 series of the range, and the one with the most polarising styling ... How the hell do you get form over function from that?!?!? It offers greater function whilst compromising its form.. You must be confusing this with the 3/4 series convertible.
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      03-15-2013, 03:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
F31 doesn't have any more rear legroom than my F30... I have two kids in car seats, that extra 3" of legroom is the difference between several swear words or none. Add even more rear cargo area than the F31, and this thing definitely has my attention.
+1
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      03-15-2013, 03:50 AM   #18
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lets make the 4 series concept with 5 door that will be killing ...

like audi A5 !!!!

oh my good they are doing it !!!! great news

http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=815161



that is a great family car

Last edited by carlosalbertogui; 03-15-2013 at 03:56 AM.
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      03-15-2013, 04:09 AM   #19
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It's ugly and boring. Period. You don't have to find a good justification to every stupidity that BMW does.
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      03-15-2013, 04:46 AM   #20
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http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/2013...-review/265583
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      03-15-2013, 05:02 AM   #21
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Telegraph lambaste the GT

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/...mo-review.html
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      03-15-2013, 05:41 AM   #22
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