by Tony West
In attempts to wow new fans, BMW rolls out a fresh line of 3 Series whips that are bigger, meaner, and more fuel efficient. With much buzz around the Mercedes-Benz CLA Class and the Audi A5, I assumed BMW would fall short for 2013. BMW boasts that the 3 Series has been on Car and Driver’s best list for 22 years, but we could care less about that. Relying on classic flair won’t last forever. So BMW refines the 3 Series line with the hatch style 328i Gran Turismo and 335i Gran Turismo.
The 3 Series Gran Turismo is easy on the eyes, with its longer wheelbase and taller slim stance. New additions to the exterior design like Air Breathers behind the front wheel, air intakes below the headlights, and an active rear spoiler give the BMW 3 Series GT better aerodynamics. The rest of the exterior design is “typical” BMW with the infamous kidney grille, xenon headlights, and LED accent lights in the front and twin LED’s in the rear.
Though the hatch style is not my thing, BMW claims that with a longer wheelbase the Gran Turismo allows for generous rear legroom. The 3 Series GT also has decent loading capacity. Back seats have 40:20:40 folding capacity and the 3 Series comes with an electrically operated tailgate.
The 3 Series GT is available in 2models, the 328i GT 4-cylinder and the 335i 6-cylinder. The 328i Gran Turismo is twin-turbo charged with 240 horsepower and 255ft-lb of torque. Significant weight and emissions is saved due to twin power turbo technology, which essentially combines direct injection, variable camshaft timing, and variable valve timing to extract power from the engine more efficiently. It’s said that this 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine is the most powerful V4 from BMW. And with aluminum components the 4-cylinder is lighter and more compact than a 6-cylinder of the same power. The 335i Gran Turismo has a 3.0 liter 6-cylinder engine with more sporty performance. The 6-cylinder has 300 horsepower and 300lb-ft of torque.
The 3 Series Gran Turismo has 3 equipment lines that further customize the whip character fans desire. The Sport Line features 9-molded black kidney slats sittin on chrome, black air intakes, black Air Breathers, and 18” or 19” light alloy wheels. The Sport Line also comes with sports seats and black and red interior accents. The optional M Sport adds more aerodynamic features to the exterior design and M Sport suspension. The Luxury Line is comprised of more elegant features like the 11-kidney grille slats sittin on chrome, chrome air breathers, 18” or 19” alloy wheels, and chrome accents inside and out. The Modern Line is the youthful more stylish trim with an 11-slat kidney grille and lighter trims against pearl effect chrome in the interior. All 3 lines have12 paint finishes to choose from.
The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission that allows for powerful acceleration and less fuel consumption than models with a 6-speed manual transmission. A sport version of the 8-speed automatic transmission is available with the Sport Line and M Sport that features paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The 8-speed automatic transmission also has an available Driver Dynamics Control Switch, where the driver can select to drive in “Normal” or “Sport” modes.
The rear-wheel-drive 3 Series GT has a number of light weight alloy components in its suspension that along with the electromechanical steering system make this whip excitingly agile and efficient. The 3 Series has double-pivot front suspension and 5-link rear suspension. The M Sport suspension is featured with M-Sport and the Sport Line and features variable sport steering and even sharper handling. Driver’s can take advantage of adaptive suspension or utilize the Driver Experience Control Switch to manually adjust suspension to a desired setting. The Driver Experience Control Switch has 4 modes to choose from: ECO Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport + that adjust a number of settings for a fine tuned driving experience.
For even more efficiency the 3 Series Gran Turismo employs Brake Energy Regeneration where energy for the electrical system is regenerated during braking and coasting, and the ECO Pro Route Function, which can cut fuel consumption by 20%.
All of the additions along with the plethora of customizable options make the 3 Series noteworthy. And the 3 Series comes with some great technology options, like the BMW ConnectedDrive that encompasses safety, infotainment, and other luxury features. The infamous Heads-Up display, surround view camera, and radar systems aid the Collision Warning System and Blind Spot Monitor system.
The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo has brains, a sexy little body and a lot more chutzpa. It’s like the sexy little Mila Kunis! I’d prefer more luxury acuterments, but hopefully the price will compensate for this. The 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo and 2014 335i Gran Turismo go on sale this Summer.