BMW India launched the updated 2017 3 Series Gran Turismo (GT) in India last year. The changes are in line with the tweaks the 3 Series sedan gets. But is the revamped GT still good enough to live up to its name? Will it cater to those people who are looking for a spacious, practical, economical yet fast family car? We took it out for a long drive to find out.
The changes made to the exterior design of this latest iteration of the 3 Series GT are minimal. They are in line with BMW’s current design language and similar to what we have already seen on the 3 Series facelift. Up front, the headlamps have been transformed into full LED units with LED daytime running lights. Bumpers on both the front and the rear end have been redesigned in this facelifted car. The detailing on the tail lamps at the rear is also similar to what we have seen on the new 3 Series – sharp and striking. The facelifted vehicle still looks elegant and rides on new 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside too, the GT feels plush. Though the driver-centric dashboard with the analog instrument cluster is not the latest in the market, it is still ergonomic and practical. It is intuitive and put together quite well. It also falls in line with BMW’s reputation of making high quality interiors. The front seats come with electric adjustment, making it easy to find a comfortable position. The rear seat is however, the piece-de-resistance - which will truly keep its occupants happy. There is a lot of room for two people and the seat is nicely reclined for comfort. A third person sitting in the same row might feel slightly cramped as far as leg-room goes, due to the high transmission tunnel.
With add-on features, the GT is now on a better footing. There is a new gear selector and iDrive controller paired to an 8.8-inch screen which displays all the vehicle data and infotainment options. You may be assured of a nearly unlimited music playback during road trips thanks to the 20GB on-board data storage and nine-speaker system. The easy-to-use BMW apps provide a whole load of useful information. The parking system gives a clear view thanks to a well-appointed rear-view camera. As with new BMWs, the GT also gets two cup-holders in the center console, many storage places and roomy bins on the door to hold large bottles. The boot space, at 520 litres, is by far the largest in any 3 Series and provides even more space when the rear seats are folded flat with the pull of a lever. The GT is well-equipped with safety features too, most of which are similar to what is present in BMW’s other models – eight airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control, ESP and ISOFIX child-seat mounts.
The GT’s 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel motor is also seen on the 3 Series sedan, and is more like a tried and tested mill for the brand. The power plant produces 187bhp at 4,000rpm and a meaty torque of 400Nm from 1,750rpm. The engine freely revs up to 4,500rpm and doesn’t have a pronounced diesel clatter. The refined mill responds to throttle inputs well and has loads of torque to pull away from low rpm. The mid-range is impressive enough to keep the momentum going and has a good top-end making it fun to drive on the highways as well. The eight-speed gearbox is quick and responsive too, with timely shifts and has a smoothened response. You can alternatively use the paddle shifters or the tip-tronic function on the joystick-like gear lever. Thanks to the different driving modes (Sport+, Sport, ECOPRO, Comfort), the GT provides either an exhilarating or a calm driving experience as per your requirement. The engine is mapped to deliver the maximum fuel efficiency in the ECOPRO mode, while the steering assist reduces, suspension stiffens, throttle response and gear shifts become sharper towards the Sport+ mode.
The GT scores well in the ride and handling department even if it’s not as good as the 3 Series. Since this is a tall car, there is a slight body roll around tight bends because of higher ground clearance and high center of gravity. Thankfully, these body movements are mild and quite controlled, allowing the car to go even faster. There is loads of grip in corners and the nicely weighted steering feels precise, inspiring confidence while tacking such bends too. Thanks to compliant suspension, bumps and rough patches are absorbed well, although sharp obstacles do send a thud through the cabin. The car also pitches and wallows over crests and joints on the highway. After all, the 165mm ground clearance is good enough for most roads, but still one will have to be slow and careful over larger bumps. All four disc brakes work well in bringing the car to a halt even though the brake pedals feel more progressive than grabby.
What’s also fantastic is the fuel efficiency, similar to the 320d. That said, it becomes clear why many buyers prefer this 320d trim. The GT continues to thrill with its performance figures as it has a claimed top speed of 236kmph, and in our tests it sprinted from 0-100kmph in 7.8 seconds.
|Model||3 Series GT|
|Variant||320d Luxury Line|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||188bhp @ 4,000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400Nm @ 1,750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||57|
|Tyre size||225/50 R18|
|18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels||Yes|
|Different driving modes||Yes|
|Sports seats with alcantara upholstery||Yes|
|Parking sensors with rear view camera||Yes|
|520litres of boot space||Yes|
In terms of positioning, the ex-showroom price of Rs 46.5 lakh slots the BMW 3 Series GT between the 3 Series sedan and the 5 Series sedan. And since this GT has no real competitors here in India, it enjoys a free run. So the question now remains – is it worth the additional Rs 3.8 lakh over the regular 3 Series sedan? We say yes, as it certainly ticks the boxes of being a comfortable, spacious and practical vehicle – this one is a fast yet economical family car. And, in addition, you get to own a car which is different in shape as compared to the conventional mainstream sedans.