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BMW 3 Series GT here in September

Gran central: The 3 Series GT is the second Gran Turismo in BMW's line-up following on from the 5 Series GT released in Australia three years ago.

Three variants for BMW 3 Series GT kicking off with 320i from $69,500


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11 Jun 2013

BMW'S local 3 Series line-up has expanded again with confirmation the niche Gran Turismo hatch will arrive in Australia this September from $69,500 plus on-road costs.

Australia will get three variants of the GT – essentially shrunken but conceptually similar take on the existing 5 Series GT – with the range-opening 320i at $69,500, 320d diesel from $71,800 and flagship 328i for $76,500.

This means the 320i GT costs $10,900 more than the equivalent sedan version and $6900 more expensive than the equivalent Touring, while the 328i GT carries a $10,600 premium over the sedan and is $6600 dearer than the Touring.

The 3 Series GT maintains a similar design to its big brother, the 5 Series Gran Turismo, with a coupe-like sloping roof leading to the hatch and frameless door windows.

BMW Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker said the line-up will stay as is for the moment, with the inclusion of a more powerful six-cylinder 335i version unlikely.

“We know from historical sales volumes that the high-end engines aren't particularly high volumes when it comes to these particular concepts,” he said. “The volume or interest lies in the low to mid-range engines, the diesels, in terms of the travelling and the economical engines.”

The 5 Series GT went on sale in Australia in early 2010 and remains one of the slowest-selling models in the German's car-maker's local line-up, averaging around 15 sales per month for the first five months of this year.

Mr Croaker did not divulge sales targets for the 3 Series GT but said he expected it will enjoy a bit more interest than the 5 Series GT.

Much like its older sibling, the 3 Series GT is larger than the car on which it is based. The length of the car has grown by 200mm and the wheelbase is 110mm longer than the sedan while the roof line is 81mm taller than the Touring, allowing for more space in the cabin.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, boot capacity has increased in size over the sedan's 480-litre cargo area, with the Gran Turismo offering 520 litres with the rear seats up and 1600 litres when the 40:20:40 split second row is folded down.

The boot can be accessed via the electric tailgate that is standard across the range and features a two-part rear shelf that can be stowed in the cargo floor when not is use as well as dividable under-floor storage.

Mr Croaker said it was difficult to tell whether the Gran Turismo would take sales from the 3 Series sedan or Touring as it is a relatively new niche for the German brand, adding that buyers could come from a variety of segments.

“If customers in that segment wanted the versatility and the room, previously there was the 3 Series Touring. This is certainly a lifestyle car choice, so whether or not buyers from the small or compact SUV segment take an interest in this, we will see.

“It offers sedan-like dynamics and those sort of things that SUVs just don't quite have,” he said.

While an obvious competitor is Audi's similarly-priced but more sports-oriented A5 five-door, Mr Croaker said that buyers are looking for practicality and that is the GT's strength.

“It's not a sedan with a hatch on the back that doesn’t add any extra element, this one actually has a huge luggage and versatile cargo area but it's also got the refinement and luxury that is sort of a step up above the sedan,” he said.

Three different powertrain options are available, with the 320i getting BMW's TwinPower turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit producing135kW of power and 270Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.9 seconds.

Powering the 320d is a 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo diesel delivering 135kW and 380Nm of torque and the same 0-100km/h sprint time as the 320i.

Flagship 328i models are fitted with a 180kW/350Nm TwinPower turbo four-cylinder engine that helps push the car to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds.

All variants are matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and fuel use for the range is 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres for the 320i, 4.9L/100km in diesel 320d guise and 6.5L/100km for the 328i.

The list of standard features for all variants includes leather upholstery, leather multi-function steering wheel, electric front seats with memory, dual-zone climate control, and heat protection glass.

320i and 320d models get a 6.5-inch display and a business navigation system while the flagship 328i is fitted with an 8.8-inch high resolution colour display, BMW's professional navigation system, a 20Gb hard-drive for audio, storage and playback and a nine-speaker sound system.

Available safety features include bi-Xenon head-lights, lane departure warning, heads-up display and high-beam assist.

Buyers can choose from one of three BMW's 'lines' – Modern, Luxury or Sports – that feature individual exterior and interior styling flourishes.

, , , , BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo pricing*, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
320i GT (a)$69,500
320d GT (a)$71,800
328i GT (a)$76,500

*Excludes on-road costs.

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