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BMW to axe 3 Series GT
Niche 3 Series GT to be discontinued, BMW engine portfolio to be simplified
8 May 2019
BMW chairman Harald Kruger has announced in the German car-maker’s quarterly report that the quirky 3 Series GT will be discontinued when production of the current model ceases.
Arriving on Australian shores in late 2013, the Gran Turismo 3 Series is the smaller brother to the 5 Series GT, offering similar fastback styling and a more coupe-like profile.
Longer and taller than its sedan counterpart, the GT was designed to appeal to buyers who wanted SUV-style interior space but similar driving dynamics to the regular 3 Series.
Unfortunately for BMW, the GT bodystyle never really caught on in Australia, with both the 3 Series and 5 Series versions regularly finishing among the lowest-selling offerings of BMW’s mainstream range.
In 2018, the 3 Series GT managed a paltry 57 sales compared with 3079 of the 3 Series, while 2017 also produced similarly small numbers with 113 sales compared with 2584.
Only two variants of the 3 Series GT are offered in Australia, starting with the oil-burning 320d and moving up to the petrol-powered 330i.
The 320d’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine puts out 140kW of power and 400Nm of torque, while the 330i employs a turbo-petrol unit of identical displacement that produces 185kW/350Nm.
Mr Kruger’s announcement comes on the heels of the arrival in Australia in March of the all-new, seventh-generation 3 Series sedan, initially in a two-variant line-up but with more offerings on the way.
Along with the announcement that the 3 Series GT will not receive a successor, Mr Kruger also announced a future cull of up to 50 per cent of BMW powertrain variants to reduce complexity.
He made no mention of which engines would be discontinued, only stating the reduction would happen as the company transitions to flexible vehicle architectures by 2021, and that BMW would concentrate on “what customers want the most”.
Bread-and-butter powertrains for the brand include its inline 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, which could be offered with a broader scope of outputs with the progression of hybrid powertrains and ever-advancing internal combustion technologies.
To help bring new vehicles to market, Mr Kruger also said the development process for new models would be shortened by up to a third, and that by 2024 the brand will have reduced the need for up to 2500 expensive prototype vehicles through the proliferation of digital simulations on a wider scale.
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