Live the high life
1 It’s a premium practical package
The pitch for the 3 Series Gran Turismo is the fusion of coupe looks and wagon practicality. Rear passengers benefit from more legroom than the 3 Series sedan and access is easier thanks to the elevated seat height. The flip side is a higher centre of gravity that makes the GT feel marginally less nimble through the turns. A powered tailgate reveals a spacious 520L cargo area, 25L more than the wagon.
2 There’s always an up-spec Prestige
car buyers often have to delve into the options for the latest tech and the $77,900 330i GT is no exception. Handy features such as forward collision warning with light braking (not autonomous emergency braking), lane departure and lane-change alerts are standard but you need to invest $3500 in an Innovations Package that adds adaptive cruise control and semi-automated parking and pumps the speaker count from nine to 16. Sport Line styling is standard, swapping to the Luxury look is a no-cost option and M Sport bling boosts the price by $2000.
3 It lets the sunshine in Standard
panoramic sunroof will suit buyers in southern states but will be of limited interest in subtropical areas where keeping the car cool is a priority. Other standard inclusions include head-up display, leather upholstery, BMW’s “professional” satnav with realtime traffic information and 360-degree camera view. LED lamps are standard inside and outside, from the fog lights to the illumination in the cargo bay.
4 Performance is unhindered
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo (185kW/350Nm) is smoother than a telemarketer. It drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed auto and is good for a 0-100km/h run in 6.1 seconds. Equally impressive are the claimed fuel consumption of 6.2L/100km — and the 8.4L/100km Carsguide had in everyday running. Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport + driving modes match the transmission and throttle response to driver’s preference.
5 A niche model, it’s almost unrivalled Largely due to the huge rear legroom, the 330i GT has no direct competitor. Audi’s A5 Sportback comes closest in look and price (2.0-litre auto, $76,865) but its cargo area is smaller. The Benz CLA 250 Shooting Brake ($68,600) likewise can’t match the carrying capacity. A Citroen DS5 doesn’t have the features, finish or on-road finesse of this trio but is cheaper at $56,990.
BMW has a select market to itself with this. For those who need to ferry people and their possessions regularly, it’s well worth a look ... if you can live with the styling.