Live the high life
1It’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.
2There’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.
3It 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.
4Performance 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.
5A 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.