Standard features; athletic handling; smooth power delivery; impressive utility; interior comfort; high-tech options
The BMW 3-Series has long ruled the roost of European sport sedans. Following the Bavarian carmaker's move into the 4-door Gran Turismo space with its larger 5-Series GT in 2010, the 3-Series Gran Turismo combines the best of the 3-Series DNA with a unique package that puts it in a league all its own.
For 2015, the 3-Series Gran Turismo is offered in one of two all-wheel-drive models: 328i xDrive or 335i xDrive. The 328i is powered by a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0L inline-4, while the 335i carries a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0L inline-6. Both engines feature twin-scroll turbos with variable valve control and direct injection, and each is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Auto start-stop is standard, as is Driving Dynamics Control, which includes settings for ECO, SPORT, COMFORT AND SPORT+. The 328i gets an EPA estimated 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.
In addition to BMW's excellent xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the GT's precise handling is courtesy of a double-pivot type front suspension with spring struts and an anti-roll bar, while the rear is sprung with a 5-link setup with cast aluminum upper transverse arms. High-performance 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with anti-lock braking, dynamic brake control and cornering brake control are also standard. On the 328i, they reside inside 17-inch alloy wheels, while the 335i rides on 18-inch alloys. Other exterior differences include the 335i's use of Xenon Adaptive Headlights with dynamic auto leveling, while the 328i features halogen headlights.
Both models come very well equipped, with standard comfort and entertainment amenities like rain-sensing windshield wipers, 8-way power front seats, a multi-function sport steering wheel with audio, cruise and Bluetooth controls, automatic climate control, power panoramic moonroof and BMW's iDrive system with integrated 6.5-inch touchpad and an automatic tailgate.
As with other cars in the BMW lineup, the Gran Turismo can be ordered in one of three lines, or trims: Luxury, Sport and M Sport. The Luxury Line adds unique 18-inch wheels, anthracite wood or burled walnut inlays, chrome exterior accents and leather upholstery with contrasting stitching. The Sport Line features gloss black exterior accents, sport seats, and a different range of exclusive leather upholsteries. Finally, M Sport comes with an aerodynamic kit, special M Sport wheels, an M Sport steering wheel and Dakota leather upholstery.
Standalone options for the 3-Series Gran Turismo include enhanced-performance M Sport brakes, a 16-speaker harman/kardon surround sound audio system, iDrive-integrated navigation, heated front seats, active cruise control and a self-parking feature that uses ultrasonic sensors to detect a suitable parking space, then engages proper throttle and steering inputs to park the car. Popular packages include a Cold Weather Package with heated seats and steering wheel, a Premium Package with exclusive leather choices, lumbar support and satellite radio, and a Technology Package, which adds a suite of BMW apps, navigation, a full-color head-up display and enhanced USB and Bluetooth integration.
The BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo gets a couple of improvements after its introduction last year. Bluetooth audio streaming is now included as standard equipment across both trim levels, while an optional automatic trunk closing feature is also new for 2015.
BMW has always produced top-class sport sedans, coupes and wagons, and the 3-Series Gran Turismo creates a new class of practicality and performance from European cars. The GT is impressive for both its athleticism and its utility: It boasts a 0?60 mph time of just 5.1 seconds and near-perfect weight distribution front to rear; it also features a longer wheelbase than the 3-Series sedan or wagon, which makes for more rear-seat legroom and additional cargo volume -- a total of 56.5 cubic feet, which is more than the carrying capacity of the 3-Series wagon. The car's handy split fold-down through-load rear seats make carrying bulkier items a snap.
Vehicle Price: 42,845.00
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