What's New for 2014
The 2014 3 Series Gran Turismo is an all-new model.
You have to credit BMW with making the most from its cornerstone 3 Series lineup. Last year, a redesigned wagon followed the introduction of a new-generation sedan. Next year, the 3 Series coupe will transform into a new nameplate, the 4 Series. But wait, there's more! Joining it will be the 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, a coupelike four-door hatchback that splits the difference between sedan and wagon.
Astute observers will notice that BMW has done this before with the 5 Series Gran Turismo. And the 3 Series GT does, in fact, resemble a compressed 5 Series GT with its roof pulled down sharply over the cargo area and rear deck for a coupelike profile. A subtle difference between the two models involves the 3 Series GT's "Air Breathers," small cutouts just behind the front wheels designed to reduce drag around the wheel arches.
Those wondering about a compelling case for the 3 Series GT alongside the wagon need only look at the stat sheet. The GT is nearly 8 inches longer and stands 3 inches taller than the wagon. Passengers sit 2 inches higher than in the sedan or wagon, and rear seat passengers enjoy 2.8 inches of additional legroom.
More importantly, the BMW 3 Series GT offers 18.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 56.5 cubes with the rear seat folded (note that these measurements are based on a European standard that differs from EPA ratings). A 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat and a large hatchback opening add versatility to the 3 Series toolbox, as does the ability for a driver to open that power rear hatch automatically by swiping her foot underneath the rear bumper (much like Ford's system on its Escape crossover SUV).
Like other 3 Series models, the Gran Turismo comes with a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. An available turbocharged inline-6 generates 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. Both engines join an eight-speed automatic transmission. An adaptive suspension, which adjusts according to road surface, is optional, as is a sport-tuned suspension. The Gran Turismo also offers four driving modes, ranging from fuel-saving eco mode to Sport+ for more high-performance dynamic driving.
Inside, the dash and instrument panel follow the same form as the sedan, with classic analog gauges and a streamlined interface. There's an available camera system with rear, 360-degree, side and top views for maneuvering in tight spaces. And like the rest of the 3 Series lineup, the 3 Series GT is available in Sport, Luxury, Modern and M Sport trim levels, with features that include 18- and 19-inch wheels of various designs, exterior body trim, leather upholstery and, on the M Sport, unique front and rear fascias.
The 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo arrives this summer. Pricing has not been announced, but expect the GT to carry a premium over its sedan and wagon counterparts and start at around $36,000. Check back later for a complete review, including driving impressions and buying advice, as more information becomes available.