2014 BMW 335i GT First Drive on Edmunds.com
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2014 BMW 335i GT First Drive

2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Hatchback

(3.0L 6-cyl. Turbo AWD 8-speed Automatic)
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A Sport Hatch From the Inventor of the Sport Sedan


Space. You get a surprising amount of it in the 2014 BMW 3 Series GT. Especially in the rear seat and the trunk. Unless you're familiar with riding in the back of BMW's biggest machines, you'll be shocked at how much room there is in this new hatchback.

And if there are three in back, they'll make the surprise discovery that the arrangement can be tolerated for more than half an hour without inducing grunts of complaint.

This is a car born from a deep dive into the desires of 3 Series buyers. Those desires include more room and the raised seating that SUVs provide, which is why this car is unusual for being a taller sports hatch with no direct rivals in the premium segment.

It's Roomier Because It's Bigger
The reason the GT has so much extra space inside is quite simple. It's bigger. Compared to the 3 Series sedan, the GT has a 4-inch-longer wheelbase, stands 3 inches taller and stretches out 8 inches longer overall. It's also half an inch wider and has wider tracks, too.

You sit more than 2 inches higher in the GT compared to the sedan, and not surprisingly, the GT's center of gravity has been raised as well. Although GT and sedan share the same front bulkhead and floor, all of the GT's exterior panels differ.

The body has been strategically reinforced to optimize the suspension's compatibility with this five-door structure, and there's an extra link locating the rear axle to the shell. Happily, this work has produced an ideal 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, too.

A Sharp-Handling Hatchback
And you can feel this balance on the road. The 335i arcs into bends with a confident zeal that's heightened by our car's optional sport steering gear and its quicker-acting rack. Even with the adaptive dampers at their softest setting, the GT's body control is kept well in check.

Our test 2014 BMW 335i GT's optional 19-inch rims, which do a great job of filling out its arches, doubtless heighten this agility, which steps up a notch when you engage Sport via the rocker on the center console. It stirs the engine and gearbox to greater efforts, even though they hardly felt lazy in the standard setting.

The turbocharged straight-6 revs with an even, eager urge that climbs unabated to 7,000 rpm before upshifting, and with a smooth-pumping beat that makes you want to do it all again. This engine isn't quite the electrically smooth revver that Munich sixes have been in the past, as there's too much of a mildly coarse roar for that, but it's tuneful enough to make you want it over a four, and it's plenty quick. BMW claims a 0-60-mph time of 5.4 seconds and a 155-mph top speed.

And the chassis is good enough to encourage such wanton behavior. Tight damping, strong body composure and fine chassis balance make this a car you'll enjoy swooping about in, even if your passengers might not thank you.

There are some blemishes in the GT's behavior, though, both of them ride-related. Sharp-edged lumps generate loud thumps in the cabin that are a bit unexpected. Crests can be its undoing, too, as the suspension sometimes sends the car into a curious vertical bounce that's particularly emphatic at the rear. All of which is a surprise, since the 3 Series sedan suffers neither of these issues.

Loads of Convenience
This is a 3 Series for families, and families that need more room than even a 5 Series sedan can offer. And not only is it roomy, but the 3 Series GT is versatile, too. The 40/20/40-split backrest can be adjusted through 15 positions to allow for varying degrees of cargo room, while the trunk floor covers a deep, partitioned well with additional storage. There are also aluminum runners for the securing of loads, while further inspection of the trunk turns up shopping hooks, lashing eyes, elastic load ties and a power point.

The rear seat drops at the tug of a lever, too, although it doesn't quite fold flat. Seats up, it provides 18.3 cubic feet of cargo room, while it opens up to 56.5 cubic feet of space with the seats folded (including the underfloor space). The rear hatch opens wide for easy loading of cargo and it will do so with the swipe of your foot under the bumper provided you have the key in your pocket.

Aside from the novelty of space, the GT's cabin is stock 3 Series. That means a convenient, well-made but architecturally fussy fascia along with comfortable seats and the option of a Harman Kardon stereo of striking clarity. Detail GT design features that might please include frameless doors, a levitating tailgate spoiler and vents in the front fenders that are actually functional, exhausting brake cooling air from the wheel housings. Less clever, however, is the absence of a rear wiper.

Good Prospects
The GT goes on sale in the U.S. this September. The base 328i gets BMW's latest 2.0-liter turbocharged engine while the 335i model represents the top of the range. All-wheel-drive versions will also be available, along with Sport, Luxury, Modern and M Sport trims.

Prices have yet to be announced but are expected to start at around $36,000. The GT is not quite as well rounded a car as the 3 Series sedan on the road, but there's no denying its hugely improved versatility. And though it has its dynamic flaws, it remains an entertaining drive.

Will it take a significant bite out of 3 Series sedan sales? We wouldn't bet against it. Although many 3 Series buyers count themselves squarely in the enthusiast camp, the price of BMW's most popular model puts it in a demographic that needs space for a family. The 2014 BMW 3 Series GT fills that space quite nicely and does so in a way that is not likely to be objectionable to anyone looking to have it both ways.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

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Comments

  • travai travai Posts:

    I get what BMW is trying to do here, but I think many design details are in poor taste; like the 90's-style spoiler and the forequarter vents. At the moment, Audi seems to be the only company that can make a 5-door fastback look svelte. The new 3-series Estate is gorgeous. This car makes NO sense to me; and I usually love 5-door sedans. Oh well. At least this isn't their primary offering.

  • travai travai Posts:

    Ok, so the rear spoiler deploys. But, still, it's ugly. The spoiler and the car.

  • markstip markstip Posts:

    Make mine a 335D and I just mite be able to get over that Ugly stepped on looking front end and those awful headlights. I do this this car looks more cohesive then the 3 series sedan. I for one miss the Bangle days when BMWS had some BMW character and not well...., Buick Character.

  • markstip markstip Posts:

    **I do think this car looks more cohesive then the 3 series Sedan**

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    They should have just made it better and way more useful by making it a squareback.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    "This is a car born from a deep dive into the desires of 3 Series buyers. Those desires include more room and the raised seating that SUVs provide..." This has got to be a joke right? Someone wants space and a high seating position so they go out and buy a small sports coupe/sedan, its no great wonder that they're not happy with their vehicle purchase- that's just asinine! Could it be that what they really want is a BMW badge but can't afford a larger model? Maybe, maybe not. So here we've got a company that I used to love, which stopped making vehicles that I love, and now caters to the needs of the stupid and superficial. Bah, I'm just going to go read some FR-S/BRZ posts to get me back in a good mood now.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    "This is a car born from a deep dive into the desires of 3 Series buyers. Those desires include more room and the raised seating that SUVs provide..." I think you just defined the X3. When I first saw the spy pictures of this car I thought that the looks had suffered because of telephoto lens effects. Now we have lots of other pictures, I can see that it really is that hideous. Panamera drivers rejoice!

  • jrobusc jrobusc Posts:

    @travai, funny you mention Audi's hatchback models in the same breath as that "90's spoiler". Perhaps you should take a look at what adorns the trunk of those svelte Audi's.

  • jrobusc jrobusc Posts:

    Did Edmunds actually drive this car and write the review? Almost all of it is lifted verbatim from Autocar's review of the 328d GT.

  • jrobusc jrobusc Posts:

    @sharpend, if by "squareback" you mean a traditional wagon, there is one of those too. As for the wagon being "better/more useful", I assume "better" refers to the styling, and that is subjective. I happen to like the 3GT loo

  • ab22_ ab22_ Posts:

    I'll say it again, I like the car. Honestly, i'm looking for something that is roomy in the rear seat and provides enough cargo/passenger room when you are on the road for 4+ hours. I also want something that is a little more upscale and luxurious than an Accord, Camry, Maxima etc. If I can get something that has a bit of sportiness to it, that's a bonus. All the normal 3 series buyers, this car wasn't designed with you in mind. The 3-series sedan isn't exactly a roomy family car. I will have to see what the final $$$'s look like. I could see myself buying this automobile in 2014 or 2015.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @jrobusc: Is it by the same author? This article was written by a correspondent, which probably means that Edmunds paid someone for their article (not a complaint by the way, they're usually awesome). As for the GT, the fact that it's a hatchback is a st

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    I don't understand why BMW is making another GT. Wasn't the last one a flop? I live in an area where you can't swing a stick without hitting some kind of BMW, and yet I've barely ever seen a GT on the road. To satisfy folks who want a roomy 5-door several inches longer than a 3 series, how about building and selling a 535i/535d wagon?

  • jrobusc jrobusc Posts:

    @duck87, yeah it's the same author. The weird thing is his Autocar article was on the 328d, he made no mention of having driven the 335i at all. This is the exact same article, with a search and replace of "335i" for "328d" and a del

  • I like it too! I like the styling.

  • quidycat quidycat Posts:

    i get the practical and convenience part of this car, but it is an exceedingly unattractive and awkward looking car.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    That just looks like hell.

  • huntzinger huntzinger Posts:

    @darthbimmer: the reason why the 5er GT isn't doing well is because BMW is deluded in their pricing premiums on variants. IMO, BMW is about to make the same pricing mistake with this car too, as its MSRPis reportedly going to be £1300 more than

  • cbrandi_ cbrandi_ Posts:

    Why does it seem that BMW can't afford a decent designer of cars, this looks like a bloated guppy. Nothing was said about pricing but I'm sure it will cost plenty. And how come their glorious str8 six isn't as smooth in this car? Something is wrong at BMW, too many cars rushed to market in all segments making them less desirable not more.

  • shatner shatner Posts:

    Hey its an Accord Crosstour! But 20k more when you add in overpriced options.

  • lucien4 lucien4 Posts:

    @jrobusc No it's longer than the wagon so that's why it's said to be more useful. It has more cargo space and also more space for rear passengers.

  • DLu DLu Posts:

    There were a few old posts on Insideline regarding German cars' better headroom because they (Germans/Europeans) are taller, while Japanese cars are smaller for shorter people. Well, this 3-series GT is one of two new car models that are based on the Chinese-market model with a stretched frame that significantly increases leg room. Chinese people do not have longer-than-average legs.

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