2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Review

The 3 Series Gran Turismo performs like a 3 Series sedan with more cargo space and rear legroom.
4.5 / 5
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Jonathan Elfalan
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is one of the quirkier options among compact luxury cars. It's not a crossover, but it has elevated seats and standard all-wheel drive. It's not a wagon, but its cargo capacity compares favorably to that of the actual 3 Series wagon. It's not a sedan, but it mostly handles like one.

Though we don't consider the 3 Series GT a best-of-all-worlds vehicle, it certainly occupies an intriguing middle ground between luxury, sport and versatility. With strong turbocharged acceleration from either the base 330i's four-cylinder engine or the 340i's inline-six, all-season traction and room for a family of five and their luggage, the 3 Series GT covers more bases than most luxury cars in this price range.

For those who want a true crossover SUV, there's the 3 Series-based X3, while the crisp-handling 328i and 328d wagons will get you even sharper driving dynamics. But the X3 is a taller and less nimble vehicle, and the Gran Turismo has roomier rear quarters than the wagon thanks to its stretched wheelbase. Another point to consider is that you can't get the 340i's inline-six in the wagon, so if you want sports-car acceleration without going the full crossover route, the 3 Series GT is right in your wheelhouse.



What's new for 2017

The 2017 3 Series Gran Turismo models receive all-new turbocharged engines with more power, along with new nomenclature to mark the changes: 330i (four-cylinder) and 340i (six-cylinder), replacing the 328i and 335i, respectively. New standard equipment for 2017 includes matte chrome exterior trim, LED foglights, an updated rear bumper design and new taillights. Newly optional items include adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, wireless charging and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

We recommend

The four-cylinder engine’s power will be sufficient for most and returns better fuel economy, so we’d stick with the 330i, although the 340i's engine is a true gem. One of the downsides of the Gran Turismo is its lack of a few key standard features. Sensible options include the Premium package (adding keyless entry and power lumbar support) and the Driver Assistance Plus package (adding parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring to alleviate visibility issues). We’d also opt for the Dynamic Handling package, which brings better ride comfort thanks to its adaptive suspension.



Trim levels & features

The 2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is available in two trim levels: 330i xDrive and 340i xDrive. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission come standard on both. The main difference is under the hood, the 330i packing a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (248 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) and the 340i upgrading to a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six (320 hp, 330 lb-ft). The 340i also gets a few additional standard features, including a premium-leather steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with satellite radio.

The 330i xDrive Gran Turismo isn't exactly brimming with standard luxuries, but it does include niceties such as 18-inch alloy wheels (with all-season run-flat tires), automatic LED headlights, LED foglights, automatic wipers, power-folding and auto-dimming heated side mirrors, a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate. Interior highlights include dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power sport front seats (with power-adjustable side bolsters), driver-seat memory settings, imitation-leather (premium vinyl) upholstery, 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. On the technology front, the 330i comes standard with Bluetooth and the iDrive infotainment interface, but it must make do with a rudimentary 6.5-inch display screen that pales by comparison to the Technology package's 8.8-inch screen (see below). Sound is delivered via a nine-speaker audio system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.

The 340i xDrive Gran Turismo is similarly equipped but adds the standard items mentioned above. We should add that the keyless access system also includes a foot sensor for hands-free trunk opening.

You can add most of the 340i's extras to the 330i as options, although the premium-leather steering wheel is a 340i exclusive. A number of packages are offered on both trim levels, including the Luxury package, which adds exterior chrome design elements, leather upholstery, and a choice of various wood or metallic interior trim panels, plus the option of non-sport front seats with less aggressive bolstering. The M Sport package offers a variety of sport-themed interior trim treatments, and it adds an aerodynamic body kit, BMW's "shadowline" exterior trim, an M steering wheel and a option to add the Adaptive M suspension at a small discount. You can also get the Adaptive M suspension as a bundle with variable-ratio sport steering if you select the Dynamic Handling package.

The Technology package is another notable bundle. It includes a head-up display, a navigation system, voice controls, a higher-resolution 8.8-inch display and an upgraded iDrive interface with a touchpad controller and additional online services. Outward visibility within the GT isn’t stellar, so we recommend at least the Driver Assistance package, which includes front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds blind-spot monitoring, a multiview parking camera system, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a drowsy driver warning system and a speed-limit display.

The Lighting package includes adaptive LED headlights that swivel and point toward your direction of travel, along with automatic high beams that aid visibility on dark roads. The Cold Weather package features front and rear heated seats plus a heated steering wheel.

Finally, standalone options include 19-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, an automated parking system, Apple CarPlay and wireless charging with a Wi-Fi hot spot.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects.The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 3 Series Gran Turismo has been revised, including all-new engines for 2017. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 3 Series Gran Turismo, however, and keep in mind that the four-cylinder engine in the 328i rated here generates virtually the same horsepower and torque as its counterpart in the 2017 330i.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5

Driving

4.5 / 5

Acceleration4.5 / 5
Braking4.5 / 5
Steering5.0 / 5
Handling5.0 / 5
Drivability4.0 / 5

Comfort

4.0 / 5

Seat comfort3.5 / 5
Ride comfort4.0 / 5
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5
Climate control4.0 / 5

Interior

4.5 / 5

Ease of use3.5 / 5
Getting in/getting out4.5 / 5
Roominess4.5 / 5
Visibility3.0 / 5
Quality4.5 / 5

Utility

4.5 / 5

Small-item storage3.0 / 5
Cargo space4.5 / 5

Driving4.5

Don't let the Gran Turismo's 4.4-inch-longer wheelbase (versus the 3 Series sedan), elevated seating position or hatchback bodystyle fool you. This is still a true performance machine. It's a joy to drive with plenty of seat-of-the-pants feel that boosts the driver's confidence.

Acceleration4.5

The turbo four-cylinder scoots the 328i to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. But it's the instant-on low-end torque that makes this engine terrific. Acceleration around town or at highway cruising speeds is effortless. The eight-speed automatic is smooth and smart, holding gears nicely when it needs to.

Braking4.5

The 328i GT stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet in our panic-braking test. That's a middling performance by the numbers, but we found the brakes to be predictably linear and highly effective in most situations, with no detectable fade after hard driving and no grabbiness in daily driving.

Steering5.0

Excellent feedback through the wheel with natural weighting. Not as precise as BMW's previous hydraulic setup, but it's exceptionally good as far as electric-assist systems go. This car goes exactly where you point it.

Handling5.0

Partially due to our test car's optional adaptive suspension dampers, this wagon-crossover-AWD thing still acts like a BMW. It's nimble and willing on curvy roads but forgiving and easy to drive on long highway slogs.

Drivability4.0

The engine stop-start system is more intrusive than others and can shut off too quickly, such as when turning right on red. The gas pedal can be lurchy in Sport mode; Comfort mode replaces this with dullness. The cruise control is fantastic at holding a set speed.

Comfort4.0

Especially with our test car's optional adaptive shock absorbers, the Gran Turismo deftly balances comfort and driving performance. It's remarkably quiet, too.

Seat comfort3.5

The optional front sport seats have firm cushions, but seatback bolstering is substantial and the leather is grippy. The front armrests have good padding and are positioned well. The rear seat cushions are even firmer than the fronts, and the seatback angle is a bit too upright.

Ride comfort4.0

With the hard sidewalls of the standard run-flat tires, no one will call the 328i GT cushy. But the optional adaptive suspension helps greatly. Smaller ripples can find their way into the cabin, but the big bumps stay out.

Noise & vibration4.5

Other than tire flap over expansion joints, this is a truly quiet car with nearly zero wind noise. The engine makes the typical turbo woosh and isn't as smooth as BMW's classic six-cylinder. At higher speeds, some engine noise does creep into the cabin.

Climate control4.0

The dual-zone climate control has simple dials and buttons, and in typical BMW fashion, everything is easy for the driver or front passenger to reach.

Interior4.5

Admirable materials combine with thoughtful (if plain) design to earn this car top scores. The small interior cubbies and bins could be of some concern, but the Gran Turismo makes up for this with laudable cargo capacity.

Ease of use3.5

Well-organized controls are easy to use, and the iDrive infotainment system is quite intuitive despite its complex menus. The rocker switch to alter the drive modes is conveniently located next to the gear selector, where it's easy to see and access.

Getting in/getting out4.5

The front doors open wide, and there's no risk of hitting your head on the roof; there also isn't anything to catch your feet up on. The rear doors are small but open nearly 90 degrees. The entryway isn't large, so you have to duck a bit to get in and out.

Driving position

A standard tilt-and-telescoping steering column and 10-way adjustable seats allow just about anyone find a comfortable driving position. And because of the GT's extra rear legroom, taller drivers won't feel bad stretching out, either.

Roominess4.5

Front headroom and door-side elbow room is more than adequate. Rear seat headroom is tight due to the sloping roof, but the GT has 4.1 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series sedan, and that's a difference your passengers will really notice.

Visibility3.0

The windshield pillars get thick toward the bottom, causing some forward side-view obstruction. The left-side, over-the-shoulder lane-check is problematic, as is the big rear three-quarter blind spot. The GT does not come with a standard backup camera or even parking sensors (they're options).

Quality4.5

The GT is solidly built with excellent materials and precise engineering. No gimmicks. After a decade, the latest iDrive iteration is the best yet, proving both fast and simple despite its deep feature set. However, we did notice one occasional dash rattle.

Utility4.5

Another strong suit for the Gran Turismo. Although there's a shortage of handy nooks for stashing smaller items (a typical BMW shortcoming), the 3 Series GT compensates with its capacious and user-friendly cargo hold.

Small-item storage3.0

As in many BMWs, small-item storage space isn't generous. There's a tiny front bin and a small center bin, and the cupholders lack anti-tip features. Minimalism can be beautiful, but it comes here at the expense of convenience.

Cargo space4.5

You'll find helpful pull handles in the trunk to drop the rear seatbacks. The 25.0-cubic-foot trunk is narrow but deep, with a perfect loading height. The liftgate opens high for ample head clearance.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.