Test driving the BMW 3 Series GT

Variants are something that car companies do to bring a bigger audience to their range, there’s less designing to do and they can use the common parts bins to kit out the car.

Variants are something that car companies do to bring a bigger audience to their range, there’s less designing to do and they can use the common parts bins to kit out the car.

So BMW have the 3 series in both saloon and estate, there’s the 4 series which is the coupe version and now there’s the GT which is, well; I’m not sure.

It’s a hatchback with extra head room, one thing is for sure, it’s much bigger than a normal 3 series. It’s wider and longer, it has a load more room in the cabin and boot.

From the driver position you won’t notice any difference from a standard saloon, the controls and layout are the same. The steering is heavy feeling especially when parking, there is a feeling of man-handling when you’re getting into the tight spots.

The bonus of this weight is when you’re on the move the handling is lovely, it’s precise and sporty.

The extra length on the car does make it a little tail happy but that’s where the fun is with a RWD.

My test car was fitted with an auto box that is nothing short of heroic, not only can it change gears in the blink of an eye (quicker actually) but when you put it into Eco Pro mode is seems to use no fuel.

I actually think it hoovers up the exhaust fumes from other cars and burns that again. I drove for over eight hundred kilometres and still had over a quarter of a tank left, 4.8ltrs the dash said but I think it might have done better than that.

Once you get into sport mode the GT changes in all the ways that matter, there’s better throttle response and there appears to be more horse power.

It’s a shame that the handling doesn’t improve though, the suspension is firmly in comfort mode which leaves you rolling a little too heavy in the corners.

The sport mode doesn’t matter all that much because this is a GT car, it’s meant to be comfortable and capable of driving all the way to the south of France in a single bound and that’s just what it does.

Over the week I had it I was driving up and down the motorway covering a lot of ground at 120kph and not once did the GT give me any bother, I felt relaxed at all times and I even enjoyed the drive.

There’s still no getting away from the looks, the 3 series GT isn’t the best looking BMW ever.

That strange roof line and bulky rear end don’t give it sex appeal but it does allow for lots of room in the cabin and cavernous boot. It is a very practical car but I don’t feel that desire to own one in the same way I do for say a standard 3 series that said, if I needed a bit more space than a saloon offered I’d certainly think about the 3 series GT.

*** The 3 Series has been on Car and Driver magazine’s annual Ten Best list 22 times, from 1992 through 2012, making it the longest running entry in the list. In their December 2009 issue, Grassroots Motorsports magazine named the BMW 3 Series as the second-most important performance car built during the previous 25 years.

The E90 was named “Best New Sports Sedan” in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards. Also, it was awarded the World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show in 2006. What Car? also awarded the E90 2006 “Car of the Year”. The E90 was also awarded Japan’s Import Car of the Year.