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New BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Preview

New BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Preview

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BMW is refreshing its Gran Turismo family to bring its exterior in line with the rest of the current 3 Series range while significantly improving the interior so that it feels as comfortable as it is practical.

When the car goes on sale this summer, it will be available in three upgraded levels of trim — Sport; Luxury; and M Sport — plus a choice of three gasoline and five diesel engines.

Depending on engine selection, the car can also be specified with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, meaning that regardless of trim level, when all powertrain options are taken into consideration there are essentially 18 different models in the range to chose from.

And although the engines are all better and more efficient; regardless of the number of driven wheels or whether the transmission is manual or automatic, the GT’s never had a powertrain issue.

When the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo debuted three years ago, it was an attempt to be the automotive equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife — a single car that met a host of different and often contrasting transportation needs. By making the vehicle 200mm longer than a standard 3 Series and by raising the roofline the car offers the lines and driving poise of a coupé, the practicality of a four-door sedan and a luggage capacity greater than that of the BMW 3 Series Touring station wagon.

Yet it felt a little lacking in luxury considering its premium standing and the amount of interior space that comes from elevating the driving position. And seeing as the car has been a hit with families, particularly in the US and China and that for most owners it’s been their first experience with the BMW brand, the company has been wise to rectify this perceived shortcoming.

The cabin now has more wood, chrome trim and leather options and, significantly, the BMW Navigation System professional, a piece of equipment only available in the company’s ‘full size’ cars until now, is now an option.

In terms of standard equipment, regardless of trim level, all GTs will now come with automatic climate control, LED headlamps and fog lamps, a smartphone hands-free kit, a full HD color display with iDrive Controller, USB ports and Bluetooth for audio streaming.