This week we have been entrusted with the task of reviewing the all-new BMW 318d GT. The Gran Turismo first came to life in the 5 Series but sadly never sold in huge numbers. In a way the car didn’t sit great between the 5 and 7 Series, leaving customers no clear reason why to opt for the GT over the 5 Series Touring or base 7 Series.
The 3 Series GT for many will have the same issues sitting firmly between the 3 and 5 Series, so why would you opt for this car? Well first things first, let’s have a look around the GT and see what way it differs from the standard saloon or Touring model. The first thing you notice is the sheer size of the car. It’s 110mm longer, 81mm taller, and marginally wider than the saloon, however inside is where it becomes really apparent. Legroom at the back is ample, even with a couple of 6 footers up front and it has a fantastic airy feel thanks to the optional panoramic sunroof. The automatic boot lid opens to reveal even more space than a 5 Series and the rear seats fold flat at the pull of a lever. There are loads of tie down hooks, nets and a fantastic hydraulic boot floor that lifts to provide further space. I can already see cross European trips taking place with ease thanks to the vast amounts of space on offer.
Back outside this Luxury GT looks subtle but stylish. The Imperial Blue bodywork looks classy sitting on the 18-inch V-spoke alloys and the added chrome detailing accentuates the frameless doors, grills and the new active air breathers behind the front wheels designed to reduce drag. To drive I was expecting a soft 3 Series that wallows through B roads but I was pleasantly surprised. It feels large but with the optional active suspension mode engaged through Sport, it corners exceptionally well for a car of this bulk. The Venetian Beige Dakota leather trimmed seats are comfortable and supportive and the standard Sport steering wheel feels robust and controlling, needing minimal movement for decisive direction change.
My test car was fitted with the optional €2,230 eight-speed automatic transmission. This is a must in my opinion as it seamlessly shifts up and down significantly adding to the driving experience. The 2.0-litre diesel produces 143hp with 320Nm of torque and returns impressive consumption figures of just 4.8 litres per 100km, which equates to around 58 mpg. Impressive for a car of this size!
On the price front this is where it gets really interesting. The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo will carry a €1,750 price premium over the 318d SE Touring model. The 318d SE 3 Series GT starts at €44,170 but in the Luxury spec I’m driving you will be looking at €47,715. Add to this the optional extras that include that superb auto gearbox, panoramic roof, and Professional Media system to name but a few and you will pay €58,953 for this very car. That’s almost €15,000 more than a new 518d SE. These figures worry me slightly and I hope we don’t see another 5 Series GT sales struggle repeated.
On a positive note I loved my time with the 318d GT. For me, it warrants the extra money in Luxury trim rather than a mediocre spec’d 5 Series. You will no longer be driving the poor mans 5 Series but more the rich mans 3 Series. Either way it’s a storming car!
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