A liftback gives rear access in the vein of its German rival but not, fortunately, in the same way as the bigger and ungainly 5 Series GTs. Launched next month in Europe, the GT is the latest move among Germany's prestige car makers to fill every conceivable niche - and some arguably inconceivable.
"It is a different proposition in every sense to the 5 Series GT, not only that is built on a different platform," BMW spokesman Piers Scott says. "There are touches such as an active rear spoiler which rises at 110km/h."
The new 3 Series variant shares much with the existing F30 sedan and soon to be released Touring (or "wagon" in local speak) but it is built on a long wheelbase version of their platform. Designated F33, it is used in some Asian markets.
On release, the Audi five-door raised eyebrows but was soon recognised as a stylish and logical departure from regular entry-level prestige designs. The GT is unlikely to have any load advantage over a Touring but its versatility and point of difference are its strengths.
"[The GT] is not without precedent in this segment,'' Scott says. "In a sense it is a traditional liftback.'' Scott won't confirm pricing but the GT is certain to come at a premium over the Touring which, in turn, asks a few grand over the sedan.
Only a few engine variants will come this way in GT form so Carsguide tips a 320d diesel entrant at about $64,000 and a 328i at about $69,000.