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BMW 3 Series GT to start around $64k

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    The 3 Series GT is the first of the long-running model line to come in five-door configuration. Photo Gallery

Liftback BMW 3 Series GT set to arrive in June.

BMW'S rival for Audi's so-far unchallenged A5 Sportback will be priced from about $64,000. The 3 Series GT is the first of the long-running model line to come in five-door configuration.

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.

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