2016 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo detailed

10 June 2016 by Peter Barnwell

Sluggish sales of the 3 Series Gran Turismo five-door fastback have not stopped BMW Australia bringing in a new version later this year.

Tallies of about 20 3GTs a month may be marginal but BMW will persist and bring in the sixth body variant of its 3/4 Series line-up, to join the sedan, wagon, coupe, Gran Coupe and convertible. Then there are the SUVs, the X3 and X4, the latter resembling a high-rise 3GT.

If another brand doesn't appeal to certain buyers, it's possible that our GT will entice them.

BMW spokeswoman Lenore Fletcher says the 3GT is an alternative for buyers seeking "something different".

"We try to get customers to engage with the BMW brand and that's essentially what we are trying to achieve with the 3 Series GT,'' she says. "If another brand doesn't (appeal to) certain buyers, it's possible that our GT will entice them."

She also pitches the 3GT as an alternative to the 3 Series Touring (wagon) with more interior room and load space.

"The 3GT is a practical family vehicle, too, with a bit more style than a wagon.''

The larger stablemate, the 5 Series GT, has posted even fewer sales than the 3GT yet remains on sale locally.

Fletcher says the coming 3GT line-up is likely to include two petrol four-cylinders and a diesel four, mirroring the current 320i, 328i and 320d.

All are turbocharged to enhance performance and efficiency with BMW's eight-speed Steptronic auto the common transmission, driving the rear wheels. All-wheel drive xDrive versions are available overseas but won't be imported.

Australian buyers are likely to have just a few of the 18 variants available elsewhere.

Among local versions, there are likely to be Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport variants. Along with the engines and transmissions, virtually all other mechanical components will carry over.

The 3GT will pack the customary 3 Series inclusions: LED headlights, generous driver assistance equipment and plenty of options.

It carries off the hatchback or fastback look better than the larger 5GT but the next model's task is to appeal to conservative Aussie prestige buyers.

Pricing of the new 3GT is expected to be marginally higher than the outgoing model, which starts at $68,100 for the 320i.

Does the BMW 3 Series Grand Turismo appeal to you? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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