The BMW 3 GT and 5 GT models are less sexy than the Maserati GranTurismo and less exciting than the Gran Turismo racing game, but they possess enough “grandness” and “tourism” to justify their GT tag. In the case of the 335i Gran Turismo, it’s larger than the 3 Series saloon, roomier inside and more comfortable for rear passengers. It has a bigger price, too, in keeping with its “gran” aspirations – the 335i GT Sport here costs $7000 more than its saloon equivalent.
But in my first five minutes on the road after I collected the 335i GT test car, I wondered whether the dealership accidentally gave me a “325i”, because the vehicle felt less energetic than the last 335i saloon that I drove. Even so, the turbocharged 400Nm 3-litre 335i GT is anything but lethargic – any car that can clock below six seconds in the century sprint is quick.
And things in the trunk will be transported quickly – a lot of things, thanks to the boot’s ample 520-litre capacity, versatile 40/20/40 split-fold backseat and useful two-part parcel shelf. There’s also an under-floor storage compartment, multi-function hooks, multiple lashing points and a choice of five open-height settings for the powered tailgate. This Turismo is actually more practical than the 3 Series Touring.
It’s also less pretty, but that active rear spoiler (a Bimmer first) helps to make this fastback look, um, fast. Serving the same purpose, perhaps, is the “air breather” behind each front wheel arch – it’s probably there for aesthetics rather than aerodynamics. No-nonsense grey paintwork, as worn by our test car, can camouflage the “hunchback” profile, but that rear overhang (longer and clumsier-looking than the 3 Series notchback’s) is difficult to hide.
Hard to hide, too, is the “heavier” handling of the 3 GT compared to its pin-sharp saloon sibling. There’s a bit more body movement in corners, and directional changes are a little less direct (for want of a better word), but the car’s upsized 19-inch tyres (225/45 front and 255/40 rear) grip the road well. The highway ride is good, especially for the rear occupants, who might think they’re cruising in a 5 Series limousine with enlarged windows. There’s a revised 5 GT in town, by the way.
After 150 hours and 300-plus kilometres with the 335i Gran Turismo, I could feel the “gran-ness” and “turismo” for sure. But I would still prefer the less “grand” but more handsome 335i Touring, despite its smaller “Three trunk”.
This article was first published in the October 2013 issue of Torque.
2013 BMW 335i GT 3.0 (A)
ENGINE 2979cc, 24-valves, inline-6, turbocharged
MAX POWER 306bhp at 5800rpm
MAX TORQUE 400Nm at 1200-5000rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 5.4 seconds
TOP SPEED 250km/h
CONSUMPTION 13km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 178g/km