Back in 2010 we drove the 550i Gran Turismo and came away thoroughly impressed by every aspect of the car – especially its size compared the regular 5-series sedan – it felt more like a 7-series than a 5. This week we’re driving the new 2017 340i Gran Turismo and just like the 550i – it’s way bigger than the series size that it represents, so think of it more as a sportier 5-series than a 3-series. It’s interesting to note that the majority of BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo customers are new to the brand – so BMW is obviously doing something right and striking a chord with the buying public.
What Is It?
• Premium medium-size hatchback sedan
• The Gran Turismo brings together the sporting attributes of the sedan with the looks of a coupe and the functionality and versatility of the Touring (wagon)
• The Gran Turismo model is around 200 millimetres longer than the other members of the 3 Series family
• Wheelbase is lengthened by 110 millimetres – 2,920 millimetres overall
• In-line 6 cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
• 8-speed Steptronic Automatic Transmission with paddle-shift
• Rear-Wheel Drive
• The 3 Series Gran Turismo can be ordered in a total of 18 engine, transmission and drive configurations
How Does It Look?
• Fabulous… BMW just keep making this car better-looking with every upgrade
• Takes the outgoing model’s elegance, sportiness and luxury-class spaciousness to a new level
What’s It Like Inside?
• Front seats are extremely comfortable
• Driver’s seating position is almost perfect
• Thanks in part to the longer wheelbase of the Gran Turismo there’s plenty of foot and legroom in the rear – even for very tall people
• Rear seats are also very comfortable with passengers very vocal on the comfort and room available – even with 3 squeezing in
• Trunk space was also very impressive, swallowed 2 large suitcases and one carry-on case with ease
• The Gran Turismo is actually a 5-door vehicle with a large electrically-operated tailgate opening wide to give 18.4-56.5 cu-ft (520 to 1,600 litres) of load space – outstrips the space available in the 3 Series Touring!
• The rear seat backrests’ tilt angle can be adjusted through 15 stages and 19 degrees and can also be folded down 40:20:40
• The exceptional B&O (BANG & OLUFSEN) audio system was simply incredible… I had some music from the ‘80’s on my USB drive, and instruments and minute details came through that I didn’t realize were in the songs! Many times I was sure they weren’t there – even though I’d heard the songs hundreds of times previously!
• The auto Start/Stop feature is great – why don’t all vehicles have this?
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
• Very fast.
• Response from throttle input almost instantaneous – stomp on it and you’re off…
• In Sport mode everything changes instantly…from the throttle response and gear changes to the superb steering
• Braking is extremely good, especially when you have to brake from 180 km/h to 100 km/h as some bone-head in a Fiat Panda pulls out in front of you!!
• In stop and go traffic it is sometimes hard to modulate the brake pedal – sometimes without warning they grab and stop – NOW!
• The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo uses an active aerodynamic system, including a spoiler that extends automatically at 110 km/h to generate the necessary downforce. At 70 km/h, the spoiler slides back almost imperceptibly into the car’s silhouette
• Sport+ mode allows the driver to push the engine all the way up to the rev limiter and to perform multiple downshifts, for instance from eighth gear straight to fourth
Horsepower: 320 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft): 332 @ 1,380-5,000
Top Speed: 250 kph
0-100 km: 5.0 seconds
Special Mention: Head-Up Display – The full-colour, high-resolution Head-Up Display is phenomenal and makes driving – especially in Germany with the higher speeds – a must-have. All relevant information, such as speed, navigation instructions, speed limits and overtaking restrictions, are projected onto the windscreen so that it appears in an optimum position in the driver’s field of view. The safety information from the optional Driving Assistant package (Collision Warning, Attentiveness Assistant, Lane Departure Warning, etc.) and information relating to telephone and media use are also shown in the Head-Up Display.
As welcome as the Head-up Display was…it threw up a wobbly every now and then. Every time we passed a rest stop it would indicate the speed limit was 50 kph instead of the actual autobahn speed. Other times it was spot-on with the temporary road works speed limit! Info for the navigation was good, but thanks to the dash navigation screen, my wife could give me additional information/directions that I wasn’t getting in front of me
Special Mention: Navigation – It was a bit of a love-hate relationship. When we first began our journey on the autobahn, after a few kilometres it directed us to exit the autobahn into a rest area – for no apparent reason, and then guided us back onto the autobahn.
On one occasion we were headed to a destination through a town that we’d been through a couple of times before and it insisted we make a sharp left – I was positive we should have been going straight, but followed the guidance. We ended up getting a tour of the forest, down a tractor lane and after 2+kms we ended up back where we’d originally turned off. It then proceeded to direct us the way I expected us to go in the first place!!
What Does It Cost?
To Buy… For up-to-date pricing and options in your region visit: http://www.BMW.ca
*NOTE: In Canada the 2017 BMW 340i Gran Turismo is only available with xDrive (AWD). The tested vehicle in Germany was RWD
Canada – Base Price: $58,350 / As Tested: $65,264
• Fuel economy (L/100 km) is rated at: City – 9-9.5 // Highway – 5.0-5.5 // combined – 7.0-7.3
• Fuel economy was very good – we got well over 600 kilometres per tank
• Considering much time was spent in the 160-180 km/h range for hours at a time, it was remarkable
Direct: Audi A5 Sportback, Kia Stinger, Tesla S
Similar: Genesis G80, Jaguar XF, Lincoln MKZ, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S90
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
• The Good: It’s beautiful and functional… and very fast… and it returns great fuel economy – what more could you ask for?
• The Bad: Let me get back to you on that…
• The Ugly: Hmmmmm I’m stumped
What’s The Verdict?
Another fantastic 3 Series from BMW – that’s even better in the Gran Turismo model. It has the benefits of the sedan but has even more cargo room than the Touring version. It’s bigger than the 3 Series, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a big car.
Copyright © 2017 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & Gail Shankland
Also published at: Flagworld