Now the Grand Tour for those of you who don’t watch the show is a journey that a lot of the British upper class would make, usually, across the length of Europe and usually in immaculate luxury. This concept soon spread across Europe’s aristocratic cars spawning an entirely new segment of cars, that were, primarily, luxurious and could travel the distance without exhausting the upper-class gent in the driver's seat. Now, this may not have been possible in the early 1900s in the Indian sub-continent, considering that most of our educated youth were involved in the struggle for freedom. Almost needless to say things have changed significantly since then and today’s upper-class youth do have the extra time and money on their hands to dabble in road-trips and luxury cars. That explains why BMW bought the GT to India in 2014, and BMW knew well that it was never going to be a high-volume product, especially considering that it was a notchback (not a hatchback as most would have you believe) that is more expensive than its saloon counterpart. The 3-GT then was a car for the enthusiast who loves driving and travelling and doing so without ever leaving the confines of luxury. Which also explains why the 3-GT is only available in the country in the luxury trim.
Design and Styling
Now, two and a half years after they brought the first GT to India, BMW has given the 3-GT a mid cycle revamp both on the inside and the outside. As is the case with BMW in general, even the updates are subtle yet impactful. The bonnet has sharp crease lines that run along the sides adding to the GTS muscular appeal. It does resemble the new 3-series in many ways but if you look closely you’ll notice the wider kidney shaped grille and 5-esque LED headlamp cluster.
Being only available in Luxury trim means that the grille gets 24 instead of 18 slats that you would have on a sportline. And yes we did count! Now BMW has gone with a few chrome inserts along the side of the car, which not only add to presence but also bring focus to the sharp edgy design. The GT also gets an air breather on the fenders for improved wind resistance and keep the nose grounded at high speeds. The rear notch features LED tail lights that really catch your eyes when it gets dark. It also gets a tad of active aero at the rear with an electronically controlled wing that deploys at above 110 kmph or can be deployed manually with a button located just behind the window controls. Overall, the design is subtle yet distinguished just like a good grand tourer should be.
Additionally, the 3GT benefits from it notchback design in terms of size, measuring in at 190 mm longer, 79 mm taller and 17 mm wider than its saloon counterpart.
Now although the interior largely resembles the 3-series hatch the GT does get rear leg room more akin to the 5-series if not more, making it a much better value proposition than the 3-Series saloon, which is cramped at best in the rear for tall occupants. That aside, the interiors may not be the last word in opulence but are in no way short on luxury. The ergonomics are exactly the way you’d like, every button is well damped and their positions are intuitively placed, exactly where you’d want them to be. A standard of quality that we have come to expect from the Bavarians.
Our test car had most of its interiors in the standard beige, which made the GT feel roomier than it already is. However, BMW does offer a substantial range of upholstery to choose from.
You also get BMW’s iDrive infotainment unit with a 22 cm LCD screen on the centre console. The iDrive system in itself gets the newest update to its firmware, which improves ease of usage. The music output is fair although it could use a hint of bass ,the fidelity and quality of the sound is what one would expect of German build quality.
Seeing as to how the 3-GT has been positioned for the enthusiast we thought the petrol engine, would be more relevant to the scope of the test. You could, however, have the GT in the 320D with a diesel engine that makes a 190 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. The car we tested was the petrol motor which makes about 250 hp and a significant 350 Nm of twist force.
Now as far as driving modes go the 3GT gets four Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ mode. The eco mode makes everything very quite dull and bland. It controls the air conditioning and dulls the throttle response just so. Shifts engage between 1,500 rpm to 2,000 rpm depending on the urgency by which it’s being driven, and from what I could tell the suspension retains characteristics of the comfort mode, which makes it the drive mode of choice for start stop traffic and commuting in general. Now you might think this is all a gimmick but it is far from it. The GT gets a considerable bump in the fuel efficiency with the EcoPro mode, although we are slightly sceptical of the claimed 10.68kmpl in the city and 16.8kmpl on the highway.
The comfort mode offers a good balance between drivability and comfort and is probably best used on late night city runs and on long highway runs.
Further down the chain, is where things get serious, pop the GT into Sports mode and the steering and throttle stiffen up, and everything feels a lot more urgent and precise. In Sports mode, the GT will get you from a standstill to a hundred in a significantly quick 6.5 seconds. That’s close to sports car territory!
The GT also gets a track focused Sports+ mode which switches off traction control ( to a certain extent, of course, because ze Germans wouldn’t want you to have too much fun and find yourself at the bottom of a ditch). The Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), however, allows you to kick the tail out effortlessly around a corner.
So then, the 3GT does exactly as it says on the box. It’s a Gran Turismo (Grand Tourer) for the well-to-do, with all the bells and whistles that one can expect from a car of its class. What’s even better for the GT is that there is no real competition for it in its segment. You not only get more boot space, you get more headroom and legroom as well and even an engine with a deeper sense of urgency. Is it worth the premium it commands over the 3? It absolutely does, if you're ok with that quirky looking rear!