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2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2017

The 2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo takes the sedan, raises the ride height a touch, stretches it a little and adds a hatchback. The irony is that by expanding its utility, the essential appeal of a 3 Series becomes more limited.

That's because the 3 Series premium compact sport sedan is one of BMW's greatest creations. It's become a part of modern culture. But the GT version's modifications create a somewhat awkward appearance. It could, however, make a lot of sense to those who are more pragmatic.

Other than being a relatively high-riding, all-wheel-drive hatchback, the 3 Series GT is pretty much like any other 3 Series. Power comes from either a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a turbo inline 6-cylinder, both borrowed from the sedan, and the equipment list is similar.

What's New for 2017?

The previous year's 328i and 335i receive bigger engines to become the 330i and 340i. Both cars also have a redesigned rear bumper and taillights. The inventory of standard equipment encompasses full LED lighting and matte chrome exterior accents. The 340i model gets upgraded leather for its steering wheel. The options list grows to include wireless smartphone charging and Wi-Fi, plus adaptive LED headlights that move with the steering and incorporate automatic high beams.

What We Like

Excellent engines; laudable fuel economy; decent amount of standard equipment; noticeably larger back seat than a regular 3 Series; useful hatchback cargo area

What We Don't

Costs more than a 3 Series sedan and isn't quite as sharp

How Much?

$44,645-$50,345

Fuel Economy

BMW calls its all-wheel-drive system xDrive, which is standard in both versions of the 3 Series GT, along with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The 330i xDrive Gran Turismo is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (up from last year's 240 hp and 255 lb-ft). Fuel consumption, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a frugal 23 miles per gallon in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving (and basically just as good as before).

The 340i xDrive Gran Turismo has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine developing 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque (compared with 2016's 300 hp and 300 lb-ft). Fuel use is still respectable: 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

Both engines have a gasoline-saving stop/start feature.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo comes in 330i and 340i versions.

The 330i ($44,645) has 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting (including fog lights), rain-sensing wipers, heated/auto-dimming side mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, a power lift gate, ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory, synthetic leather upholstery, paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 9-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input, and the iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-in display.

The 340i ($50,345) adds the 6-cylinder engine, keyless entry/ignition, a foot-activated power lift gate, Nappa leather for the steering wheel, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and power lumbar adjustment for the front seats.

Some of the 340i's standard equipment is optional in the 330i.

There are also a number of packages. The Cold Weather package has heated seats front and rear, along with a heated steering wheel. The Luxury package brings leather upholstery, the choice of wood or metallic trim and nonsport front seats. The Dynamic Handling package contributes variable-ratio steering and an adaptive M suspension, while the Technology package adds a head-up display, an 8.8-in touchscreen, navigation, a touchpad controller with handwriting recognition, and full smartphone integration with BMW apps. There are two packages with extra safety equipment (see below).

Individual options include adaptive cruise control, a self-parking feature, wireless smartphone charging, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi and 19-in alloy wheels.

The 3 Series GT provides 24.6 cu ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats and 56.8 cu ft. when those seats are flipped forward. Both figures outdo the wagon version of the 3 Series. One cool feature is the Comfort Access keyless entry system, which opens the lift gate when you wave a foot under the rear bumper.

Safety

The 3 Series GT comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain).

The optional Driver Assistance package includes a rearview camera, plus front and rear parking sensors. And the Driver Assistance Plus package adds forward-collision warning/mitigation with automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, a multiview parking camera system and a driver-drowsiness monitor.

In government crash testing, the 3 Series GT received five stars out of five overall, including four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts.

Behind the Wheel

The dashboard and switchgear are the same as in the regular 3 Series. Where the GT sets itself apart is in the airiness of its taller, glassier cabin. The standard panoramic sunroof certainly helps, but the GT also has a stretched wheelbase that gives it the most rear legroom of any 3 Series variant, feeling more like a midsize crossover from the back seat than a modest hatchback.

The 330i's 4-cylinder engine is remarkably strong and responsive, with great fuel economy. But the 340i's inline-6 is a gem, pouring on smooth power no 4-cylinder could match.

The 3 Series GT doesn't have the supremely planted feel of its sedan sibling, but it's not far off. As an alternative to crossovers, its athleticism in corners adds to the GT's desirability. In familiar BMW fashion, the ride is firm but supple. And little, if any, noise intrudes at speed.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Audi Q5 -- The Q5 and the 3 Series GT are quite similar. Both are based on a luxury sedan (the A4, in the Audi's case), and the Q5 can move pretty well for a big vehicle.

2017 BMW 330i xDrive Sports Wagon -- Tough call here. The wagon drives better (and arguably looks better), but the 3 Series GT has a roomier back seat. If you must have the 340i engine, it's unavailable in the Sports Wagon.

2017 BMW X4 -- A compact crossover with a sloping roof that may or may not work better for you, styling-wise.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe -- More of an X4 rival, but it's a fine-looking thing.

Used BMW X5 -- If you're going to go the whole high-class crossover hog, get one of the best. A certified pre-owned (CPO) model will have a good warranty.

Autotrader's Advice

As nice as the 4-cylinder engine is, there's something special about a BMW inline-6. If the budget can stand it, go for the better-equipped 340i. Here's a way of justifying it -- you bought the GT version because you need the bigger hauling capacity, so that extra muscle is absolutely necessary.

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Used 2017 BMW 3 Series
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo: New Car Review - Autotrader