2015 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Review

3 Series Gran Turismo

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2015 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Overview

Need a little more practicality than you see in BMW’s 3 Series sedan, but the 3 Series wagon still doesn’t turn you on? Check out the 2015 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. A little longer, a little higher and packing some added cargo capacity, the 5-seat performance-oriented 3 Series Gran Turismo (hereafter called simply GT) midsize hatchback successfully negotiates the fine line between too big and too small, too posh and too plain, and of course too expensive and costly enough to broadcast success. Based on the traditional 3 Series lineup, the 3 Series GT debuted for the 2014 model year and boasts but one noteworthy change for 2015.

Like its legendary siblings, this plush hatchback comes in 2 basic trim levels: the 328i xDrive and the 335i xDrive. Both trim levels return sporting the standard xDrive full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) traction advantage, and each can again be upgraded to available Luxury, Sport and M Sport iterations.

With its added length and height, Beemer's 3 Series GT offers not only more cabin room, especially for rear-seat denizens, but 56.5 cubic feet of cargo space (with the rear seatbacks folded) as well. That’s 3.5 additional cubes of cargo-carrying capacity than its 3 Series wagon cousin.

Standard power for the 2015 328i xDrive, meanwhile, remains a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder (I4) gasoline engine that combines with the standard 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel estimates remain an impressive 22 mpg city/33 highway in this AWD hatchback, but remember to fill up only with premium unleaded gas. For 2015, this peppy 4-banger is offered in a green-leaning Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) format that further inhibits emissions to conform with, for instance, California emissions standards. Don’t worry, however: you still get the same power and mileage numbers from the tweaked I4.

Moving up to the 335i xDrive gets you a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 gasoline engine, again mated to the 8-speed shiftable automatic. Look for 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque from this peppy 6-banger to the tune of 22/30, again burning only premium unleaded.

Standard appearance features in the 2015 328i xDrive include 17-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power sunroof and heated power-adjustable mirrors. The 335i xDrive trim level, differs only in that 18-inch alloy wheels are standard.

Inside, both trim levels feature standard leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with memory for driver’s settings, full power accessories, cruise control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and telescoping tilt-wheel steering.

Techno-bling for each iteration includes Bimmer’s iDrive infotainment interface boasting a standard 6.5-inch display, as well as a premium audio system sporting 9 speakers, a single-CD player, HD Radio and iPod integration.

Driving your new 3 Series Gran Turismo away in the available Luxury Line garb means piloting a 328i xDrive that now struts 18-inch alloy wheels even as it, along with its 335i sibling, comes spiffed up with chrome exterior trim pieces, genuine wood cabin accents and a high-gloss black B-pillar.

The optional Sport Line, meantime, adds a gloss-black grille, anthracite headliner, sport i-cluster instrument panel and a sport steering wheel to each trim, while the also-optional M Sport package tosses in up-styled 18-inch wheels, an aerodynamic body kit, M steering wheel and further upgrades to the instrument cluster.

Further extra-cost add-ons include a bunch of packages offering extras like GPS navigation, heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, 8.8-inch iDrive display, satellite radio and BMW Apps for, needless to say, smartphone connectivity. Additionally, a rear-view camera, accompanies front and rear parking sensors, included in the Driver Assistance Package. The Driver Assistance Plus Package also throws in blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure alerts, not to mention
a top-down camera system to ease parking chores.

The available Dynamic Handling Package, furthermore, equips your new 3 Series GT with variable-ratio power steering and adaptive suspension dampers, while various standalone options for each trim include a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, adaptive cruise control (with forward-collision warning) and an automated parallel-parking system.

Finally, standard safety stuff aboard each 2015 3 Series GT includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front head restraint whiplash protection and front side-mounted airbags. Of course, daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights remain standard lineup-wide, as do turn-signal-integrated mirrors, BMW Assist emergency communications and alerts, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm. Oh, and the 335i xDrive also boasts standard self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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