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Ever wondered what a slightly deep-pocketed Indian luxury car buyer wants?
Well, the people who prefer sitting in the back seat reading and listening to some good music and want to stand out from the average. These are the kinds for whom the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo (GT) is a perfect match.
As the name suggests, the GT is the Grand Touring version of the BMW 3 Series sedan. The car looks slightly buffed-up compared to the sedan which might not appeal to everyone.
That is because the GT has increased in all three dimensions - length, breadth, and height. However, due to its redesigned bumpers, the car now looks much more muscular and sharper.
At first glance, the four doors with frameless windows, the couple-style, gently sloping roofline, and a deployable boot-lid spoiler adds to the cars aura. However, all of this helps shape this distinctive member of the BMW 3 Series lineup.
The car features revised headlight clusters with LEDs, DRLs and LED foglamps that are offered as standard with the Luxury line trim. The LED indicators highlight the twin headlight arrangement which creates a link between the headlight unit and the signature kidney-shaped grille.
Moving to the side, the car gets the Luxury Line chrome badging and lines that run through the entire cars length till the LED taillights.
Moreover, the modified air intakes on the Luxury Line adds some fresh accents. The outer air intakes of the Gran Turismo's sporty, three-section front end have been tweaked and updated for the current model.
The rear of the new GT retains its predecessor's active aerodynamic system, including a spoiler which extends automatically at higher speeds to generate the necessary downforce.
The 320d GT features twin chrome tailpipes on the left-hand side of the rear end and also gets the GT badging in chrome right above that on the boot.
Step inside the car and you will be welcomed with seats covered in Saddle Brown, Veneto Beige (the one we were testing) and Black variants of the Dakota leather upholstery which helps underline the character of the Gran Turismo in the finest details.
The changes inside the cabin are not that easy to spot. Except for a new gear selector and iDrive controller, most of the interiors in the GT are unchanged compared to its predecessor.
The driver and passenger can accommodate themselves very comfortably, thanks to the electrically adjustable seats with memory function. However, it's the second row in which the change is noticed.
The 320d GT gets better head and legroom which is due to the 2,920mm long wheelbase (70mm more than the regular 320d). The GT is considerably much more spacious than the regular 3 Series for the rear occupants. Moreover, the electrically adjustable panoramic glass roof makes the cabin feel roomier.
Moving on, the car sports bottle holders, keyless engine ignition, six airbags, cup holders, an armrest for the driver and the passenger which is adjustable, dual climate control, aluminium door sills and has a storage box with USB and AUX input.
The BMW 320d GT's infotainment system is the latest BMW ConnectedDrive setup. This includes BMW iDrive, BMW Apps, Radio BMW Professional, Park Distance Control and the Navigation System Professional.
The car also features a reverse camera with parking guidelines which comes very handy in tight spaces. All the information about the vehicle is displayed on the 8.8-inch high-resolution display which is controlled by a rotating nob and a couple of dedicated buttons.
The dial is placed on the left-hand side of the driver and comes in handy if someone wants to scroll through anything they want to know about on the screen. But, the driver has to move his eyes off the road to access it, a heads-up display would have helped in this situation.
The generously proportioned boot can gulp in 520 litres of luggage. Need more space? Well, for that there is the cargo function of the rear seat backrests, which can be folded down flat. This expands the load capacity to around 1,600 litres.
Performance & Handling
Powering the 320d GT Luxury Line is a 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo diesel engine. The engine produces 187bhp of power and a massive 400Nm of peak torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels by an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
The GT sprints from a 0 to 100km/h in under 7.5 seconds and continues accelerating till it tops out at 235kmph. At that speed, the 225/50 R18 Continental tyres provide excellent grip. The gearshifts are quick and seamless on the go.
At any given time, no matter which gear the vehicle is in, the 320d GT delivers a smooth drive. The GT also features paddle shifters which make it easy to shift gears manually.
The car has four driving modes on offer — Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. In the first two modes, the car delivers excellent fuel efficiency (14 km/l in city & 22 km/l on highways). The GT also sports mild hybrid settings such as auto start-stop and brake energy regeneration.
Switch to sports mode and the first noticeable thing is that the throttle response becomes crisp while the steering feels heavier giving the GT a sporty feel.
Switch to Sport+ and traction control allows the driver tohave a bit more fun, but the traction control steps in if it senses before things get too out of hand. Show the GT some tight corners and it will take them with ease.
Promeet Ghosh Thinks!
The 320d GT Luxury Line comes with a price tag of Rs 46,50,000 ex-showroom all India, which, is around Rs 5 lakh premium over the standard 320d. It's surely a more spacious and comfortable take on the 3 Series sedan.
So if anyone is looking for a spacious, practical and fun-to-drive family car and has that kind of money to spare, considering the GT over the mainstream family saloons in the market will be the perfect choice.