When it comes to choosing a BMW 3 Series luxury sedan, you’ve got more choices than most what with 11 variants on offer.
There is however, a 3 Series that stands out among the pack (besides the range-topping M series that is) and it’s none other than the Gran Turismo or GT variant.
We got our hands on the turbo-diesel 2.0-litre BMW 320d Gran Turismo Luxury Line (it also comes in the petrol version, the 328i GT) and, at first glance, it tends to confuse most people (this writer included) with its looks.
The side profile of the 320d GT bears more resemblance to a coupe or a crossover than a sedan.
Yet, if you view it from the front with its long flowing bonnet, there’s no mistaking it for a sedan.
It’s only when you get to the back that you realise the rear overhang stops short.
This particular design element of the 3-Series GT has gotten some mixed reactions from the handful of people I’ve asked about it.
It’s all a matter of taste but I personally like it because it has that fastback look about it.
On top of it, the car has an active rear-spoiler which raises automatically at high speeds or with a touch of a button, you can manually leave it on for an aggressive effect.
The 320d GT has a maximum output of 184hp at 4,000rpm but it’s the torque that makes all the difference with 380Nm at 1,750 to 2,750rpm mated to an eight-speed sport automatic transmission.
The tremendous twisting force available at lower rpms is immediately noticeable once you’re behind the wheel because the car just pulls away effortlessly.
Case in point: my house is situated on an uphill slope so I’m used to dealing with cars (my wife’s and mine) rolling out sluggishly but there was none of that with the 320d GT.
In fact, the BMW had no trouble going uphill or steep inclines in the time that I was testing the car.
It’s really easy to get around the city because the steering wheel is light to the touch and responsive that manoeuvring it through traffic or narrow parking lots was hardly an issue.
The 320d GT has a sleek and muscular exterior and you know immediately that you’re dealing with a substantial vehicle that not only feels solid but looks it too.
It’s this commanding presence that I always find imposing and I get worried about driving such a big car around.
Honestly though, there is no cause for concern because even the most petite person can handle this car with ease.
Now the 320d GT has a fair bit of chrome highlights on the exterior which can be found in the grille, side frames, front and rear bumpers, tailpipe and even the air intakes.
It adds a nice touch of class what with the 18-inch alloy wheels with Multi-spoke style 416 design and frameless doors.
Once inside, it is very elegant too with the aluminium, chrome and Fineline Anthracite wood trimmings and Dakota leather upholstery.
While there’s all the elements that make it luxurious, it is still functional with the driver-centric layout of the centre dash.
There you will find the 8.8-inch display, climate controls and in the centre console you’ll find the gear stick, driver mode rocker and the iDrive controller knob among other things.
There’s also paddle shifters for those of you who enjoy having such control at your disposal.
The seats are comfortable especially for long distance travelling and the cabin is quiet with very minimal noise, vibration and harshness levels.
The suspension is firm enough to absorb potholes and uneven surfaces but there’s no compromise on comfort either.
Steering is sharp and the brakes has a nice bite to it but it’s the handling that takes the cake for this car.
Taking turns and bends with this car is nothing short of awesome.
When I experienced some body-roll while taking a corner, I gave it a bit more gas and it evened out straightaway and exited beautifully.
And if you like spirited driving, then you’ll have a lot of fun with this car.
The exhaust note is raspy without being harsh and there is a slight turbo-lag but it’s hardly noticeable and it’s nothing short of a teeth-clenching experience when it kicks-in.
Being a diesel, this car is really frugal and the only way I could get the gas gauge needle to drop was to engage it in Sport mode (which also enhances the driving experience) and only then did it show signs of guzzling.
And it’s a practical car too.
Despite its truncated rear appearance, it does not compromise on legroom or luggage space.
It’s actually much roomier with a wheelbase of 2,920mm which makes it longer than the other 3 Series vehicles and closer in fact, to that of the 5 Series.
And it’s sloping roof line does not hamper headroom either.
The boot, with an automated tailgate, is also pretty cavernous at 520 litres.
As such, it’s very hard to find any faults with the 320d GT.
If you want a luxury sedan that is frugal, functional and fun, and stands out among the sea of 3 Series out there, then look no further.