BMW continues to believe that, by cross-breeding between niches, it can create the premium-brand car you never knew you wanted. 

The 3 Series GT mixes an extended wheelbase and body with a liftback boot, and adds a slightly raised ride height with a coupé-like roofline. As such, the GT is 200mm longer overall, has a 110mm longer wheelbase and is 81mm taller than an equivalent estate. But, thanks to its arcing silhouette and elongated tail, it’s designed to have the visual appeal of a liftback coupé rather than that of a utility car. 

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The 3 Series GT could do with a little weight trimming off it

While the 5GT delivered those attributes with all of the style of a disposable plastic ‘spork’, the 3GT looks like a better effort. It shakes off the proportional awkwardness of the 5GT, passing instead for any other 3 Series – just. The 2016 facelift helps establish this look further with revised air ducts, LED headlights and redesigned lens graphics synonymous of the 3 Series range.

Though they’re newly expansive, the body surfaces look taut and the features are attractive. We’d argue with anyone who claimed the car had the elegance of a coupé, but we’d praise BMW for disguising the inherent contradiction here; this is a low-slung, dynamic saloon made more large and upright than you’d guess by looking at it.

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However, we wouldn’t say it looked drastically more desirable than a 3 Series Touring, which is one of BMW’s key conceits. 

There are three turbocharged petrol engines and four turbodiesels to choose from: two petrol four-cylinders (320i and 330i) and a six (340i), as well as three turbodiesel fours (318d, 320d and a higher-output four-pot 330d) and the six-cylinder 335d. Four-wheel-drive 'xDrive' versions are also offered.

Under the skin, the 3 Series’ steel monocoque construction is adapted, and its light alloy MacPherson strut, multi-link suspension is applied – the latter tuned, says BMW, for greater touring stability than directional agility, in line with the car's badging.

We weighed a 318d Sport GT and it tipped our scales at 1675kg, some 140kg heavier than the 320d saloon we weighed. It also carries three percent more of its bulk over its rear axle than the 50 percent front/50 percent rear saloon.

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