BMW has already released a pile of photos and info on its all-new 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, but the new 3 sport hatch had its official coming out party at the 2013 Geneva auto show. During its Geneva unveiling, BMW board member Dr. Herbert Diess commented on what makes the 3 GT unique: "The new BMW 3 Series GT does not have a role model in the automotive industry. And yet, it is a true BMW. Many exterior features give the 3 Series GT a look that shows its stand-alone character."
While we take a little issue with Dr. Diess' assessment, as we'd certainly call the 5 Series GT its role model (hopefully for BMW it won't also mimic that car's tepid sales performance in the U.S.), the 3 GT is a relatively unique vehicle: not quite a sedan, not quite a wagon, not quite a hatchback.
Like its new generation siblings, the BMW 3 Series GT has similar styling cues and model specs, but it's bigger than its 3 Series brethren in every dimension. Overall length is roughly 7.9 inches longer than its closest stable mate, BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon, with a 4.3-inch longer wheelbase. The GT is also 3.2 inches taller and offers more passenger leg room at an additional 2.8 inches. Its 18.3 cu-ft of trunk space with the rear seats up surpasses that of the 3 Series wagon by a cube.
The 3 GT features five engines in all, three gas and two diesels, ranging in power from 143 hp to 306 hp, and a start/stop function helps to further reduce emissions and increase fuel consumption. In America, the 3 Series GT will be offered in 328i and 335i trim, available with BMW's turbocharged 240-hp, 255-lb-ft 2.0-liter I-4 or 300-hp, 300-lb-ft turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 respectively. BMW's eight-speed automatic is the only transmission choice, but opt for the M Sport package and the tranny is sport-tuned to amp-up the fun factor.
That rear end is the biggest departure from the rest of the 3 Series crew, and is meant to ease loading into the car's cargo space, which BMW says is larger than that of the 3 Series wagon. A high-opening power liftgate makes loading bulky items easy, and the 40:20:40 folding rear seats with tilt-adjustable backrests are intended to make the space more useful, and BMW's available Comfort Access hands-free feature allows you to pop the trunk with a swipe of your foot. Inside, the 3 GT is similar in scope to the rest of the stable, with a multitude of options including BMW Connect and more.
Appearing in U.S. dealers starting this summer, it remains to be seen if customers will take to the 3 GT, especially given models similar in mission like the X1 and 3 sports wagon. But that Gran Turismo badge, unique cues, and that big hatch will likely be enough to snare it some customers.