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The low-down on SA-bound 3 Series GT

Yesterday it sprung a picture leak and today BMW is revealing all the juicy low-down on its new 3 Series Gran Turismo, along with a video and more pictures.

It forms strong visual links with 5 Series GT and, as with its bigger brother, the 3 Series GT's top-heavy design is likely to divert opinion and we wouldn't bet money on it winning any design awards.

BMW describes it as an "elegant business carriage" and "dynamic, comfortable tourer" and that really explains the arguably ungainly design. It's all about allowing occupants to stretch out in a spacious cabin, and enter/exit without having to crouch.

For the sake of practicality, the 3 GT is 200mm longer than the 3 Series Touring and stands 81mm taller. As a result, occupants sit 59mm higher and have 70mm more rear legroom and the comfort factor is furthered by tilt-adjustable backrests in the back. Even the 520 litre boot capacity outstrips that of the Touring and it's easily accessible via an electrically-operated tailgate.

IN SA SOON

The 3 Series GT will hit South African shores in July this year, offering a selection of four familiar turbocharged engines.

The petrol line-up consists of two 2-litre units (135kW 320i and 180kW 328i) and a 225kW 3-litre six-cylinder. The only option for diesel-heads, for now, is a 135kW/308Nm 2-litre. An M Sport package will be available from September.

Of course, all models channel their power through the rear wheels, via either a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic transmission.

A full array of driver assistance and convenience features is on offer, including the latest generation full-colour head-up display and internet access along with numerous web-based apps.

Are you looking forward to this one, or is the normal 3 Series sedan more appealing to your taste buds?

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