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The low-down on SA-bound 3 Series GT

BMW

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.

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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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