BMW 318d GT Modern
Week ending August 30
Driven this week 120
BMW 3 Series GT review
This week I borrowed the keys to our long term 3 Series GT again, to remind myself of the differences between it and the saloon version. I’ve been reading John Bradshaw’s updates where he’s raved about the space inside, so I wanted to see whether I’d feel it was worth recommending as an ‘upgrade’ for 3 Series fans who want a roomier car.
What I found was a similarity in my head between BMW and Skoda. Let me explain. Last week I pitched the Octavia against the Superb to see which was the better buy. The former came out the victor, but the Superb had plenty going for it - not least the limo-like legroom in the back.
So this got me thinking - is the 3 Series GT to the 3 Series saloon what the Superb is to the Octavia? In a way, I think it is. I wouldn’t recommend the GT over the saloon per se, but with the greater legroom and comfy, reclining seats I’d say it’s the 3 Series to go for if you are constantly ferrying adults around in the back. The same applies to the pairing of the Skodas.
Fellow journalists often bemoan ‘niche’ cars like the 3 Series GT, but I can’t see anything wrong with offering buyers more choice. Does that mean you need a quality guide to help you make sense of manufacturers’ ever-expanding model lists? Absolutely. And I hope you’ll agree that that’s where we come in.
Week ending August 23
Driven this week 800
Recent road trips have reinforced how impressed I am with the space available inside our long-term 3 Series GT – not just in the boot but for the rear passengers as well.
When a member of my family was competing in an archery tournament in Herefordshire, it meant not only a long drive from Twickenham, but also filling the boot with longbow, arrows, quiver and other equipment.
The GT had no problems swallowing all the gear, and if you’ve seen the size of a longbow, you’ll realise that’s no mean feat.
The 3 Series Touring actually has the larger boot if it’s filled to the roof, but as I’m a photographer, I need to keep all my expensive kit hidden under the load cover. In this respect, the GT has the greater space as well.
By John Bradshaw
Week ending August 16
Driven this week 500
If you didn’t already know, the GT bit of this car’s name stands for Gran Turismo (or Grand Tourer to you and I). That means BMW is pitching this as a car more suited to long distance driving than its siblings. So does it live up to the billing?
In short, yes. Our car’s manual gearbox is notchy and the clutch is heavy, but once you’re on the move it’s the excellent motorway ride that you notice the most. It’s as composed as any of the other 3 Series models in this respect, perhaps even slightly better, thanks to the extra inches in the wheelbase.
Fuel economy, while not outstanding, is both adequate and consistent – the car is frequently achieving just over 43mpg. This means I’m regularly driving 500 miles or so between fill-ups, which adds to the GT’s long distance touring suitability.
So is there anything I’d change about the car so far? For one, I’d swap the manual ‘box for BMW’s excellent eight-speed automatic. Unusually, it sits in the same tax band as the manual, and our True MPG data suggests it’s not much less efficient. It costs extra to spec of course, but I think it’s worth every penny.
By John Bradshaw