Our cars: BMW 3 Series GT - November

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  • 3 Series GT custodian John Bradshaw is a huge BBC 6Music fan. Thankfully, digital radio is standard on every model

    3 Series GT custodian John Bradshaw is a huge BBC 6Music fan. Thankfully, digital radio is standard on every model

  • On/off switch for BMW traffic alerts makes it easy to mute the updates when you don't want them

    On/off switch for BMW traffic alerts makes it easy to mute the updates when you don't want them

  • iDrive infotainment controller helps make BMW's system the best that John has come across

    iDrive infotainment controller helps make BMW's system the best that John has come across

  • Our 3 Series GT's first service cost £240, although the pricey engine oil was £83 alone

    Our 3 Series GT's first service cost £240, although the pricey engine oil was £83 alone

  • A rear wiper isn't fitted as it wouldn't work well, so John sometimes has to clean the rear screen by hand before driving

    A rear wiper isn't fitted as it wouldn't work well, so John sometimes has to clean the rear screen by hand before driving

  • Manual gearbox in our 318d GT is a disappointment: notchy, firm and it transmits too much vibration

    Manual gearbox in our 318d GT is a disappointment: notchy, firm and it transmits too much vibration

  • Adjustable opening height of the automatic tailgate is a boon if your garage has a low roof

    Adjustable opening height of the automatic tailgate is a boon if your garage has a low roof

  • You can fold the door mirrors in even once you've switched off the engine - it's a little touch that makes everyday life easier

    You can fold the door mirrors in even once you've switched off the engine - it's a little touch that makes everyday life easier

  • Clever adaptive headlights come as part of a pricey Visibility Pack. Are they worth the money?

    Clever adaptive headlights come as part of a pricey Visibility Pack. Are they worth the money?

  • 40/20/40 split folding seats means there's still room for two people in the back row

    40/20/40 split folding seats means there's still room for two people in the back row

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BMW 318d GT Modern

Week ending November 29
Mileage 14200
Driven this week 1340


BMW 3 Series GT review

It's now always dark when I'm leaving the office after work, so all my recent journeys home in the BMW have been with the headlights switched on.

I say 'switched on', but in truth they're left in automatic mode, which selects the most appropriate set of bulbs to have on by monitoring light conditions.

Our long-term car has also got a really clever adaptive high-beam system, which has been impressing me no end on recent nighttime drives. The system combines the adaptive headlight function with the high-beam assist function. Instead of dipping both lights when it senses another car ahead, the lights are 'cropped' around the vehicle in front - preventing dazzling the other motorist, but keeping the rest of the road lit up.

There's no question that this is a great safety feature - you see more of the road, without blinding other drivers. It's a win-win. In fact, the only question is how much I think the system is worth. The 'Intelligent Lighting' system isn't standard on any 3 Series GT model - if you want them, you'll need to pay another £925 for the Visibility Pack.

By John Bradshaw

 

Week ending November 22
Mileage 12860
Driven this week 460


BMW 3 Series GT review

The BMW 3 Series saloon has long been something of a default option for people who need a compact executive car. But could the 3 Series GT actually be a better choice?

The saloon is far from flawed - in fact, it’s our reigning Executive Car of the Year. However, while we judge using a variety of criteria to decide on the best all-rounder in each category, many buyers will be happy to forgo ability in one area for improvements in others.

There’s no question that the 3 Series saloon is the best handling variant in the model range. However, the way the GT rides on the motorway is more impressive than the saloon, helped largely by the fact that it’s built on the chassis of the long wheelbase 3 Series that’s sold in China.

The cavernous boot and extra passenger space that have been written about here before are advantages, too. Since the range of strong and efficient engines is carried over from its less spacious sibling, you shouldn’t need to spend any more running it, either.

A friend of mine asked me for a recommendation for a new executive car recently, and he was looking at the 3 Series range in particular. I told him what I’ll tell you here - the saloon is still the best all-rounder, but that’s not to say it will be the best choice for you. The GT has plenty going for it.

Ed Callow - Ed.Callow@whatcar.com



Week ending November 8
Mileage 12200
Driven this week 200


BMW 3 Series GT review

I had a go in our chief photographer's car this week - it's the first time I've driven a 3 Series GT, so I wanted to compare it to our previous long term 3 Series saloon.

The GT has a longer wheelbase than the saloon, and it's obvious from the outside that it's a bigger car. Of course, this means the boot under the hatch is considerably bigger too, which adds useful practicality.

My art editor's eye couldn't help but critique the proportions of this new model - I personally think the roofline is slightly ungainly, and the rear styling looks bulky.

The interior is still a great place to be on a stormy night drive home, though. Everything is at hand, and the orange glow of the dials makes it feel classy, too.

My biggest gripe is the engine, which seems very noisy when stationary. It has plenty of torque, but the gearbox is slow and rather notch. It's certainly not a match for my long term Mazda 6, which has a light shift coupled to a smooth engine that's far more refined.

By Stephen Hopkins

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