BMW 330i GT review

BMW 330i GT review

The Bavarian carmaker launched the 3 GT in India in 2014, and it is perhaps one of the most underrated models in the country. We as Indians love to travel and a car that offers a big boot, ample space, and is comfortable on long drives as well as practical in the city makes for a perfect family car. True enough the 3 GT ticks all the boxes, and one would think it to be the perfect luxury family car. But for some reason (maybe the liftback design), keeps it from selling as much as its sedan siblings.

What’s new?

BMW have introduced a facelift model of the 3 GT and it comes with a host of styling upgrades and a new, more powerful engine under the hood. When it comes to styling, most of the updates are borrowed from the 3 Series sedan launched last year. On the outside, it sports new front and rear bumpers, adaptive LED headlamps, new tail lamp clusters, new alloy wheel designs and generous dollops of chrome all around the car which give it more bling. The interior layout is also similar to the 3 Series sedan. The material used and the finish is top quality as you’d expect from a BMW.

The 3 GT gets the new iDrive system which is more intuitive than ever and the reworked 22.3cm LED display is similar to the 7 Series, minus the touchscreen and the fancy hand gestures. There’re a high quality 9-speaker audio system, sat-nav and a 20GB hard drive that’s useful to store your music.

BMW has retained the analogue speedo and tacho dials, which have a charm of their own, when compared to digital dials these days. The GT also retains the active rear spoiler that deploys at speeds over 110kmph or at the touch of a button located behind the power window switches.

Now that petrols are back in vogue, BMW has introduced one in the 3 GT too and the good news is that it’s the 330i, the company’s new 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine, that’s strikes a good balance of efficiency and performance.

More Power?

Now the 330i of the past came with a straight six that struck a chord with the few enthusiasts that bought the 3 Series sedan. While this one carries the same badge, it isn’t in the same league.  Yes, it comes with a lot more power, 67 horses to be exact when you compare it to the 20i pot, it is a bit short of the old six-banger. What you get however is a whole lot of turbocharged torque – 350Nm to be precise, available at 1450rpm, and that gives the 3 GT plenty of momentum through the gears. 248bhp for a fairly compact luxury car is quite good too. Mated to the quick-shifting eight-speed torque converter, the GT always stays in its powerband. The motor is smooth and free revving with a nice exhaust note, not a very sporting one but there’s a nice build up as the engine speed increases.

The 330i GT gets four modes – EcoPro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ – each mode varies in terms of throttle sensitivity, transmission shifts and steering assist. The first one, as the name suggests is tuned to extract the best possible fuel efficiency. The throttle response is a little dull and before the needle crosses 2,000rpm the gear shifts up. There is also a start/stop function that works its charm to save fuel while driving around in the city.

Comfort mode on the other hand is a better all-round mode which offers a blend of efficiency and performance, one you will find yourself in most of the time. The engine is quicker off the line without sacrificing too much in terms of economy. In Sport and Sport+ you get a lot more aggression from the engine and the gearbox, and Sport+ reduces the traction control’s interference until you get it totally wrong and the car needs to do your job right. The throttle response is a lot sharper and the shifts happen with a lot more urgency. During full bore acceleration runs, the company claims the GT will clock the 0-100kmph sprint in 6.1 seconds flat.

In the Sport+ mode the ESP is turned off which activities the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). This gives a little leeway for more wheel slip and is best enjoyed on a winding open road.

Ride and Handling

Living up to its name Grand Tourer, BMW have tried to offer a perfect balance between ride and handling, instead of leaning more towards the latter, like in the previous generation models. There is no air suspension or adaptive dampers, but the company has tuned the suspension to iron out most of the bumps and potholes one would encounter on our roads. It is a perfect mix of supple yet sporty.

Cruising along the highway, the GT feels firmly planted. I really enjoyed the GT driving up our favourite road to Lavasa. Driving around a corner, the electrically steering is accurate and in sport mode, just the right weight you want when you are giving it the beans. The front end grips well and the rear-driven GT turns in with a lot of enthusiasm.

Verdict

The BMW 330i GT seems to have multiple personalities. The new turbo has all the performance you can ask for. On a normal day it is a calm cruiser, but with the press of a button it changes guise to an aggressive fastback. When compared to the 3 Series, the GT is 190mm longer, 79mm taller and 17mm wide. This means there is more leg, head and shoulder room and add the massive 525-litre boot, makes it a very comfortable touring car. One does have the option of the 320d GT which maybe more efficient, but if you are an enthusiast and are looking for a little more drama, at Rs 47.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) 330i is the one to pick.

evo India rating: 4/5

Engine: In-line 4-cyl, 1998cc, turbo-petrol
Power: 248bhp @ 5200rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 1450-4800rpm
0-100kmph: 6.1sec (claimed)
Top Speed: NA
Price: Rs 47.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)

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