In its attempts to sell Americans on the appeal of a luxury hatchback, BMW has gone 0-for-2 so far. The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and X6 don't sell well, mainly due to their ill-received profiles. None of which has kept BMW from taking another at-bat using its most valuable player, the 3-Series sedan — and this time, the so-called 3-Series Gran Turismo looks ready to swing.
BMW says the 3-Series GT arriving in dealerships this summer isn't just an extra opening on a sedan, but a reworked model from the A-pillar back — adding 7.9 inches in length and 3.2 inches in height to the dimensions of a 3-Series wagon. Those changes mean the 3-Series GT has more legroom than a 5-Series sedan and more space under its electrically powered hatch than the 3-Series wagon. The same powertrains carry forth — a 2-liter, 240-hp twin-turbo four-cylinder, or the 300-hp, 3-liter six, both powering the rear wheels through an 8-speed transmission.
The only automaker that's pulled off an upscale hatchback that didn't hint at a 21st-century version of the AMC Eagle has been Audi with its stunning A7, which looks more like a sleek sedan than a heavy hauler. With the 3-Series GT, BMW seems to be splitting the difference between the chunkier 5-Series/X6 type design and the lower, longer Audi. Given the popularity of the 3-Series, and a price expected to be about $33,000, the 3-Series GT could finally put BMW in the game.