From lumbering off-road coupes to miniature people movers, no niche is off limits for the bigwigs in the HQs of BMW, Audi and Mercedes these days. One vehicle to successfully adopt such a strategy is the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, a quasi-hatch, quasi-sedan Quasimodo that entered production in2013. Now, it's time for the hunchback to get a facelift.
Say what you will about the mish-mash of bodystyles, BMW is clearly doing something right with the 3 Series GT. More than 130,000 have found homes around the world since 2013, so the formula hasn't changed too much in this mid-life refresh.
On the outside, the LED headlamps and taillights have been tweaked to more closely fit with the new range-wide corporate face, and a few new wheel designs mean there's more choice on offer when it comes time to customize.
Also new is the bootlid, which more effectively integrates its pop-up spoiler. BMW is particularly proud of the spoiler, saying it automatically extends at 110 km/h (68 mph) to reduce rear-axle lift on the highway – speed limit permitting, of course.
Even though the rear wing is a bit silly, there's no questioning the car's practicality. It doesn't look like a wagon, but there's still 520 liters (137 gal) of space in the boot with the rear seats up, and 1,600 liters (423 gal) when they're folded flat. That's still not quite up there with dedicated wagons, but it should more than enough for most families hauling bikes, dogs and furniture on weekends.
BMW is offering up the full range of active safety features on the 3 Series GT, from automatic-emergency braking to lane-keeping assist. Inside, the cabin has been given the once over with some higher-quality materials in an attempt to keep pace with the new Audi A4, but the BMW's interior still looks a bit dated compared to the sublime techfest in the A4.
Engine choice will vary depending on where you live, but expect a pared-back lineup compared to the regular 3 Series range, which starts with a punchy three-cylinder turbo and extends to a new 3.0-liter inline six.
In the US, pricing should stay very similar to the current model, which kicks off at US$43,995.