Chris Bangle has long resigned from his role as chief designer of BMW, but the Munich-based brand with the blue-and-white propeller badge continues to cause controversy with the styling of its models.
We'd hardly call the 5 Series Gran Turismo (GT) a commercial success, yet BMW still has faith in the 'tall liftback' recipe, so it applied the same treatment on the smaller 3-Series range as it races to cover every single niche possible in the premium segments.
According to BMW, "this third body variant of the current model family unites the sporty-dynamic genes of the Sedan with the practicality and versatility of the Touring – attributes that are complemented by a palpable boost in space and ride comfort".
In case you were wondering or simply missed out on our previous coverage when the first images of the car leaked online, the new 3-Series Gran Turismo is actually 200mm (7.9 inches) longer in total than the 3-Series Touring, comes with a 110mm (4.3 inches) longer wheelbase and stands 81mm (3.2 inches) taller.
Besides offering more space for passengers inside, the load area also reflects the car’s increased dimensions, with its 520 liters of boot capacity outstripping that of the 3 Series Touring by 25 liters when the foldable rear seats remain in their regular (upright) position.
We will leave you to be the judge of the design, but we will mention that the both ends of the car differ from those of the other 3-Series models, with the front sporting a more prominent interpretation of BMW's double kidney grille. Interestingly, all four doors feature a coupe-style, frameless window design.
The engine range depends on the region. For example, North America will get two models, the 328i with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four delivering 240hp, and the 335i powered by a 300hp turbo'd 3.0-liter straight six, both paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
European customers have a selection of three petrol models, the 320i with a 184PS (181hp) 2.0-liter Turbo, the 328i with a 245PS (242hp) 2.0-liter Turbo and the 335i with a 306PS (302hp) 3.0-liter Turbo inline-six, and two four-cylinder diesels, the 143PS (141hp) 318d and the 184PS (182hp) 320d. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with an 8sp auto available optionally.
All-wheel drive models are expected to join the range at a later stage.
In the U.S., the new 3 Series GT will arrive in showrooms in late 2013.