Spy Shots: BMW's Answer to the Audi A5 Sportback is the 3-Series Gran Turismo

You just got to hand it to die Deutschen for their imagination and über clever marketing tactics. What Japanese carmakers simply called liftbacks and the French didn’t even bother naming differently as most of their family cars featured a sloping tailgate anyway (Citroen BX, Renault 25 etc.), the Germans came up with all sorts of fancy names. For example, Audi calls its five-door vehicles with a top-hinged liftgate “Sportback” while BMW went one-step further baptizing its own lineup with the sporty sounding “Gran Turismo” moniker, which is a smart move if you think about it. I mean, would you be interested in a car called the 3-Series Liftback GLi? We don’t know if the Bavarians learned their lesson with the 5-Series Gran Turismo that received lukewarm interest (perhaps because it looks like the overfed love child of a 3-Series Compact and a new 5-Series Touring?) but the F30 3-Series-based Gran Turismo ditched the semi-crossover look for a less chunky and sleeker body. Although there’s a lot of camouflage on this latest prototype nabbed by our scoop photographers doing some winter testing, we can see that the 3-Series GT’s proportions resemble those of the Audi A5 Sportback, which will be its prime competitor. The roofline is sleek and ends just before the boot, while BMW’s designers have also placed a third side window cushioned in the C-pillar to add some drama to the design. The rest of the car, including the front end styling and the interior, should be identical to the F30 sedan. Power will come from the same engine lineup on offer for the saloon and which includes BMW’s new turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline and diesel units, plus the turbocharged straight-six 3.0-liter gasoline and possibly, an Active Hybrid version. The new 3 GT will likely make its motor show debut this year and go on sale in the first half of 2013. Photo credits: CarPix for Carscoop PHOTO GALLERY