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BMW 3 Series review - prices, specs and 0-60 time
The BMW 3 Series – celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and now into its sixth incarnation – remains the most entertaining drivers’ car in its segment, yet it’s not quite as focused and sharp as preceding generations. And the dynamics become even more run-of-the-mill if you specify a model with xDrive, which ups the grip levels at the expense of feeling involved in the process of going quickly. Like so many Threes that have gone before it, the current car looks better as a Touring than as a saloon, while the, er… distinctive looks of the Gran Turismo (GT) model make it very hard to recommend, despite the extra interior room and boot space it provides.
Steer clear of xDrive, because it’s very like quattro on an Audi – in that it makes the car it’s fitted to very quick in all conditions, but the drive at all four corners renders the chassis inert; and surely you’re buying into the BMW badge because it’s the ultimate driving machine. Sadly, some models are xDrive only in the UK – such as the 309bhp 335d. Oh, what we’d give for a rear-drive version of it for our roads…
Here at evo, we are – perhaps understandably – not big fans of the GT. While it’s not quite as bulbous to behold as the 5 Series GT, it’s still no looker, thanks to X4-meets-3 Series styling that leads to a flabby profile. It is a more practical car than even the Touring, with a boot that’s up to 100 litres bigger than the estate’s, and it has a longer wheelbase too. But it also rides higher, which pushes up the centre of gravity and detrimentally affects the whole character of the 3 Series. That there’s a narrower choice of drivetrains and it costs considerably more model-for-model than either the saloon (between £2300 and £2600) or Touring (£1000-1155) means we really can’t see the point of the GT.