BMW is giving fans of its 3-Series more room and better gas mileage in two important variations of the small luxury sports sedan that it’s rolling out at the New York International Auto Show this week.
On Wednesday, the German automaker will formally unveil a new 3 Series Gran Turismo, which has a bigger distance between the front and rear wheels to create more rear-seat legroom and cargo space in the trunk. The company also will unveil the 328d in the U.S., a 3-Series equipped with a diesel engine that should get more than 40 miles per gallon (17 kilometers per liter) on the highway.
The 3-Series is the top-selling luxury car in the U.S. BMW sold almost 99,000 3-Series sedans, coupes, and wagons last year, up more than 6 percent from 2011. Luxury automakers overall sold more than 1 million cars in the U.S. last year, an increase of almost 12 percent over 2011.
The Gran Turismo will be available in the fall at U.S. dealers, while the 328d will arrive at showrooms later this year.
UNDER THE HOOD- The Gran Turismo has the same engines and transmissions as the standard 3-Series- a 2-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3-liter inline 6-cylinder. All-wheel-drive is standard. The 328d will have a four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that puts out 180 horsepower. BMW says the car can go from zero to 60 in about 7.2 seconds.
OUTSIDE- The Gran Turismo has a sloped back and tailgate, and is 4.3 inches longer between the front and rear wheels than a standard 3-Series sedan. The 328d looks the same as the standard 3-Series except for a diesel badge.
INSIDE- The 328d’s interior will look similar to the standard 3-Series, while the five-passenger Gran Turismo will have a little more back-seat legroom and a trunk that’s one cubic foot larger than the regular 3-Series.
GAS MILEAGE- BMW says preliminary estimates show the diesel model gets 45 mpg (19.13 kpl)on the highway. City mileage estimates weren’t available. The Gran Turismo should get about what a standard 3-series gets- up to 36 mpg (15.31 kpl) on the highway with a manual transmission and a four-cylinder engine and 33 mpg (14.03 kpl)on the highway with the six cylinder motor and automatic transmission.
PRICE- About $40,000 to start for the diesel. The Gran Turismo 328i starts at just over $42,300. A 320i now starts at just under $33,000, while a 335i begins at just over $45,000.
CHEERS- The 328d brings great gas mileage and performance to the 3-Series, which already was strong in both categories. The Gran Turismo 328i promises a more comfortable ride for passengers on longer trips.
JEERS- The diesel and the Gran Turismo are pricey compared to some of the standard models.