BMW’s attempt to plot a third way between established body styles meets more success with the 3 Series than it did with the 5 Series. The GT is considerably more agreeable almost across the board, and certainly with regard to the shortfalls that made the 5GT so ungainly.
However, the GT attributes haven’t been absorbed into the 3 Series template without a trade-off: the car has had to grow into its new badge, and its distinctiveness won’t appeal to all of the existing 3 Series customer base. That’s to be expected, however; the GT is intended to broaden the model’s appeal, not narrow it.
Certainly for us, the shorter and pointier but less usable saloon is the quintessential 3 Series. The GT is a bigger, floppier and more mellow compromise – less compact exec hot rod and more easygoing retiree. To more than a few potential BMW customers, that might just sound ideal.
If you really ‘get’ the 3 Series GT’s concept, then you won’t worry about the compromises in the way it drives compared to the sublime saloon. If you do get it, then you’ll have to work out whether you really need it and are prepared to pay for it.
The main thing the GT adds over the saloon and Touring models is space, but, with its moderate premium, you’re really going to have to need that extra space to justify doing away with a touch of dynamic polish in the process.